New York University to offer free tuition for all medical students

New York University offers free tuition to all medical students

Thursday's announcement came as a surprise ending to the school's annual white coat ceremony, which marks the start of first-year students' medical careers. Those who do graduate, saddled with thousands in debt, are often drawn to more lucrative specialties, creating a shortage of professionals in lower-paying fields like primary care and pediatrics.

"This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians", says Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health.

The school has launched a $600 million campaign to fund an endowment that will cover the costs of the scholarships.

Medical school officials announced the scholarships today at NYU Langone Health's Tisch Hospital in Manhattan. In 2017, 119 students matriculated from the medical school, which receives well over 7,000 applications a year.

The crushing weight of debt that medical education places on students-debt that averaged some $191,000 across all schools and more than $206,000 for private schools in 2017, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)-has consequences for prospective students and the future contours of US medicine alike.


"Our last thing was to tell the students and their parents that, hey, tuition is going to be on us", Dr. Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admission and financial aid, told ABC News in a telephone interview Thursday. The estimated yearly tuition costs for each student covered by the scholarship are $55,018, according to the school. Those range from around $27,000 to $29,000 per year, according to the medical school. Debt incurred by paying for medical school tuition fundamentally influences the demographic profile of medical school classes.

About 62% of NYU's medical students reportedly graduate with debt; for 2017 graduates, that debt came to $184,000 on average. Sometimes the option is only available to those interested in primary care to try to boost the workforce.

The United States could see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Rivera also said the school plans to refund out-of-pocket payments already made for the current year and will return loans taken out by their students.

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