Parental Data on the FAFSA

Financial Aid Checklist

Why do I need to submit parental data on my FAFSA?

The purpose of this page is to address an area that seems to cause confusion for incoming medical students. This is the subject of whether or not students should include their parent’s financial information when they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here is the information to help you determine whether or not to include your parent’s data on your FAFSA.

Important  – because you will be enrolled in medical school you will automatically be considered an “independent” student. In order to qualify for Federal Stafford Loans, independent students are NOT required to submit parental data on their FAFSA.  However, if you are interested in being considered for any of the following, then you MUST include your parents’ data on the FAFSA:

  •   Most Heritage College Institutional Scholarships

  •   Federal Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (Not currently funded)

  •   Federal Loans for Disadvantaged Students (only available to year 3 and 4 students)

  •   Primary Care Loans (only available to year 3 and 4 students)

Each year, students have questions about this requirement because many of them have been living independently from their parents and have not received support from parents for several years. The best explanation for this requirement is that, on the surface, most medical students appear to have very similar financial resources. Since they are in school full-time, most medical students do not have high incomes. Because the funding for the above financial aid resources is so limited, the federal government requires that before allocating these resources we must “take a deeper look” and evaluate the financial resources of the student’s parents.

We understand that in some family situations it is problematic for the student to obtain their parents’ data; however, federal regulations prohibit us from awarding these financial resources without verifying the parental data. If both of your parents are deceased, be sure to indicate it on the appropriate place when you complete the various financial aid applications required for the above programs. If you do not tell us that your parents are deceased and you do not submit parental data on your FAFSA, we will assume that you have decided not to apply for any of the scholarships or loans listed above. Be assured that providing parental data will in no way “count against you” when applying for Stafford Loans.