NYU Offering Free Tuition to Medical School Students

The New York University School of Medicine will provide free tuition for all present and future students, the university announced. In a surprise announcement, NYU revealed it would foot tuition-about $55,000 per year-for all medical students going forward. 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. NYU leaders called the decision a "moral imperative" considering the impact medical school debt has on physician stress levels, diversity in the profession and the provider shortage. The university has raised $450 million out of the $600 million it estimates it will need to cover the scholarships, including $100 million from Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and his wife, Elaine, according to the publication.

The move is a first among major USA medical schools, reports The Wall Street Journal. Another 9 students are already covered in their M.D./PhD programs.

"This is going to be a huge game-changer for us, for our students and for our patients", Dr. Rafael Rivera, NYU's associate dean for admission and financial aid", told The Journal. That is partly propelled by the fact that almost half of third- and fourth-year students say that their choice in medical specialty is influenced by projected income-or by debt burden. Those range from around $27,000 to $29,000 per year, according to the medical school.

New York University's School of Medicine announces it is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program, regardless of need or merit, August 16, 2018.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median debt of a graduating medical student in the United States is US$202,000 - while 21% of doctors who graduate from a private school such as NYU face over US$300,000.

Students must still however cover the cost of living expenses and accommodation. 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.

Those 93 students will benefit from the scholarship, along with 350 others enrolled further along in the program.

  • Delores Daniels