Message from the Chancellor regarding the status of UNIBE Medical School’s Title IV eligibility
For more than 20 years, UNIBE’s School of Medicine has been eligible to participate in the federal student loan programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). This eligibility has enabled qualified students from the United States to apply for and receive loans under various loan programs offered by or through the U.S. Department of Education (Title IV, HEA funds) such as the Federal Direct Loan program.
One of the requirements to be certified as eligible to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs is that a Medical School’s students and graduates taking the USMLE examinations for the first time must achieve a 75% pass rate on each of the three steps for the year immediately preceding the year in which students are seeking funds. In other words, UNIBE’s first time test takers in 2016 needed to achieve a 75% pass rate on each step of the USMLE. Students and graduates who took the USMLE Step 2 CK and CS for the first time passed the examination with percentages in excess of the required 75% pass rate. Dishearteningly, the 2016 pass rate for Step 1 was below the required pass rate.
Under U.S. Department of Education regulations, if a Medical School does not achieve the required pass rate on any one of the three steps, the Medical School loses its eligibility to participate in the Title IV, HEA programs. After recently receiving final scores for 2016, UNIBE informed the Department of Education that due to the scores achieved by Step 1 test takers the institution will no longer be in compliance with this specific requirement. The Department has advised UNIBE that this will be effective April 30, 2017.
Continuously enrolled students in the Medical School who have already received loans are still eligible to receive Title IV, HEA funds for the academic year they are in, as well as for the succeeding academic year. Based on this information, we anticipate most students will be eligible to continue to receive loans through December 2017, and another group will maintain their eligibility until April 2018. Once the School’s pass rates meet the required minimum on all three USMLE steps, the Medical School will reapply for reinstatement.
UNIBE has been working hard to develop alternative funding sources and supportive services for the students. For further information please refer to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This situation does not affect students enrolled in other programs at the University who also receive Title IV funds.