Enhanced Scholarship Initiative Frequently Asked Questions

The Enhanced Scholarship Initiative (ESI) will significantly increase the size of institutional scholarships and thereby reduce the burden of debt for medical students with demonstrated financial need at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this milestone initiative.

Q. How does Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) approach financial aid for its medical students?

A. ISMMS follows a “need blind” admissions process, which means the School selects students based solely on their merits without any consideration of their financial circumstances. This allows ISMMS to admit students with outstanding academic credentials and a commitment to science in service to society. Financial aid awards are then calculated based on the “demonstrated need” of each student.

Q. What is demonstrated need and how is it calculated?

A. Demonstrated need is the difference between the cost of attending ISMMS and the cumulative resources that each student and their family have available to pay that cost (called the Expected Family Contribution or EFC). The formula for calculating demonstrated need is: Cost of Attendance – EFC = Demonstrated Need

  • Cost of Attendance (COA) is the total cost of medical school for one year, including tuition and fees, housing, meals, and other living expenses.
  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the funds available from the student and their family, based on a formula that incorporates information from the student’s financial aid application.
  • Demonstrated Need is the difference between COA and the student’s EFC.

Financial aid awards in the form of scholarship and loans are established annually to meet each student’s demonstrated need.

Q. What is included in the Cost of Attendance?

A. The COA includes tuition and fees, housing, meals, and other expenses such as travel, books, and supplies. Please note the COA does not include the cost of health insurance. Learn more about the COA.

Q. How does ISMMS determine a student’s Expected Family Contribution and why is parental/spousal financial information considered?

A. The EFC is based on the financial information that each student submits annually when applying for financial aid. Total income (taxable and untaxed) and all assets other than retirement funds are included in this assessment. Parental and spousal financial information is considered when determining a student’s EFC so that ISMMS can provide scholarship support to students with the greatest need.

ISMMS requires financial information for all parents (e.g., biological parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians), even in instances where parents are divorced or separated. Applications without financial information for all parents will not be processed.

ISMMS recognizes that in extremely rare cases, families may have extenuating circumstances regarding parental information that should be considered in determining a student’s EFC. In these extremely uncommon situations, students may request a waiver to the requirement for parental information in their financial aid application. Click here for more information about the request to waive parental information.

Q. What is the age requirement for providing parental financial information for need-based financial aid?

A. For the purpose of need-based financial aid applications, students under the age of 35 are considered financially dependent on custodial/non-custodial parents regardless of marital status, federal dependency status, or years of self-support. Students considered financially dependent on their parents are required to provide parental financial information (tax returns and forms) annually. Students who are 35 and older are required to provide similar financial information for themselves and their spouse, as applicable.

Q. What is the new Enhanced Scholarship Initiative (ESI) at ISMMS and how will it impact financial aid?

A. The Enhanced Scholarship Initiative represents a major step forward in how ISMMS is addressing the important issue of loan debt for medical school graduates. The ESI is a new institutional scholarship program that enables ISMMS students with demonstrated need entering in 2019 and thereafter to graduate with a maximum debt of $75,000 over four years. This is significantly lower than the median loan debt of $192,000 per graduate across all U.S. medical schools in 2018. Currently enrolled students will also be eligible for the ESI for their remaining years at ISMMS.

Q. Who is eligible for the ESI scholarship?

A. Students with demonstrated need who are enrolled in the MD program in academic year 2019-2020 are eligible for the ESI scholarship, including DACA and international students. Students enrolled in a dual degree program will receive an ESI scholarship for costs associated with the MD program only.

Q. How are scholarship and loan amounts determined in the context of the ESI?

A. Students with demonstrated need first receive a base loan of $18,750 per year. The first $4,000 of the base loan is funded by an ISMMS institutional loan and the remainder by a federal Direct Unsubsidized loan (except for international students; see below). The remainder of the student’s demonstrated need is covered by the new ESI scholarship.

Q. I am a continuing student at ISMMS. When will I receive notification of my financial aid award, including any impact on my need-based scholarship support from the ESI?

A. Continuing students must submit their complete financial aid applications by Monday, April 15. The financial aid awards will then be processed and released to continuing students beginning Wednesday, May 1. Since the Office of Student Financial Services is also busy preparing the financial aid awards for incoming students, we ask that continuing students hold any inquiries regarding their financial aid award until after May 1.

Q. How do I apply for financial aid?

A. Students seeking financial aid must complete three applications: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); the CSS Profile; and the ISMMS Financial Aid Application. Please visit the Office of Student Financial Services webpage to access these applications and learn more about the financial aid application process.

Q. Can I appeal my financial aid award?

A. Yes. After you receive notification of your financial aid award, if you feel there are extenuating circumstances that affect your financial need, you may submit a Reconsideration of Financial Aid Request available here. Please email the request form and all supporting documentation to studentfinancialservices@mssm.edu with the Subject “Financial Aid Reconsideration” by Monday, July 1st. The Student Financial Services Financial Aid Committee will review your request and notify you of its decision within 10-15 business days.

Q. Are there any external scholarships that I can apply for?

A. Yes, many students at ISMMS have received external scholarships, including awards from the Joseph Collins Scholarship Foundation and the Health Professions Scholarship Program. We strongly encourage all students to review the list of external scholarships here and to apply broadly, as these scholarships are highly competitive.

Students must notify the Office of Student Financial Services if they receive an external scholarship so that their financial aid award can be updated appropriately. External scholarships will be used to offset the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If a student receiving an external scholarship has been awarded financial aid up to the full Cost of Attendance, the least favorable component of their financial aid award will be reduced (e.g. a loan will be replaced by the scholarship) to prevent an over-award of financial aid. If external scholarship funds remain available after replacing the EFC and loan, the institutional need-based scholarship would be reduced accordingly.

Q. What kinds of educational loans are available?

A. The Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus loans are available through the U.S. Department of Education. Students do not need to disclose financial information to be eligible for these loans. However, the Graduate Plus loan requires students to be creditworthy, which means a credit check will be completed.

The ISMMS institutional loan is a need-based loan which does not accumulate interest until a minimum of three years after the completion of the MD program. Students must provide financial documentation to determine eligibility.

Please note that international students are not eligible for federal or institutional loans and typically seek alternative loans.

Students can access financial aid up to their designated Cost of Attendance, including the option to borrow their Expected Family Contribution. Find more information about federal student loans.

Q. How can I contact the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS)?

A. The Office of SFS webpage provides comprehensive information about how to finance your education at ISMMS. Please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Office of Student Financial Services
Email: studentfinancialservices@mssm.edu
Phone: (212) 241-5245
Office: Annenberg Building, 12th Floor, Room 12-70