At this time, ICOM in not eligible to apply to participate in federally sponsored student loan programs for the first two years of instruction. When we reach the two year mark in August 2020, we can submit an application to participate in federal aid programs. There is no guaranteed timeline to the review of our application by the US Department of Education. We cautiously anticipate being able to offer federal aid starting in the fall of 2021.
In the interim, ICOM has a student loan information portal where students can compare loan products from lenders who have health professions loans for medical students. ICOM does not recommend any particular private lender. The lenders listed in the student loan information portal are based on historical lists of lenders at ICOM.
ICOM encourages you to consider the amount you are borrowing carefully and avoid additional student loan debt whenever possible. Student loans must be repaid, with interest, just like car loans and home mortgages.
Before you borrow:
- Exhaust all other possible sources of funding such as scholarships.
- Understand your tuition and fee charges versus the full cost of attending.
- Protect your future financial health by making a plan to avoid over-borrowing.
- Understand the terms of the loans and your repayment options including your monthly payment amount.
There are several important things to know about loans to help you plan to borrow only what you need to cover the costs of your education.
- Loans cannot be canceled because of dissatisfaction with the education you receive, the inability to secure a job in your field of study, or because of having financial difficulty.
- Loans are legal obligations which must be repaid with interest.
- Defaulting on your student loans can lead to serious consequences including the loss of eligibility for federal student aid, collection fees, damage to your credit, and IRS garnishment of your state and federal tax refunds.
- If you are having difficulty making your monthly payments, do not hesitate to ask for help from your loan servicer or the Office of Financial Aid. Early intervention is critical. Many options are available which may help you to avoid default.
- Federal student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
In order to be eligible for private/alternative loan funds, a student must complete the loan application with the lender of their choice, be enrolled at ICOM, and meet the lender’s eligibility requirements. Please refer to the Private/Alternative Loan paragraphs below.
Private student loans, also referred to as “alternative loans” are based on several factors including credit worthiness of the borrower and co-signer, if needed. Interest rates can be fixed or variable and are typically market-based. Repayment and forgiveness options are less plentiful than federal loans.
Students should be aware that these types of loans are not subject to the same oversight and regulations governing federal loans and they do not qualify for the same benefits as federal loans. The terms and conditions of loans made under Title IV (Federal Direct Unsubsidized or Federal Graduate PLUS Loans) may be more favorable than those of private education loans.
Students should carefully compare the loan options available. For ICOM, this is currently only private loans. Some students may secure interest rates on private loans that are lower than those on federal student loans. It is also important to note that private student loans do not have an origination fee like federal student loans. Students should evaluate the overall cost of the loan including origination fees, interest rates, and expiration of grace periods when interest is capitalized and added to the principal of the loan.
Students initiate the private loan application process electronically through the lender of their choice. The lender will contact ICOM to certify the approved loan via an electronic certification form. If needed, a copy of the Self Certification form can be provided upon request. ICOM reviews each student’s eligibility and only completes certification for eligible students.
Since private student loans are based largely upon a credit review, ICOM encourages students to actively manage their credit. One important way students can maintain a healthy credit score is by paying bills on time. Whenever possible students should use cash or debit cards and work to keep credit balances to a minimum. Students should budget funds carefully in order to keep borrowing in check. Understanding and managing credit helps students in building a strong financial profile.
It is also important for students to monitor their credit report. By law, everyone is entitled to one free copy of their credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). Students can choose to access all three reports at once, or place three separate requests throughout a given year. A free credit report can be obtained at www.annualcreditreport.com. Reports may also be requested at and/or may be available via your bank, credit union, or credit card provider.
Debt and Repayment
Be knowledgeable about your debt. Know the total amount you have borrowed and understand what that means for repayment. Plan ahead and be prepared for repayment after you graduate. It is important to keep your contact information up-to-date with your servicer.
Here are some strategies to help you make smart decisions about borrowing now, so that you understand and are prepared for your debt later.
- Create and stick to a monthly budget helps evaluate how much to borrow while attending school.
- Know how much you can expect to earn after graduation. Understanding monthly earnings is the first step in setting a successful strategy.
- Know how much is available, student financial aid and loan funding can be limited to annual and lifetime amounts.
- Know how much aid amount is available verses needed each year to help estimate the total student loan debt at graduation.
- Know the type of loan you are receiving as well as the terms and conditions of the loan. This includes the cost of getting the loan, interest rate, and repayment terms. ICOM encourages you to know before you owe.
- Know the monthly payment is based on the total loan amount borrowed. Keeping track of the total loan amount borrowed from year to year and the changes to monthly payment, will help you keep your borrowing in line with your expected wages and goals. ICOM recommends keeping all copies of loan applications and paperwork together to help you manage and track your loans.
- Know your repayment options. Federal student loans and private/alternative loans have different consolidation and repayment options. Explore these options to find the payment option that is right for you. ICOM encourages you to understand your repayment options before you graduate. Some repayment plans may have an application.
Student Debt Outcomes
Each osteopathic school is required to publish data on debt load and student loan default rates once they have four years of information so that applicants can be aware of this information.
ICOM matriculated its inaugural class in August 2018 and graduates the first class in May 2022. Once debt outcomes are available they will be posted here.
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Programs
The NHSC offers three loan repayment options for primary care providers who work at approved community sites.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers health professionals the opportunity to pay off qualified student loans while assisting the IHS in meeting the staffing needs of Indian health programs. The LRP awards loan repayment to health professionals practicing in specific health profession disciplines who are willing to commit to an initial two-year service obligation while working in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs
NIH offers loan repayment programs to outstanding health professionals who choose to pursue careers in biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research. If you commit at least two years to 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.
State Loan Forgiveness/Repayment Programs
State governments often provide loan repayment programs as an incentive for service. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) provides an excellent resource for obtaining information on these programs. In addition, the NHSC provides a chart which shows all states that participate in their State Loan Repayment Program.
Military Health Professions Loan Repayment Program
The HPLRP is available from some branches of the US military. For terms and conditions, please contact a service branch representative.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
ICOM does not currently offer federal student loans that would qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Prior federal student loans may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). To qualify for PSLF, a student must be employed and working full-time at a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization; have Direct Federal loans (or consolidate other federal student loans into a Direct loan); be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan; and make 120 qualifying payments.