Frequently Asked Questions


FAQs for Professional Students

  1. When Can I Expect My Disbursements?

    Refer to Disbursement (Payment) Policy.

    Disbursement date is when Student Accounting has access to the proceeds of the loan and they take out what is owed to UAB. It depends on where the student banks as to how long it takes for the remaining funds to be direct deposited to the student's bank account. This could take anywhere between 3-7 working days after the disbursement date.

    Important: Since disbursements may not occur until the week when school begins each term, it is strongly recommended that students bring enough funding with them for living expenses, books, etc., to cover costs until your living expenses and book "refund" from your loan disbursement is available.
  2. Can I Get My Money Before the Academic Year Begins for Books and Moving In Expenses?

    No, unfortunately, schools cannot disburse funds before classes begin. Many students set aside funds or utilize personal credit sources for starting expenditures until they receive their disbursements.
  3. Where Can I Find the Cost of Attendance for My Year in School?

    The Cost list for each new year will be March/April, after tuition and fee charges are established by the Board of Trustees. You may monitor this website to check for the availability of this information. Since UAB will now initially award the maximum loans to applicants (with the opportunity to reduce that amount upon written request), you no longer need to request a specific amount linked to the Cost of Attendance.
  4. How Much Can I Borrow Throughout My Academic Career?

    Aggregate Loan Limits: Lifetime limits for all Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are:

    Medical, Optometry, and Dental/Post-grad Dental: $224,000

    The professional student debt limit includes loans received for undergraduate study. If you reach your loan limit, you cannot receive any more of that type of loan. If you exceed your limit, aid already disbursed will be billed back. It is to your advantage to borrow only what you need for educational expenses, and to keep track of your cumulative debt. Financial Aid Administrators are happy to work with you to find ways to minimize your borrowing.
  5. When Should I Apply for Financial Aid Each Year?

    The FAFSA application is available for each upcoming year on-line in January. As soon as you have your tax and income information that may be required to fill out the FAFSA, you may begin the application process.

    You can link to FAFSA from your school website, or go directly to www.fafsa.gov.

    You may choose to file a new FAFSA or a Renewal FAFSA if you applied last year. However, carefully review all fields for accuracy if you file a renewal.
  6. Does "EFC/Expected Family Contribution” Mean That I or My Parents Must Write a Check to UAB for That Amount Each Year?

    EFC is a comparative measure, determined according to a need analysis formula specified by law, of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student's education for an award year. This figure is used to determine an applicant's eligibility for federal student aid. The EFC figure is shown on the SAR and ISIR received after completing the FAFSA. The formula for determining eligibility for federal aid programs is the same across all colleges. When you apply for financial aid, expect to answer questions about your family's income and savings. Most of this information is readily available from your tax returns, paycheck stubs, and bank and other financial account statements. Remember that this formula does not consider the actual price of attending a given college or university--your EFC is the same regardless of whether you attend a public college with tuition of $5,000 or a private college that charges $22,000.
  7. What Forms Do I Need to Fill Out This Year?

    Refer to the Application Checklist.
  8. Do I Need My Parents Tax Information on the FAFSA?

    Professional students are considered to be independent for Financial Aid eligibility. However, you are encouraged to consider adding your parent(s)’ information to FAFSA Step IV even though you will answer “yes” to Step III. Resulting information may help the UAB Financial Aid office qualify some students for need-based scholarships and loans with lower interest rates and/or better terms and conditions.
  9. Should I Include My Parents' FAFSA Information Even if I Am Married?

    Yes. Although you are still independent for Financial Aid determination, parental financial information can sometimes be used to determine your eligibility for special programs that may benefit you in terms of lower interest rate loans or even scholarships. Failure to submit such information may keep you from qualifying for such programs for which you may be otherwise eligible.
  10. Does It Matter if My Parents Claimed Me on Their Taxes?

    No. Regardless of how your parents fill out their tax returns, you may still include their tax/income information on the FAFSA, even though you are an independent student.
  11. How Do I Find Out How Much I Owe in Student Debt Before I Enter Professional School?

    This information is available at the National Student Loan Data System and at the end of your Student Aid Report that results from the FAFSA.
  12. What Are Some Things I Can Do to Prepare Myself Financially For Entry into Professional School?

    As an individual student or as a family, consider potential lifestyle changes which may have to take place while financing a college education.

    If possible, pay off credit card balances or other outstanding consumer debt. This is important for two reasons. First, having fewer bills coming in as you are paying for college may mean you could pay more out of pocket and borrow less. It is always wise to borrow as little as possible. Second, consumer debt, like credit cards and auto loans, are not considered in the aid awarding process.
  13. Can I Use My Student Loans for Purposes Other Than Educational Expenses?

    You may use the loan money you receive only to pay for your authorized educational expenses for attendance at the school that determined you were eligible to receive the loan. Authorized expenses include the following: Tuition, Room, Board, Institutional Fees, Books, Supplies, Equipment, allowable, documented and requested Dependent Child Care Expenses, Transportation, Commuting Expenses, Rental or purchase of a personal computer, Loan fees and other documented, authorized costs.
  14. Does UAB Include Health Insurance for My Spouse as Part of My Educational Expenses (Will It Lend Me Student Loans for This Purpose?)

    Annual student cost of attendance is limited to educational expenses for the student as listed above and does not cover spouses' expenses.
  15. Why Should I Apply for Direct Deposit?

    The Direct Deposit Authorization is for electronic funds transfer to a student bank account for Financial Aid and /or refunds of the credit balance. Enrolling in direct deposit is highly recommended and relieves students of the burden of personally depositing a mailed refund check by ensuring that funds are transferred directly to your account. Students can authorize this convenient arrangement by enrolling in direct deposit on BlazerNET. Under the tab labeled Student Resources, on the Student Accounting channel, click the link labeled Manage Direct Deposits.
  16. Why Should I Sign a Title IV Form?>

    Tuition, mandatory fees, room and board charges will be automatically deducted from any financial aid funds you receive. Signing the Title IV Funds Authorization Form allows UAB to credit your student account with Title IV and other financial aid funds to cover other non-mandatory charges. Doing so can help you avoid late charges for fees that might not otherwise be paid in a timely manner.
  17. Why Should I Complete the Questionnaire?

    This form must be completed if you wish to apply for the Health Professions Student Loan or Disadvantaged Loans or Scholarships.

    Fill out the Health Professions Student Questionnaire, then print off the page and submit by mail or FAX: 205-934-8941 to UAB Financial Aid.
  18. Where Can I Find Information About Student Loan Interest Rates, Bank Origination Fees, Loan Repayment Options, and Applying for Deferment During Residency?

    Refer to the Federal Student Aid web site from the U.S. Department of Education.
  19. Do I Have To Make Interest Payments on My Unsubsidized Stafford and/or Graduate PLUS Loans While I Am in School?

    Interest payments on the Unsubsidized Stafford loans are elective while you are in school. You receive quarterly interest statements from Direct Loans, and instructions on making payments if you so decide. The Grad PLUS loan requires that repayment begins soon after disbursement. In-school deferment is NOT automatic, as it is with the Stafford Loans. You will receive repayment instructions from the Direct Loan Service Center about repayment unless you have applied and been approved for deferment or forbearance on this loan.

    You may apply for in-school deferment at the Direct Loan Service Center website.
  20. What Happens to My Financial Aid if I Withdraw from School?

    Depending on your date of withdrawal, the Student Accounting Office will review your loans if some or all funding must be returned to the lender. If this occurs, the student is responsible for amounts due to the University as a result of the withdrawal. If you need to withdraw from school, you should contact both Student Accounting and Financial Aid for information on how your withdrawal may affect current charges and future financial aid eligibility. You should contact the Direct Loan Service Center for exit counseling, grace period and repayment information. If you return to school, you may be required to file an in-school deferment form with your lender (the Direct Loan Service Center for Stafford and PLUS loans-(800) 848-0979). and your school must return you from “withdrawn” or “on leave” to approved “active” status. Refer to the Financial Aid Policy on Voluntary or Involuntary Leave of Absence paragraph under the Eligibility section.
  21. What Happens if I Become Delinquent or I Default on My Institutional, Federal, State or Private Loans?

    Delinquency status indicates that borrowers' account(s) have become past due on payment. This occurs when borrowers' loan payments are not received by the due dates. Accounts remain delinquent until borrowers bring their accounts current with payments, deferments, or forbearances. If borrowers' accounts have become delinquent and the borrowers are unable to make payments, deferments or forbearances should be considered.

    Students having problems with payments are urged to contact your lender immediately. The contact number for the Direct Loan Service Center is 800-848-0979.

    Default is defined as failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when you signed your promissory note. Default occurs when you become 270 days delinquent in making a payment on your loan(s). When a Direct Loan becomes 360 days delinquent, the loan is prepared for transfer to the Direct Loan Department's Default Resolution Group.

    For institutional loans, contact the Student Accounting office at (205) 934-3570.

    For State loans, contact directly the agency that issued the loan.

    The consequences of default can be severe, and are referred to elsewhere on this site. They are also described in the Entrance and Exit Counseling sessions in which all students taking out loans are required to participate, and also in Debt Management sessions held during the year at professional school sites.

FAQs for Graduate/Professional PLUS Loans


  1. What Do I Do if I Have Reached My Limit But Need More Money?

    You may download, complete and fax or otherwise submit an application for the Graduate and Professional PLUS loan in an amount not exceeding the difference between your educational Cost of Attendance (annual budget) and other aid such as loans, grants, scholarships and other third party payments.

    GradPLUS loan applications are available at studentloans.gov

    Information about the Grad/Prof PLUS loan (DOC)
  2. If I Am Not Admitted As a Resident of Alabama, How Can I Finance the Rest of My Educational Expenses After I Have Reached My Annual Stafford Loan Limit?

    If you still need funding AFTER you receive your Stafford Loans in your initial aid award, you may download, complete and fax or otherwise submit an application for the Graduate and Professional PLUS loan in an amount not exceeding the difference between your educational Cost of Attendance (annual budget) and other aid such as loans, grants, scholarships and other third party payments.
  3. What Is the Graduate PLUS Loan and How Does it Differ From a Stafford Loan?

    Graduate PLUS Loan Information
  4. Under What Circumstances Might I Need to Apply For a Graduate PLUS Loan?

    If your Cost of Attendance cannot be met by other Financial Aid (for example, you are an out of state student and/or you have exceeded your annual or aggregate Stafford loan limits), you may apply for a GradPLUS Loan.
  5. As a Non-Alabama Resident, I Borrowed From a Private Alternative Lender to Supplement My Stafford Loans in Prior Years. Should I Apply for That Again? Or Is There a Less Expensive Option?

    You may wish to consider borrowing amounts beyond the Stafford loans from the Direct Graduate and Professional student PLUS program. This loan has had a fixed interest rate of 7.9% with a 4% bank origination fee since 2006-07. Please read information about this loan in comparison to the interest, fees, terms and conditions of any other loan you may have previously borrowed. Graduate PLUS, like private loans, requires a credit check, but is originated in the UAB Financial Aid office (ground floor of Lister Hill Library), who will determine your eligibility for this loan and issue the Promissory note.