Note: I wrote this post before CCLCM went tuition-free in May 2008. So some of the information below about grants and loans no longer applies for CCLCM students. However, I'm leaving the old post up to help premeds who may be wondering how financial aid works in general. Also, you should know that the Dean's Scholarships are still offered at CCLCM. All CCLCM students get free tuition, but the Dean's Scholars get full tuition plus a stipend that covers all of their living expenses. It is a truly free ride that covers everything.
This is going to necessarily be a very brief overview, because financial aid is a really complicated topic. I recommend that if you have any specific questions, start by going to the CCLCM financial aid webpage for help. If you still don't find an answer to your questions, then call the admissions office (toll free: 1-866-735-1912) and ask to speak to Liz Myers, or email her. She is the CCLCM financial aid director.
There are basically two main kinds of financial aid: grants/scholarships, and loans. This is true at every med school. Grants and scholarships are the best of course, because you don't have to pay them back. Loans do have to be paid back after med school. Depending on the type of loan you have, the interest may be subsidized (paid for you by the government while you're in school), or it may be unsubsidized (the interest is accruing even while you're in school). Considering that our tuition alone is over $40,000 per year (with a total yearly budget of just under $65,000), you obviously want to minimize the amount of money you have to borrow. A list of scholarships and loans is given on the CCLCM financial aid webpage.
Here are the answers to some financial aid questions I've been asked. Again, if you don't find the info you need here, take a look at the website or contact the financial aid office.
1) Can foreign students be eligible for financial aid?
Yes, you are eligible for institutional aid, but no, you're not eligible for U.S. government aid. So you can't get federally subsidized loans, but you can be eligible for CCLCM grants or scholarships. See the international student section of the CCLCM types of assistance webpage for more info.
2) When do you find out if you've been awarded a scholarship?
Financial aid awards are made in the spring. Last year, we got ours at the second look weekend near the end of March. If you're accepted after March, I don't know when you'll find out. But I assume it would be soon after you are given your acceptance, if not with your acceptance.
3) Do you have to fill out FAFSA to be eligible for financial aid?
Yes, if you want to be considered for any type of need-based aid. But you don't have to for the Dean's Scholarship, which is solely merit-based.
4) How many Dean's Scholarships get awarded?
Sorry, I don't know the answer to that, and I'm not sure that it's constant from one year to the next anyway.
5) What do you have to do to get a Dean's Scholarship?
I don't think there's any simple answer to this question. There is no application for the Dean's Scholarship or forms to fill out or anything like that. My impression is that the adcomm is looking for people with unique backgrounds, whatever you interpret that to mean. The CCLCM website is pretty vague on the subject and only says that
These scholarships are offered to a limited number of students in recognition of personal accomplishments, leadership potential, academic achievement, humanistic dedication, passion for research and make an important contribution to the depth and breadth of their class.