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Preparing for Med School in the Fall

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  • Preparing for Med School in the Fall

    Stage of Life: Last year of undergrad, accepted to my state medical school (LSU - New Orleans). I made this post a couple of months ago, but I've been relatively inactive since. I was put on the Waitlist for NYU, and I still haven't heard back from Baylor. Currently, my grandparents pay for my rent (about $10k per year).

    Annual Income: On my 2018, tax return, my income was $4,985, working as a TA and a scribe. I bet 2019 was a little less, as I didn't work as many hours.

    Net Worth: ~$30k

    Tax Bracket: ?

    State of residence: Louisiana

    Insurance Policies: none

    Debts: none


    Coverdell Savings account: ~11k
    Two funds:
    Chase Savings account: ~21k

    I got my first card (Discover) this summer. I applied for the Costco citi bank card last week but was declined.
    Score: 711
    Two Cards:
    Discover it chrome Card
    Apple Card

    The main reason I'm making this post now is because I finally talked to my parents and grandparents about the contribution they would be willing to make to medical school expenses. LSU New Orleans' Tuition and Fees for 2019-2020 is $32,936.95. My grandparents and parents told me that they are each willing to contribute $10k per year. By my calculations, it seems like I'll be on the hook for about $12k per year + housing expenses (I'm confident my parents will continue to help me pay for groceries, utilities, and such, but not rent).


    1) When would be best to use coverdell?

    2) I have some income for the time being, so I think I can start a Roth IRA. But I'm not sure about this because a) I'm presumably going to have to take out loans in the near future and b) I've heard that the market is supposed to be doing really well right now. Thoughts?

    3) I've read about using 0% credit card sign-up bonuses and cash-back rewards to minimize the damage from loans here. The problems I expect to encounter with this are a) not having a high enough credit limit because my credit history is too short and b) LSU might not accept credit card payments for tuition and would likely charge a fee if they do. I've looked into getting help from my parents for a) and taking advantage of manufactured spending for b), but I feel very over-my-head in looking at this stuff. Any advice?

    4) From what I've read, I it seems I should be considered an independent student for FAFSA purposes (so I don't have to report my parent's income), so I feel like my own income is low enough that I should qualify for things like Pell Grants. Does anyone know what I might be missing here? This seems too good to be true. I've read on SDN that some medical schools require you to put your parent's information on your FAFSA, but I can't find anything on LSU's Financial Aid page that indicates that.

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide!

  • #2
    Hopefully someone with more knowledge about "manufactured" spending and FAFSA will see your post. In general you need to consider living expenses in the calculation of the costs of attending med school. NYU will be much more expensive even if you got a scholarship. Baylor COLA might be equivalent but probably higher tuition. I worked with several LSU grads in my career. They see lots of pathology. In general you want to go to your states public school to save on loans. What really counts is where you do your residency anyway.


    • #3
      1. Probably just best to use it towards your first years tuition.

      2. You can open a roth IRA, but I probably wouldn't open/fund one in your situation. Even though it's tax advantaged growth it's basically a tiny drop in the bucket for your lifetime. I'd rather keep that money as an moving/emergency fund. Once you've figured out how much you'll need saved up for moving expenses/emergency fund, then feel free to fund your roth as allowed.

      3. I wouldn't look into manufactured spending while in med school. It sounds like it can be pretty complicated to what's allowed and not allowed. If you're wanting to, look into churning credit cards at the most. You'll need to save miles for residency interviews as that can add up relatively quickly as well.

      4. Not sure about FAFSA. But look into what counts as your EFC to see if your parents income in needed. Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

      The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.
      The information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or your FAFSA4caster is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.
      Note: Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive.
      For more information about the EFC, see Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid at: To request a free copy of Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).


      • #4

        Med school appears to now qualify for independent status. There is a note that health professionals may be required by the school to provide parental information. Call LSU med school fin aid. You need to run the Total Cost of Attendance for each school. Additionally, at each you should explore actual apartment/housing costs (including car/transportation). Don’t assume parking/internet/utilities are included. Think $300/mo outdoor parking! Your kidding. You need to really figure out reality vs your expectations. If you can avoid parking at med school, great choice. Baylor and NYU specifically. You can pay parking at school and your residence. Cheap housing for Baylor will have a potential crime problem. Get a ROOMMATE if you want to cut housing in half. Actually, I believe FB groups for new classes get setup that might be a source.
        Meet up when they have the ms visits for the incoming classes. Wait lists do open up spots.
        Do your homework as if you are going to LSU.
        In your free time, see if cost estimates and you preferences leave NYU and Baylor in the game.
        If you are from Louisiana, New Orleans and Houston will be an easier transition. NYC doesn’t agree with some folks simply from a unique lifestyle. Which one prepares you best for your goal. MD then residency.