There is a lot of excitement surrounding the medical coding profession and all of the employment opportunities. It isn’t surprising at that hundreds of people are signing up for training in medical codes. Prospective students do face a challenge though: money. Medical coding courses are not extravagant but there are fees involved and costs for textbooks and software. Students quickly realize that several thousand dollars may be needed to get the required education for a medical coding career. This may be more than a person can reasonably afford. It may require seeking some kind of financial aid to be able to attend a medical coding school.
The good news is that such financial aid is available. This could be in the form of outright scholarships but Federal Student Aid is a more common form. These are federal loans and grants that help a student pay for education. Ultimate Medical Academy offers both campus and online education in medical coding. It also has advisers who will help prospective students create a financial aid package to cover the cost. This is a fairly common service offered by academic institutions. It is to their benefit that a person secure needed financial aid and these schools have staff members whose primary job responsibility is to help find the money.
The assistance can come in a number of ways. The Federal Family Education Loan Program provides Stafford Loans. These are direct loans funded by the government and are available through financial institutions. The Federal Work Study (FWS) program will provide part-time employment that a student can use to pay for education. Perkins Loans can be given to those students who are economically deprived, but these are available only at participating institutions. There are other needs-based grants and may come through the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants program. These federal programs will require that a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form be completed. This is a fairly comprehensive document and a prospective student should not hesitate to seek assistance from a school’s financial staff in completing one. Another good source of financial aid can come with the help of the student’s parents. PLUS loans are there for parents whose dependent child is at least a part-time student in an eligible program.
Scholarships are the most desirable form of financial aid because they ordinarily do not have to be paid back. The American Health Information Management Association(AHIMA) has a merit scholarship program for those interested in going health information studies. Under the terms of the AHIMA Merit Scholarship a student can receive anywhere from $1000 to $2,500 depending on the level education he or she is seeking. One of the conditions, though, is that a person must be a member of the Association and other criteria includes number of credit hours completed or currently enrolled in.
Some caution should be used while looking for financial aid. Unlike grants or scholarships, financial aid might have to be paid back at a later date. Anyone reviewing financial aid options should read the paperwork carefully. It’s important to have an understanding of what obligations, if any, are expected of the student receiving the financial aid. Failing to do so can have some heavy financial consequences. It is possible that a schedule of payments can be arranged that will not destroy a person’s budget, but an applicant has to realize that any Federal money given in financial aid is a sum that will sooner or later have to be repaid. That being said, those people seeking to afford medical coding education will discover that there are means available to help afford the coursework. What it does take is a little homework ahead of time to get the right financial aid package.