NYU offers full-tuition scholarships for all medical students

School officials worry that rising tuition and soaring loan balances are pushing new doctors into high-paying fields and contributing to a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians
New York University offers free tuition to all medical students
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18 August, 2018

New York University said Thursday that it will cover tuition for all its medical students regardless of their financial situation, a first among the nation's major medical schools and an attempt to expand career options for graduates who won't be saddled with six-figure debt. Tuition is a key contributor here - 77 percent and 57 percent of African-American and Hispanic medical students respectively report educational debt in excess of $150,000, and African-American students are 2.7 times more likely than others to accumulate that much debt.

N.Y.U.'s School of Medicine announced Thursday it will cover tuition costs for all of its students - regardless of their financial standings or backgrounds. Doctors graduate with crippling medical school debt and it sometimes causes them to seek higher paying specialties instead of lower paying ones that face shortages, like primary care or pediatrics. At the same time, all current NYU medical students received emails saying the school is offering them full-ride scholarships too.

NYU estimates it will need about $600 million to fund the tuition package in perpetuity.

"We thought it was a moral imperative because it's very hard for medical students to incur the debt burden of medical school, as well as the additional time burden of training", Grossman told ABC News on Thursday.

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The associate dean for admissions and financial aid, Dr. Rafael Rivera, says there's a "moral imperative" to reduce debt.

The move is a first among major USA medical schools, reports The Wall Street Journal. While it must be easier for a moneyed institution like NYU to offer full-tuition scholarships, it is reportedly the first school of its caliber to do so (according to NYU, that is). Nine students have their tuition covered through the school's M.D./Ph.D program.

Students must still however cover the cost of living expenses and accommodation. On average, doctors now graduating from a private school do so with $202,000 in debt.

Those 93 students will benefit from the scholarship, along with 350 others enrolled further along in the program. The financial support and commitment it takes for a school to provide such a broad incentive to students isn't realistic for all schools, said Julie Fresne, director of student financial services at the Association of American Medical Colleges.


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