Financial Aid at NCNM
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At National College of Natural Medicine, we understand that furthering your education will mean a significant investment of your time, energy and resources. NCNM participates in federal financial aid programs, including loans and work study.
Financial aid is available to students enrolled at least half-time. For the ND, MSOM, and MAc programs, as well as those enrolled for concurrent degrees, NCNM’s definition of half-time enrollment is 5.5 credits; and full-time is 11 credits. For the MSiMR program, NCNM’s definition for federal aid eligibility is still 5.5 credits, and full-time is 7 credits. All students applying for federal financial aid are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This document becomes available on January 1 each year. Additionally, students must have been accepted and paid all required fees and deposits at NCNM to receive financial aid information. Eligibility for financial aid is determined using a federal methodology formula as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education.
As NCNM is a graduate institution, all students are considered “independent” and are eligible to receive the maximum allowable in federal loans. Students receiving federal financial aid are required to disclose all outside resources received on their behalf to the Financial Aid Office. These resources will be included and calculated as part of their financial aid award packet. To continue to receive financial aid, the student must make satisfactory academic progress, as defined by academic policies, and must be enrolled at least half-time in required courses that are applicable to a student’s program of enrollment to qualify for federal aid. Academic or elective credits not required for degree completion are ineligible for federal aid.
Financial Aid Awards and Priority Packaging Date
The Financial Aid Office can advise the student about sources of financial aid and budgeting strategies. This office is available as a resource even after the student leaves the college. Alumni may contact the Financial Aid Office for information about confidential counseling on students’ debts and loan repayment, both by phone and e–mail. We want to provide you with clear and concise information about financial aid. This is a brief overview of federal financial aid programs available to eligible students at NCNM.
To be considered an “eligible student,” you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be enrolled at least half–time at the college. Students who attend NCNM on an F–1 Visa (foreign students) are not eligible to participate in federal student aid programs.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To apply for federal student financial aid, and to apply for many state student aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information you provide on your FAFSA determines if you are eligible for financial aid. The Federal Title IV school code for NCNM is B07624. The application and other important information is located at http://www.fafsa.gov.
Change of Program Track & Adding/Dropping Courses – Affect on Financial Aid
Students receiving federal financial aid must provide their Student Status Change Form or Add/Drop Form and schedule a meeting with the Financial Aid Office staff to discuss program changes that may affect their eligibility for financial aid. Students must continue to make satisfactory academic policies, and maintain at least half-time enrollment in required courses applicable to their program of enrollment to qualify for federal aid. Academic or elective credits not required for degree completion are ineligible for federal aid.
National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) currently processes Federal Stafford and Grad PLUS loans through the Federal Direct Loan program, in which borrowers obtain loan funds directly from the U.S. Department of Education.
Types of Loans
Ninety-eight percent of students attending NCNM find it necessary to receive some form of financial assistance. However, loans comprise the majority of financial aid at NCNM. Student loan borrowers must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) which details the terms of their agreement with the Department of Education. As a condition of signing the MPN the student agrees to restrict use of student loan funds to pay for current year educationally related expenses only and as such, agree to immediately repay any loan proceeds that cannot be attributed to educational expenses for attendance, on at least a half-time basis, at NCNM.
The maximum amount of graduate student education loans available will depend partially upon a student’s eligibility as well as the student’s program(s) of enrollment. The student should keep in mind that loans are not designed to meet the total student budget to attend programs at NCNM, and that the money borrowed will have to be repaid with interest. All students interested in federal loans must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
NEW—Update on Direct Loan Interest Rates Effective July 1, 2013.
Now that Congress has passed and President Obama has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. The new law amends the Direct Loan interest rate section of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (the HEA).
Specifically, the new law amends section 455(b) of the HEA to provide new formulas for the determination of interest rates for all Direct Loan types. The new formulas apply to all Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans (made to parents and to graduate/professional students) for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1, 2013.
Below is a table that identifies the interest rates effective July 1, 2013.
Interest rate- for the life of the loan
The interest rate for a loan, once established, will apply for the life of the loan – that is, the loan will be a fixed-rate loan. As a result, it is likely that many borrowers will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate, including the 6.8% Direct Unsubsidized loans made prior to July 1, 2013.
Federal Loan Servicer Preparation and Notification to Borrowers
Since the amended law specifically provides that the new interest rate determinations apply “retroactively” to July 1, 2013, Federal Student Aid has been working with our federal loan servicers to ensure that: (1) they are prepared to implement the new rates for new Direct Loans they receive; (2) they reset interest rates for all loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 that they have already received for servicing; and (3) they notify all affected borrowers of the interest rate change. While this will be accomplished without any action on the part of schools or the students/borrowers, the Department’s Direct Loan servicers will send revised information to borrowers who had been provided interest rate information based on the law prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013.
Interest Rates for Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans
Interest rates will be established each year for Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS loans for which the first disbursement is on or after July 1 through the following June 30. The rate will be the sum of a uniform “index rate” plus an “add-on” that varies depending on the type of loan (Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS) and the borrower’s grade level (undergraduate or graduate/professional). Thus, interest rates will be the same for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans taken out by an undergraduate student, with a different rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans taken out by a graduate/professional student1 and for PLUS Loans taken out by parent borrowers or graduate/professional student borrowers.
Under the law, the index rate is determined each year as the “high yield of the 10-year Treasury note” auctioned at the final auction held prior to the June 1 preceding the July 1 of the year for which the rate will be effective, plus a statutorily defined “add-on”. As noted the add-on will differ depending on the type of loan and the student’s grade level. Each loan type also has a maximum interest rate (or cap).
The interest rate for a loan, once established, will apply for the life of the loan – that is, the loan will be a fixed-rate loan. As a result, it is likely that many borrowers will have a set of fixed-rate loans, each with a different interest rate, including the 3.4% and/or 6.8% Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans made prior to July 1, 2013.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
This loan accrues interest immediately upon disbursement and during the grace period. Students are offered the option of paying the interest while they are in school, or they may capitalize the interest (add the interest to the principal) when the loan enters repayment. Maximum unsubsidized loan amounts are determined by subtracting all financial aid received from the estimated COA budget, as well as considering the student’s eligibility and program of enrollment.
Aggregate Graduate Loan Limits for Master Degree Programs
The maximum amount of student education loans is limited federally to $20,500 per nine-month period (academic year), and cannot exceed a maximum borrowing amount of $138,500—of which no more than $65,500 can be in subsidized loans for students who received this loan type prior to July 1, 2012. This aggregate limit includes undergraduate loan debt and applies to students enrolled solely in the Master Degree Programs.
Extended Loan Limits and Aggregate Cap for Naturopathic Degree Students and Dual Track Cap
The Secretary of Education has added naturopathic medicine as an approved discipline eligible for increased unsubsidized Stafford amounts, if the program is offered by a domestic institution that is accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The additional amount, up to $20,000 if the academic year of the program is nine months in length and up to $26,667 if the academic year is 12 months in length, can be awarded only to students enrolled in a program that leads to a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (NMD) degree, Doctor of Naturopathy (ND) degree, or a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree. In either case, loan limits cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance budget. The new aggregate limit for eligible students is $224,000—of which no more than $65,500 can be in subsidized loans for students who received this loan type prior to July 1, 2012. These limits include all loans made to the student for all attendance, including loans received as an undergraduate student. Students enrolled in the dual track are eligible to receive the extended loan limits as long as they have not completed their ND degree program.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
This is a federal fixed rate loan that can be used to help cover the costs of attending college for graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time. You must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. A credit check is required; however, income or assets and credit scores are not considered as part of the eligibility criteria. Before applying for a Graduate PLUS Loan, a graduate or professional student must also apply for and the school must determine the student’s eligibility for the maximum annual Federal Unsubsidized Loan amount. We expect that a Graduate PLUS applicant would wish to receive a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan to supplement the maximum Federal Unsubsidized Loan amount that he or she is eligible to receive. However, a graduate or professional student is not required to receive Federal Unsubsidized Loan funds as a condition for receiving a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. For more information about this loan, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
What do I have to do to get my loan funds for next year?
As in prior years, you must:
Student loans, unlike grants and work–study, are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest, just like car loans and home mortgages. You cannot have these loans canceled because you didn’t like the education you received, didn’t get a job in your field of study or because you’re having financial difficulty. Loans are legal obligations that you’ll have to repay.
Exit Counseling: Is required before you withdraw, graduate, or drop below half-time attendance (even if you plan to transfer to another school). This counseling helps you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower and provides useful tips and information to help you manage your loans
Student departing from NCNM or ceasing to enroll at least half–time must complete online exit counseling. Exit Counseling link.
Emergency loans are permitted in the event of an actual emergency and only in the term they occur. Loan requests may range from $100 to $500 depending upon the availability of funds. Emergency loans are only available to students with an acute immediate need at the discretion of the Director of Financial Aid. Additional criteria for this loan is outlined in the application process.
Emergency Loan Examples:
National College of Natural Medicine anticipates awarding scholarships to both new and returning students enrolled during the academic year. The amount and availability varies for all scholarships from year to year. For more information about scholarships please contact the Admissions Office for all incoming student scholarships, and the Office of Advancement for any current student scholarships.
Financial Aid Refund Procedure
If a student receiving financial aid is eligible for a refund, that refund is returned to the Federal Financial Aid Program. If the amount of the refund exceeds the total amount of aid, the excess will be returned to the student. Federal regulations require that any student who has received a loan while attending NCNM and who leaves the college for any reason, including official leaves of absence, must participate in a loan exit counseling.
Return of Federal Title IV Funds
NCNM is required to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing at least 60 percent of an academic quarter. Recalculation is done from the actual date the student begins the institution’s withdrawal process. For students who leave without notifying the institution, calculations will be made from the last day of recorded attendance or the midpoint of the quarter. Recalculation is based on formulas that determine the amount of aid earned and the amount of aid to be returned. The formulas used for recalculation can be obtained from NCNM’s Financial Aid Office. Federal refund calculations are completely independent of NCNM’s tuition refund policies. Federal Title IV Funds are always returned in the order mandated by the U.S. Department of Education. For graduate–level students attending NCNM the order is:
Note: The Federal Title IV refund calculations only apply to withdrawals from all classes. However, if a student changes track and if there is an adjustment made to her/his tuition charge, the Financial Aid Office may recalculate the student’s Cost of Attendance Budget to see if her/his aid eligibility has changed.
Part–time employment while enrolled in school can help make ends meet. However, due to the demands of the programs, students generally find their schedules limit the amount of time they can work to 20 hours per week or less. The Financial Aid Office administers a Federal Work–Study Program (FWSP) and maintains an online timesheet database.
Students with demonstrated financial needs and who indicate on the FAFSA application an interest in student employment are eligible to receive an award. FWSP is a federally subsidized program with a limited allocation, and award amounts are evaluated annually. The program allows students to work on or off campus to earn money to be applied to education–related expenses. Wage rates are $10 per hour and these jobs include positions such as teaching assistant, grader, library assistant, medicinary support, front desk help, patient coordinator and reading tutor.
To view a list of current work–study opportunities, please visit the Student Life section and click on Work-Study Listings. Search all departments to see all jobs posted for the year. Only enrolled students at NCNM are eligible to apply for these positions.
The number of students receiving an award is limited by the program funding received and is awarded to students as applications are received until the funding is fully utilized. Additional policies regarding reallocation and award reductions are outlined in the Student Employment Handbook.
Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel all or part of an educational loan. This practice is called Loan Forgiveness. To qualify, you must:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers programs to repay student loans for young researchers pursuing careers in specific areas of research. These programs are typically very competitive. Current requirements state that the recipient must commit at least two years conducting qualified research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity. NIH may repay up to $35,000 of your qualified student loan debt per year, including most undergraduate, graduate and medical school loans. Visit www.lrp.nih.gov for more information on these programs.
Student Loan Ombudsman
Student Loan Ombudsman Group – U.S. DOE Office of Student Financial Assistance Ombudsman works with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems with federal loans. The Ombudsman Customer Service Line is 877.557.2575.
Federal Tax Benefits
IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center – U.S. Treasury site that contains publications on federal tax benefits for education.
For additional financial aid information, please e-mail: FinancialAid@ncnm.edu
Sheila Yacob, Financial Aid Counselor
Sally Kalstrom, Financial Aid Counselor
NCNM, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or veteran’s status in any of its policies, procedures, or practices. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, College programs and activities, including but not limited to academic admissions, financial aid, educational services, and employment.