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  1. #1
    fightorflight is offline Junior Member 523 points
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    Financing Your SGUL Education as a US Student

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    Hello,

    I want to begin by saying that I love the experiences I've had with SGUL, I love my classmates, and I love Cyprus. Though the school is in many ways a work in progress, I still see it as having the potential to produce really good doctors. I would recommend this school to anyone from the US as a unique way to see the world and prepare for medical practice in the US if it were not for the troubles posed by financing an education here. If you are thinking about attending SGUL, please, please consider the following carefully.

    Sallie Mae is your only option for student loans. The Smart Option student loans are private student loans, which unlike federal and state student loans require you to have a cosigner. Private student loans are "unsecured" loans, meaning you are not borrowing against a house, a car, or other assets; the loan is entirely guaranteed by the income of those people who cosign for you. A person can not cosign for you if their income to debt to ratio exceeds 50% --that is if they have an income of 50,000 dollars a year and they have 10,000 dollars in outstanding debts, then they can only cosign a student loan worth 15,000 dollars. Additionally, by cosigning a loan, that loan gets added to their "theoretical debt" for future loaning purposes, so in the above scenario if you get the 15,000 dollar loan, that same person cannot cosign for a loan of any amount, say when it comes to apply for next year's student loans. Other institutions will not loan them money for other purposes either (say, a mortgage or car loan), because they have maxed out their credit.

    To bring this back to attending school at SGUL, we have a number of students who are being driven to withdraw, solely because they cannot find people to cosign the loans which will allow them to continue their education here. The estimated cost of attendance is ~200,000 US dollars for four years, if you live frugally. If you are planning on financing your education entirely through student loans, then you will need cosigners whose total income is 400,000 dollars per year after their debts have been subtracted. If you are not one of the fortunate people who belong in this cohort of people or who has access to significant amounts of cash, then I strongly advise against beginning an education here, you will bring financial hardship on you and your family and will not get to complete your degree. There are a number of Caribbean schools that have access to federal loans and a wider variety of lending institutions.

    I wish this were not the case, because I really enjoy being here, but I feel it is my duty to caution incoming students by giving them information that I wish I had access too.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Tipton's Avatar
    Tipton is offline Ultimate Member 6138 points
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    A few of our students have encountered the issue of decreased access to loans this year when reapplying for Sallie Mae. Not a single student has withdrawn because of this. We have been able to address this issue by granting access to our need-based scholarship fund which covers up to 30% of tuition, while some other students have had their scholarship percentage increased. One of the lessons to be learned here is that incoming students should be as careful as possible when considering if they should finance their full cost of attendance or find another combination of resources to limit financial exposure to debt which may limit future access to loans.

  3. #3
    goelsewhere is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipton View Post
    A few of our students have encountered the issue of decreased access to loans this year when reapplying for Sallie Mae. Not a single student has withdrawn because of this.
    Wow you just really love to run your mouth without knowing anything. One of our classmates and my friend has withdrawn from the program after failing to get loans from Sallie Mae again this year and is leaving later this month.

    Keep your mouth shut Tipton. You really are a joke and should lose your job for false advertising. Your effort to cover up the facts with lies to us students and potential applicants to this program is just infuriating. You repeatedly lie about the school's accreditation and now this. YOU MUST REALIZE THAT YOU ARE PUTTING MANY PEOPLE AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR PRECIOUS TIME, MONEY AND EFFORT BY PROVIDING THEM WITH INCORRECT/MISLEADING INFORMATION. I'm going to report you to SGUL as well as the GMC and submit a request for your termination because you are clearly incapable of doing your job right.
    Last edited by goelsewhere; 08-07-2014 at 07:05 PM.

  4. #4
    Tipton's Avatar
    Tipton is offline Ultimate Member 6138 points
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    ..........
    Last edited by Tipton; 08-18-2018 at 03:43 PM.

  5. #5
    fightorflight is offline Junior Member 523 points
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    We have had at least one student have to withdraw for reasons linked to Sallie Mae alone. Others have had to turn around last minute and change their living situations resulting in loss of housing deposits, which are significant amounts of money. Still others simply were not advised on Sallie Mae's practices and policies with respect to providing loans, and thus have had to radically readjust their budgets as well as speculate on how they would spend this next year if they were not able to obtain financing --a terrifying prospect given that most of us just doubled or tripled our undergrad loan debts by going to school here for a year.

    While a 30% tuition discount is nothing to sneeze at, it is not usually offered to North Americans in the first year "since we have access to loans," a quote from another post. However, this puts people into a position of borrowing a greater percentage of their "allotment" for the first year, then finding out later that they cannot finance their education further. If a person is entirely self-funding their education through loans, then that should indicate that there is significant financial need from the start, and given how this past summer has unfolded for a number of us, perhaps that would be an area that the school can work to address.

    I understand SGUL-UNIC is in the awkward position of being a private, for-profit medical school and also trying to maintain GMC accreditation, which probably prevents discrimination based on income, but they should seriously try and do better with advising incoming students on how their financial situation will affect their studies here. Sallie Mae is a notoriously bad company from a consumer standpoint-- the word "evil" gets thrown around quite a lot, and so it seems irresponsible to set them loose on unwitting students to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I researched the Sallie Mae company, accepted their practices, and was still caught off guard by whole situation this past summer, because they are not transparent about their policies at all. I'm sure the school is doing everything it can to improve the situation, however, it still seems important to state.

    One last thing to be warned of. Students are finding out that they cannot defer their undergrad loans because the US federal government doesn't consider SGUL a "school" for loan-deferment purposes. While there is probably an easy way around this (like income based deferment), it's yet another thing to be aware of. These things are incredibly anxiety inducing to just find out about during the school year, so I don't know why the school doesn't air such problems out in the open. They are more likely to catch flak for not owning up to it.

  6. #6
    fightorflight is offline Junior Member 523 points
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    Also, it isn't fair to tell incoming students to be savvier financiers with respect to funding their education. Most of us are scientists, not business majors. The school should offer us personalized advice and counseling, like most other foreign medical schools.

  7. #7
    Tipton's Avatar
    Tipton is offline Ultimate Member 6138 points
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    ..........
    Last edited by Tipton; 08-18-2018 at 03:44 PM.

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