1201 S. State Street,
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Financial Aid Guide for Michigan College of Optometry Students
Below you will find the most common financial aid options for a student going through the Michigan College of Optometry. If you have specific questions about your financial aid that are not addressed below, please contact Melanie Mulder at the email address provided at the bottom of this page.
Unfortunately most Optometry students rely heavily on student loans to finance their education. I am often asked to rank loan options. For that reason, I have listed loan types in the preferential order below.
Complete the FAFSA (preferably by April 1st) to be eligible for the Federal Unsubsidized Loan for an amount of up to $20,500 for the academic year. The interest rate for graduate professional federal unsubsidized loans for 2022-2023 is 6.54% fixed with a 1.059% loan origination fee.
The Health Professions Loan is the only loan option for graduate level students that has no interest accrual while you are enrolled at least half-time in school. To be considered for this very limited funding, make sure you provide parental tax information on your FAFSA by April 15th. An email with detailed application instructions for the Health Professions Loan will be sent to you early in June. Applications are date and time stamped as they are received and funds are awarded in that order, until they are expended. Parent's information must be included on the FAFSA (regardless of the student's age or marital status). Parental information is used for Health Professions Loan consideration only. Failure or late addition of parental data on the FAFSA may result in ineligibility for Health Professions Loan awards.
Most private loan options require credit-worthy cosigners. However, private loans typically have zero processing fees, which could potentially save you hundreds of dollars each year.
To apply for this loan option, you must have a FAFSA on file. This application requires credit- worthiness and may be requested to cover up to the remaining balance of your Cost of Attendance.
Advantages to the Grad PLUS Loan is that it is very easy to qualify for, and typically does not require a co-signer. It has a moderate fixed, interest rate (7.54% for 2022-2023). The disadvantage of this loan is that it has a significant loan processing fee (currently 4.228% of the amount borrowed).
You may apply for the Grad PLUS Loan at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. Applications for the 2022-2023 academic is available now.
Students must be enrolled at least half-time (5 credit hours for professional students) during summer semester to qualify for financial aid. Summer semester is the last semester of each academic year. If you used all of your unsubsidized loan eligibility in the fall and spring semesters ($20,500), you would have the option of applying for a private or Grad PLUS alternative loan for summer semester. Summer financial aid awards are processed in mid to late April. If you enroll at least half time for summer semester, the financial aid office will automatically review your eligibility for aid and send you an award notice - even if you do not have any unsubsidized eligibility remaining for summer. The award notice will provide you with an estimated cost of attendance for summer semester that will provide you with the maximum amount you may request in alternative loan options for summer.
Scholarship opportunities for first year students are automatically awarded by the MCO Dean's Office - no further application from the student is required.
MyScholarships applications for continuing students opens in mid-December and usually have a deadline of late January for the upcoming academic year. Decisions are made in late Spring. Students will be emailed a detailed notification of the scholarship award, including instructions for submitting thank you letters to scholarship donors.
Payment Plan Arrangements
Student Financial Services offers multiple payment plan options that you may choose from each semester. There is a $30 payment plan fee charged for each semester that you select a payment plan.
Contact: Melanie Mulder
Email: [email protected] Fax: 231 591-2950 Phone: 231 591-2121