Determining Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for one year (tuition and cost of living) and the resources that are available from you and your family to apply toward that cost. The Financial Aid Office makes awards which equals this determined need. When this award is added to the resources expected from you, your family, and other outside sources, this would enable you to meet the basic cost of attendance.


In the early part of the coming year, a budget guideline is determined for all incoming and presently registered students. These budgets should be ample to cover the student's needs. In establishing student budgets, the school includes costs based on full-time enrollment for the academic year for tuition, required fees and insurance, lodging, food, and modest personal expenses.


The calculation of your resources is estimated with the principles recommended by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile results; these principles in turn are in accordance with Federal Government guidelines. Two categories of resources can be expected: a contribution from your parents and a contribution from you.

Parents' Contribution

The Financial Aid Office determines what your parents should reasonably be able to contribute by using the FAFSA/CSS Profile analysis and your parents' latest federal income tax return. This determination assumes your parents have an obligation to contribute toward your education in accordance with their financial capability. It is based on national objective standards. When Need Access calculates your parental contribution, the following items are deducted: federal, state, and social security taxes, unusual medical expenses, casualty or theft losses, and an allowance for basic family expenses, such as food, clothing and shelter, which varies with the size of your family. The result is called available income.
Parental assets such as home equity and savings are considered apart from income. This total is reduced first by certain allowable debts, then by protective allowance that increases with the age of your parents. The result is multiplied by a conversion factor to produce what is called income supplement. This is, in effect, theoretical income.
Then the available income and the income supplement are combined producing an index of the family's financial strength. This total is "taxed" at a progressive rate; the higher the total, the greater the "tax bracket". The result is then divided or adjusted if there are other children in college.
Changes in the determined total family contribution from one year to another generally reflect differences in family circumstances either financially or personally. This is the reason that we require a new Financial Aid Application be completed every year.

Student's Contribution

This is based on savings and earnings shown as resources on the application for aid. If a student has substantial savings accumulated for medical school, he or she should divide this by four years so it will be a resource for each year. This should be noted on the application as the Financial Aid Office should be aware that the student is doing this. A student's earnings as a resource should be a reasonable estimate of what was earned. Please do not overestimate your earnings and always use the net figure after taxes.

University Program

The unit loan (Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan) is that amount which the student must obtain through the Department of Education or other sources before school funds are allocated. The unit loan is determined each year.

Recognize That Your Financial Status is Closely Tied to That of Your Parents

In a rapidly changing economy, you must have contingency plans. It is the policy of the Case School of Medicine to expect parents, to the extent of demonstrated ability, to contribute to the medical education of their children. Financial aid guidelines are dictated in most instances by external agencies and medical schools are obligated to abide by and enforce these guidelines in order to be able to provide, in an equitable manner, all available funds. For the purpose of establishing eligibility for university assistance, no medical student is considered to be financially independent of his/her family regardless of age, marital status, or the fact that he/she may have been self-supporting for a number of years.

Acknowledge That the Cost of Training a Competent Physician is Enormous

Medical training is one of the most expensive forms of postgraduate training available in this country. Your tuition and fees over the next four years cover only over 65% of the total cost of your medical school education. At a state medical school, the taxpayers make up the difference. Private medical schools receive some state and federal assistance, but the majority of the additional funds come from university allocations and contributions and, indirectly, from medical school faculty willing to accept salaries less than what they could expect to earn in private practice.