Financing the Physician Assistant Studies Program

The purpose of this advisory is to outline the costs associated with Elon's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) degree and to provide you with the available financing options to assist in meeting those costs. If, after reading this advisory, you should desire additional information, please contact Lynette Lorenzetti in Elon's Office of Financial Planning at  lorenzet@elon.edu, (336) 278-7640 or (800) 334-8448 ext. 2.


Program Costs

Tuition for the PA program for the 2015 term (January 1 through December 31, 2015) is set at $34,680. Additional expenses not charged by the university and that will vary from student to student include rent and utilities, meals, books, supplies, transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses. In determining a student's eligibility for student loans and any other financial aid, the university has established an estimated $62,380 as the total annual Cost of Attendance (COA) of the first year of the PA program.

*Costs for the 2016 and 2017 terms are estimated at this time based on current year tuition and projected expenses.

For information on the tuition payment process, please see When to Apply for Financial Assistance below.

A table summarizing the costs is found below:

  Year 1 *Year 2 (projected) *Year 3 (projected)
Tuition:$34,680$34,680$8,670
       
Living Expenses (variable)$27,700$25,500$6,377
Rent and Utilities 12,500 12,500 3,126
Meals 6,500 6,500 1,626
Books and Equipment 3,800 1,600 400
Miscellaneous 4,900 4,900 1,225
       
Total Costs:$62,380$60,180$15,047

 

The Student Loan Programs


The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program

The primary source of financial assistance for physician assistant students attending Elon University will be the Federal Stafford Student Loan Program. Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 through the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. The student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is capitalized (allowed to accumulate) it will be added to the principal amount of the loan and will increase the amount the borrower will have to repay. If the choice is made to pay the interest as it accumulates, the total interest charges paid during repayment will be considerably less. The maximum unsubsidized loan for graduate and professional study is $20,500 per year.

The total amount a graduate or professional student may borrow from all Stafford Loans combined is $138,500 (no more than $65,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans). The graduate borrowing limit includes any Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

Under current law, the fixed interest rate charged on Federal Stafford Loans is set each year by the Department of Education at the beginning of July. There are also small origination and guarantee fees associated with each loan. These fees are deducted up front and thus lower the actual amount of each disbursement.

Repayment of Stafford Loans begins six months after graduation or withdrawal from the PA Program. This is called the grace period. During the grace period on a Stafford loan, no payment of any principal is due.

Federal Stafford Loans are disbursed in two payments: one at the start of the academic term and one at the midpoint of the term. The loan funds will be sent to the university in equal disbursements.

For information on how to obtain a Federal Stafford Student Loan, see How To Apply for Student Loans. First-time borrowers are required to complete student loan entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note, which are available at www.studentloans.gov.

The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Program

For students who need financial assistance beyond the $20,500 Stafford Loan maximum, there is the federal Graduate PLUS loan program. The PLUS loan allows for the deferment of repayment while the student is enrolled in the Physician Assistant program. Under current law, the fixed interest rate charged on Graduate PLUS is set each year by the Department of Education at the beginning of July. There are also small origination and guarantee fees associated with each loan. These fees are deducted up front and thus lower the actual amount of each disbursement.

The maximum amount a student may borrow from the PLUS Loan program is $62,380 less any Stafford Loans and other forms of financial aid a student may be receiving.

Information about the Graduate PLUS Loan may be obtained from the Office of Financial Planning website. First-time borrowers are required to complete student loan entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note, which are available at www.studentloans.gov.

 

Forgivable Education Loans for Service

Created by the 2011 NC General Assembly, this program is a forgivable loan providing funding for students pursing degrees in certain critical fields. Students must be NC residents. Students in the Physician Assistant program may be eligible for up to $10,000 annually with a maximum aggregate limit of $20,000. Recipients must sign a promissory note agreeing to repay the loan by working in North Carolina in their approved field of study. Applications and all additional information are available online at www.CFNC.org/FELS.

 

National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholarship is a competitive program that pays tuition, fees and provides a living stipend to students enrolled in accredited medical (MD or DO), dental, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, and physician assistant training programs. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers between 2 and 4 years in a community-based site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) that has applied to and been approved by the NHSC as a service site.

Awards are made to applicants most committed to serving underserved people, most likely to build successful careers in HPSAs, and meet future needs for care throughout the nation. Application instructions can be found at the NHSC website.

Note: Candidates must be accepted for enrollment or enrolled in a program on or before September 30 in order to apply for the scholarship. Because the Elon PA program enrolls in January, our students are eligible to apply during their first year of enrollment. For example, an Elon PA student could apply as early as March* of their first year and if awarded the scholarship begin receiving funding in July of their first year. As a result, the PA student could receive funding for a total of 21 out of their 27 months of the program.

Other Possible Funding Sources

PA candidates and students are encouraged to apply to clubs, organizations, corporations, agencies and foundations for funding that may be used at any school the student chooses to attend. These groups may be able to offer students scholarship and grant funding that does not have to be repaid. In addition, many healthcare institutions offer tuition reimbursement for students who contract to work at their facility where they currently work or are interested in working after graduation. Students should inquire about this possibility at the facility where they are interested in working.

Students may also obtain a listing of potential funding sources by reviewing the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) website.

 

When to Apply for Financial Assistance

Students should apply as early as possible, and certainly no later than mid-October 2015, to ensure loan proceeds will be available at the commencement of the 2016 term. Students who do not apply prior to the start of the 2016 term may still do so during the term. However, for Federal Stafford Student Loans and the PLUS Loan, the FAFSA application must be completed, submitted, received and processed by the federal processor no later than June 30, 2016. You do not need to wait until you have been admitted into the PA program to begin the financial aid application process. However, students will not be notified of aid eligibility until they are admitted.

Billing and Payment Process

For the 2016 term, students will receive a bill from the Bursar’s Office in early December that will be due in January 2016. A second bill will be sent in May that will be due in June.

Information on tuition refund policies can be found on the Bursar's Office website.

How to Apply for Student Loans

1. Complete and submit to the Office of Financial Planning the 2016 Elon Financial Aid Application for PA students.

2. Complete and submit the 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA should be filed electronically online at www.fafsa.gov. (Please note you will need your 2014 federal tax information). 

Elon’s Federal Title IV School Code is 002927.