New York University is offering free tuition for all of its medical students.
Graduates move towards higher-paying areas of medicine over paediatrics, primary care or gynaecology due to their "staggering student loans". At the same time, all current NYU medical students received emails saying the school is offering them full-ride scholarships too. "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", said Dr. Robert I. Grossman, Dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health in a statement.
According to an article in U.S. News and World Report, medical schools have said that an applicant who expresses genuine interest in a medical field where doctors are scarce stands to get more favorable consideration than an applicant who does not express such an interest.
By taking tuition costs off the table, NYU Associate Dean of Admissions Rafael Rivera said he hopes to level the playing field for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. So far, the school has raised $450 million of it, with $243 million coming in the last nine months, says Rivera. Medical schools nationwide have been conducting aggressive fundraising campaigns to compete for top prospects, alleviate the debt burden and give graduates more career choices.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median debt of a graduating medical student in the U.S. is US$202,000 - while 21% of doctors who graduate from a private school such as NYU face over US$300,000. Medical school tuition at NYU this year is $55,018.
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On Thursday, NYU made a stunning announcement: All of the renowned institution's medical students will be awarded full tuition scholarships.
Students must still however cover the cost of living expenses and accommodation.
All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible, regardless of their financial need or academic performance. 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.
Citing the risk of "overwhelming" debt, it says every student will qualify regardless of merit or financial need.