Medical school costs a lot of money that a lot of people don’t have. So, New York University’s School of Medicine is trying to remove that calculation as a factor in students’ career decision making.
New York University announces good news on Thursday that it will offer free tuition to all its medical school students, in the hope of encouraging more doctors to choose lower-paying specialties.
NYU School of Medicine is the first private U.S. medical school and the only one ranked in the top 10 to offer free tuition to all its students, the university said in a press release. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018.
The stunning announcement was made Thursday morning at the end of the annual “White Coat Ceremony,” where new medical students are given white lab coats to mark the start of their M.D. degree program.
At the same time, all current NYU medical students received emails saying the school is offering them full-ride scholarships too. The NYU School of Medicine will cover full tuition going forward for all current and future students, regardless of need or merit.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States is on track to have a shortage of up to 120,000 doctors by 2030.
“Every student enrolled in our MD degree program receives a full-tuition scholarship, regardless of merit or financial need, that covers the majority of the cost of attendance,” the school says on its website.
NYU said it got a batch of grants to pay for the full scholarship option, including some from Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, who chairs the medical school’s board of trustees.
Dr. Robert Grossman (dean of NYU’s school of medicine) said in a statement that “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”.
Medical school is expensive. The Association of American Medical Colleges calculates that it costs an average of more than $240,000 to attend a public medical school. It costs $322,000 for four years at a private school, the group calculates.
NYU says its scholarship, which begins in the 2018-19 school year, is worth $55,000 a year.
Prospective doctors can carry some of the highest debt burdens. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 75 percent of all doctors in the United States graduated with educational debt in 2017.
The goal is to allow aspiring physicians “from all walks of life” pursue their passion with less stress, according to Dr. Robert Grossman, dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health.
Dr. Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admission and financial aid, told ABC News on Thursday that “We don’t want this debt to hang over their heads and persuade them from pursuing careers of passion”.
Grossman told ABC News on Thursday that “We thought it was a moral imperative because it’s very difficult for medical students to incur the debt burden of medical school, as well as the additional time burden of training”.