How to Apply - Advanced Certificate Programs
Applying for financial aid is an annual process. To ensure timely disbursal of your financial aid, applicants should apply for assistance 2-3 months prior to the semester for which financial assistance is sought.
Please Note — Eastman Institute for Oral Health programs are available to two different cohorts of trainees:
- GME Residents: (graduates of an accredited CODA dental school either within the U.S. or Canada); and,
- Students: Internationally Trained Dentists (graduates of non-accredited CODA dental schools outside the U.S. or Canada).
The information contained below for Internationally Trained Dentists only. Information for GME Residents is provided to accepted applicants during GME Orientation.
Federal Student Loans
Unfortunately, all of the Advanced Certificate Programs offered through the Eastman Institute of Oral Health are not approved programs to participate in the federal student loan program.
Private Educational Loans
A private student loan is an educational loan that is not issued, associated with, or guaranteed by the federal government and is made to students by banks, educational lenders, or finance institutions. They are comparable to federal loans in that students may borrow only for the costs associated with their education including: tuition, fees, books/supplies, the student’s off-campus living expenses, travel, etc.
However, private student loans differ in that the terms of the loan may vary from one bank/lender to another. These differences may include varying interest rates, fees, grace periods, repayment options, etc. Additionally, private educational loans may require a check of the borrower’s credit history/score.
Applying for a Private Student Loan can sometimes be daunting. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Research private student loans
So what’s the critical difference between federal student loans and private student loans? Federal loans are issued by the U.S. government, while private student loans are issued by independent financial institutions or banks. This means the application process is much different.
When it comes to finding the right private student loan lender, you’ll need to do some shopping around. This may include searching the internet, speaking with lending agencies, or talking with peers/colleagues. PLEASE NOTE: The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry cannot recommend lenders, nor do we maintain a “preferred lender list.”
Regardless of how you come up with your list of potential lenders, you should compare interest rates, payment terms, and fees to find the most cost-effective loan that suits your needs. Most institutions will let you do this online through a pre-application that doesn’t require a hard credit pull. Once you find the best offer, you should be able to complete an official application online as well.
IMPORTANT: Some private student loan products require the borrower to be in a degree granting program. Due to the fact that all of the academic programs in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health are “Advanced Certificate Programs”, and not degrees, there may be some loan products for which Eastman Institute for Oral Health students are not eligible. Please look for this and make sure the lender/bank knows this when selecting/applying for a loan product that meets your needs. Applicants for loans that are only for degree granting programs will not have their loan certified by the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Financial Aid Office (even if the lender approved their credit check).
2. Time your loan application right
Unlike filling out the FAFSA for federal financial aid, there’s no deadline for a private student loan application. You can apply throughout the year, which is helpful if you experience any unforeseen costs part way through the semester.
However, don’t apply for a private student loan with days or weeks before tuition is due. The process can sometimes take up to two months, so leave yourself plenty of time to get the money you need by staying on top of your costs and expenditures.
3. Find a co-signer (if you need one)
The individual lenders will determine your eligibility for a private student loan based on your credit history and other factors; you might need a cosigner if your credit history is limited, you have a low credit score, or you don’t earn much income.
To find a cosigner, stick to someone in your family, or a close friend who you know has a good credit history. This will increase your chances of approval for a loan. It’s important to understand that having a cosigner doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for repayment. You still have to pay everything back — in addition to interest — and missing a payment could hurt not only your credit, but also your cosigner’s.
4. Gather all necessary paperwork
Whether you plan to apply on your own or you have a cosigner, you will need to gather some essential financial information. Having it available will help to streamline the process later on. Here is everything you and your cosigner should have handy before filling out a private student loan application:
- Social Security numbers.
- Personal information, such as telephone numbers, dates of birth, and home addresses.
- Gross annual incomes.
- A list of any assets and their values.
- Monthly rent or mortgage.
- A copy of your latest tax returns.
- Employment information, including a recent pay stub (within the last 60 days).
- Secure a personal reference.
You will likely also need to have all of the school information available, such as the name of the college (University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry), when you’ll be graduating, how much it will cost to attend, and how much you are requesting to borrow to cover those costs.
5. Submit your application
Each lender will have its own process, online being the most common, but having the paperwork mentioned above will ensure you can answer the common questions quickly and accurately.
- Typically, you’ll start off by filling out your personal information as well as your cosigner’s info.
- The lender will likely ask for your financial information, which could range from just a pay stub to your tax return.
- Filling in your school information will include information about your graduation date, loan period, and loan amount.
- Some lenders will ask you to fill out a personal reference section on your private student loan application.
- You’ll likely have to agree to the lender’s terms and conditions — including a credit check — by checking a box acknowledging that you have read the terms and would like to proceed with the application process.
Every lender has different interest rates, repayment terms, and application process, which is why it’s important to make sure you understand these thoroughly before accepting a private student loan.
6. School Certification
Once you apply and are approved for your private student loan, the lender will request that the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry Financial Aid Office “certify” the loan. The certification will include the amount of loan funds you are eligible for, and the timing of the disbursements. Fall semester’s loans are typically scheduled to disburse within a few days after the start of your program (but no sooner than July 1), and spring semester loans typically disburse in the first full week of January.
The funds are issued directly to the University and credited to your student account (your bill). If after all your direct charges are paid (tuition, fees, health insurance, etc.) there remains a credit balance, you will be issued a refund check to assist with your living expenses.