Financial Aid

Pharmacy PharmD Students

Students in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy have their aid processed along with all other UC students. The Student Financial Aid Office receives your aid application and processes funds based on that application. Enrollment Services can answer most financial aid (as well as billing and registration) questions from PharmD students.

At the same time, there are some specific aid eligibility and processing issues unique to PharmD students. 

Credit Hours When Beginning the PharmD Program

As a PharmD student, you are considered a graduate student throughout the university. However, some students, when beginning the PharmD program, do not have enough cumulated credit hours to meet the federal aid definition of a graduate student.

Students who begin the PharmD program with fewer than 72 semester hours (3 full-time-equivalent years) cannot be considered for federal aid. They do not have the defined number of hours to be considered a graduate student for aid purposes and are ineligible for aid as an undergraduate because they are in a graduate program. Such student are unable to be awarded federal aid until such time that they have 72 semester hours – usually accomplished after one term in the doctoral program. These students with fewer than 72 hours when starting the PharmD program could purse alternative student loans but are ineligible for a federal aid award offer.

Once a student has 72 or more semester hours along with their admission to the PharmD program, they must be classified as a graduate student for federal aid purposes and can be awarded accordingly.

Aid eligibility can therefore change for a student who had fewer than 72 hours their first term in the PharmD program. Any change to aid eligibility will be managed by the Student Financial Aid Office in concert with the College of Pharmacy once your additional hours have been posted.

Pharmacy-specific Aid Eligibility

Pharmacy students have two specialized loan matters that can be considered when the aid package is made.

Students who apply early and have greater financial need as determined by the FAFSA will be awarded the Health Professions Student Loan (often referred to at UC as the Pharmacy Loan since Pharmacy students are the only UC students eligible for this program). Because of its limited funding, only a small number of students will be awarded the Health Professions Student Loan each year. This loan is repayable to UC who manages the funding on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Students enrolled in health professions programs that were eligible under the former Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) program phased out in the late 1990s have higher annual and aggregate Federal Direct Loan limits now authorized by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Annual Limit: Beyond the normal graduate annual limit of $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, PharmD students can borrow an additional $12,500 if attending 9 months and $16,667 if attending 12 months up to the budgeted cost of education.
  • Aggregate Limit: Total lifetime loan borrowing in the Federal Direct Loan program for PharmD students is capped at $224,000, an increase beyond normal graduate borrowing limits.

While annual and aggregate limits are increased, students should be conscious of their overall loan indebtedness and reduce reliance on loans whenever possible. Limiting loan reliance and being more frugal while in school will make loan repayment and finances post-graduation far easier.

Summer Enrollment

Summer enrollment can be optional except at the end of the third professional year in the PharmD program. Any student attending summer and all third-year students should be aware of how summer attendance will affect academic year aid.

Summer is considered the final term in any academic year that may normally be limited to fall and spring. Students who attend in the summer for at least half-time will have their Federal Direct Loan adjusted and spread evenly over all three terms for that year. The budgeted cost of education will also be increased to account for an additional term.

Federal Direct Loans must be adjusted per federal regulations into thirds even if the costs for the terms may not be equal. Therefore, students who attend summer (especially all third-year PharmD students) should plan accordingly as they budget their individual costs and loan refunds so as to meet all of their financial obligations throughout the year.

Transitioning into PharmD while at UC

Every attempt will be made to offer you a complete and accurate aid package when you apply for financial aid. However, due to the nature of the PharmD program where some students apply while still enrolled at UC and awarding system safeguards that ensure normal loan maximums are not exceeded, your original aid package may have to be corrected via an audit process.

The Student Financial Aid Office is committed to offering you the maximum aid in all eligible programs. We work with individual students and the College of Pharmacy to ensure your aid package is adjusted to meet your individual eligibility.

Additionally, PharmD students should ensure they are reviewing College of Pharmacy-specific tuition rates when viewing college costs.

If you have questions about your aid package, please contact Enrollment Services via email at