Intro to Financial Aid

Understanding Financial Aid

Many students find the process of obtaining financial aid to be confusing and intimidating. The UFCD Office of Financial Aid is here to help make that process easier for you! This communication will break down what financial aid is, what it covers, and how you can get it.


What is Financial Aid?

Let’s start off with the basics – What exactly is “financial aid”? When that term is used, it’s referring to any type of money used to assist you in paying for your education.

There are a few basic types of financial aid:

• Grants

• Scholarships

• Loans

UFCD offers all of these types of aid. Keep reading for more detailed information!

Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid”– meaning, they’re free money! Gift aid does not have to be paid back. Loans, on the other hand, do have to be repaid. Educational loans are typically paid back after graduation.

Financial aid is awarded separately for each academic year in which you are enrolled. For financial aid purposes, the academic year (AY) is fall term, spring term, and summer term, in that order.

Please note that the financial aid AY is different than the UFCD AY! UFCD considers your D1 year to consist of fall term 2017 and spring term 2018. In summer 2018, UFCD will consider you to be a D2. For financial aid purposes, though, summer 2018 will be considered the final semester of your D1 year.


How Much Financial Aid Do I Get?

The maximum amount of financial aid you can receive in each academic year is based on a very important number: your Cost of Attendance (COA). The COA is an estimate of the total amount of money it should cost students to attend UFCD for one year.

The COA is determined based on budgets created by the UF Office for Student Financial Affairs for different types of students (e.g. undergraduate, medical, dental, etc.). These budgets include the following categories: tuition/fees, books/supplies, housing, food, transportation, clothing maintenance, personal/insurance, computer/cell phone.

Note: The costs for required UFCD items like scrubs, instrument leasing, and Board exam registration fees are included in the budget categories listed above for dental students.

You can be awarded financial aid up to your COA. That being said, we strongly encourage conservative borrowing when it comes to student loans. You are NOT required to accept loans up to your full COA – you can (and should!) borrow less. Only borrow what you absolutely need to cover your expenses. The ADEA website has some great information on COAs and budgeting!

Note: You cannot be awarded financial aid that is more than your COA. If the amount of your total financial aid package (i.e. loans, scholarships, grants) is equal to the amount of your COA, you cannot receive any more aid of any kind for that academic year, so it is very important to review your expenses and budget your aid carefully.


What Types of Financial Aid Can I Get?

Federal Direct Loans (Lender = Department of Education)

There are 2 types of federal Direct Loans available to professional students: Unsubsidized Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans.

Unsubsidized loans are available to all students and usually make up the majority of your financial aid package. These loans are limited to $47,167 per financial aid AY for 1st-3rd year students (fall, spring summer). For D4s, the limit is $40,500. For AY16-17, unsubsidized loans are subject to a 5.31% fixed interest rate. Please note that interest rates change each year on July 1. Interest accrues while you are in school.

Graduate PLUS loans, on the other hand, are available only under the following circumstances: your Unsubsidized yearly maximum has been reached; and you have remaining unmet need (meaning, your full COA has not been met by other aid). For AY16-17, unsubsidized loans are subject to a 6.31% fixed interest rate. Please note that interest rates change each year on July 1. Interest accrues while you are in school.

A separate application and credit check are required for PLUS loans. Students with adverse credit history are NOT eligible (except with co-signer or successful appeal).

*You are strongly encouraged to borrow a PLUS loan only when absolutely necessary and to borrow only the amount you need.

UF Dental Grants

Grants are awarded each semester by the UFCD Financial Aid Coordinator. Priority is given to students with an on-time FAFSA and significant financial need. Award amounts vary based on available funding.

UFCD Need-Based Scholarships

You must complete the UFCD Scholarship Application (available later in the spring) to be considered.

Scholarships are awarded based on financial need using student and parent financial information. Priority is given to the neediest students. Award amounts vary based on available funding and the neediness of the applicant pool.

Please note: You must apply each and every year for consideration.

Institutional Loans (Funded through various sources; Administered by UF)

Information will be mailed to eligible students by the University Bursar. Please make sure your mailing address on file with UF is correct so you receive this information!


How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

Step 1 - FAFSA

File your 2017-18 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)! You cannot be considered for ANY aid at UFCD without it. The FAFSA is available online at

FAFSA & Loans

You will be considered for federal loans based solely on having a completed FAFSA on file with UF. Parental financial information is not required to be included on the FAFSA in order to receive loans, as Federal Student Aid considers all professional students to be independent. Meeting the UF on-time financial aid deadline (Dec. 15) is not required for loan awards.

FAFSA & Scholarships/Grants

You must have a FAFSA on file to be considered for scholarships and grants. The UFCD Scholarship Application is also required for scholarship consideration. You must submit a FAFSA and UFCD Scholarship Application each and every year for scholarship and grant consideration.

Parental financial information is required to be included on your FAFSA for scholarship consideration. If you already filed your FAFSA but did not include parental information, you can edit your FAFSA and add the information. You can do so by logging in to and clicking on “Make a Correction”. *Hint! Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer tax information quickly and easily from the IRS system to the FAFSA.

If you have a special circumstance with parental information, please contact the UFCD Financial Aid Coordinator for assistance.

Inclusion of parental information on the FAFSA will not impact your loan eligibility in any way. Your FAFSA must have been received at UF by Dec. 15, 2016, for priority scholarship and grant consideration.

Special Note: EFC (Expected Family Contribution)

The EFC is an index number calculated by Federal Student Aid based on the financial information provided on your FAFSA, and will be provided to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR). You are NOT expected to pay the amount of your EFC toward your education! EFCs are used to classify students’ financial need

For dental students, federal loans are not based on financial need. Therefore, your EFC has no impact on the amount of loan funding you can be awarded.

UFCD scholarships and grants are need-based programs. Therefore, your EFC is used for purposes of awarding these funds. Please note - Other financial factors are considered for scholarships; your EFC is not the sole determining factor.

Step 2 - UFCD Scholarship Application

Complete the 2017-18 UFCD Scholarship Application. The application will be available later in the spring – Stay tuned for updates!

Step 3 - Monitor Status

Monitor your 2017-18 financial aid status. More information on 2017-18 financial aid is coming soon.