The Financial Aid Office oversees and manages financial assistance programs for students in compliance with US Department of Education policies and criteria. Financial aid funds are provided by the Legislature of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the federal government, institutional funds, and private donations. These resources are distributed through scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs. The MSC also offers teaching and research assistantships, which are funded by institutional budget allocations and distributed based primarily on academic merit rather than financial need. A standing committee chaired by the MSC Associate Dean for Academic Affairs makes decisions regarding teaching and research assistantships. As a state-supported institution of higher education, the UPR-MSC offers island residents quality education at a low cost. Our tuition costs are among the lowest in the nation for a health sciences campus.
All full-time students are required to carry the UPR health plan, or provide evidence of coverage by an equivalent health insurance plan. Ambulatory health services are provided to all students free of charge at the Student Health Services Clinic. Primary care is provided by a family physician in collaboration with a registered nurse. Services include first aid, medications, short-term rest and observation, orders for laboratory tests, X – rays, and other diagnostic studies. Health maintenance and preventive services are strongly emphasized through the immunization and universal precautions protocols, promotion and surveillance of blood pathogens and occupational exposure protocols, including HIV prophylaxis. The Hepatitis B vaccine is available at an affordable cost. The rabies vaccine, partially paid for by the campus, is available for students admitted to the Veterinary Technology Program.
All counseling services provided at the MSC are intended to help students adapt to campus life, define personal and professional goals, and promote self-knowledge and healthy lifestyles. The staff of the Student Center offers centralized services for Counseling and Psychological Services, which include several professional counselors and a psychologist. The Center offers individual and group counseling, career counseling, job fairs, orientation activities, and workshops on various topics related to student personal and professional development. Topics of interest to students are: stress management, gender violence, depression and suicide, eating disorders, time management, and networking for job placements. Other services include the administration of standardized tests and interest inventories; referrals to boarding houses and child care facilities, and advising faculty regarding reasonable accommodation. Currently, the Center is working towards its accreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS). The design and development of a protocol for counseling services is in progress in accordance with accreditation standards. The possibility of adding psychiatric services is also under consideration. Services are also complemented with counseling and/or psychological assistance offered at each school. If the need arises, psychological services are readily available at the School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine. All other schools have access to counselors within the schools and to psychological services at the Center.
Wellness and Quality of Life Office
The Wellness and Quality of Life Office develops programs to promote a healthy and safe environment that allows the achievement of total welfare by the university community. It has a leadership role in the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. It collaborates actively in the implementation of the campus safety policy to ensure compliance with federal regulations and the Jeanne Clery Act. In association with the Puerto Rico Traffic Safety Commission, it directs a federal program known as FIESTA XIV, whose mission is to prevent student driving while under the influence of alcohol and to promote secure and responsible behavior on the road. The Wellness Office has an advisory committee composed of representatives of the six schools who collaborate in promotional efforts and participate in policy and standards revisions. The office coordinates special events such as educational fairs, community service, dance lessons, and special interest workshops. As counseling services also contribute to student wellness and promote quality of life, the Student Center for Counseling and Psychological Services works closely with the Wellness Office in activities that promote social responsibility of students towards the community, such as visits to homes for children and the elderly.
Sports, social, and cultural activities encourage interaction among students of the six professional schools and promote relaxation. The Deanship for Student Affairs has a Cultural/Social Activities Coordinator and a Sports and Athletic Activities Coordinator. The athletics program sponsors recreational tournaments in which there is excellent student participation, while concerts are the cultural event with the highest attendance. Every effort is made to schedule cultural events during the designated “universal hour” (Wednesday from 11:00am to 1:00 pm), when schools do not schedule formal academic activities. The MSC has a fully equipped fitness center for use by the campus community for a nominal monthly fee. It has three trainers and convenient hours (Monday thru Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00pm). At the fitness center students can release the stress produced by an intensive academic load while improving their physical health.
Opportunities For Financing Education
The program has work-study, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships available. The PRF PHTC may offer some stipends during the administrative residency to students who qualified.