New York University makes tuition free for all medical students

Be realistic when you calculate how much you’ll need to spend and your budget will be easier to keep

It is the only top 10-ranked medical school in the nation to do so.

Medical schools across the US are looking to attract new students, but raising tuition and loan balances are pushing would-be physicians into higher-paying professions. That's a major deterrent for qualified premedical students considering a medical degree. The cost can also discourage some students from pursuing a career in the medical field at all.

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. Research shows this high debt can add significantly to student and physician stress, making them feel cynical or depressed.

At the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, which focuses on training physician scientists, all students have received full-tuition scholarships since 2008 regardless of financial need.

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Outside image of the New York University Medical School in New York, New York on August 17, 2018. By providing tuition-free medical education, NYU School of Medicine is leaving students to pay only for housing, fees and the cost of living. In a surprise announcement, NYU revealed it would foot tuition-about $55,000 per year-for all medical students going forward.

Speaking to CNN, Rafael Rivera, NYU's associate dean for admissions and financial aid said: "The debt can scare people away". So far, the school has raised $450 million of it, with $243 million coming in the last nine months, says Rivera. Of those in debt, the median amount was $192,000, the group says. 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. That fund cost a more modest $100 million to establish, but it covers only 20 percent of students at the school.

Dr Robert Grossman said that "aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt". "More importantly, it addresses both physician shortages and diversity". "I think a lot of schools would love to be able to do this, but it's more hard for some schools".

The decision by NYU to provide free tuition to all of its students may cause ripples well beyond a four-block stretch along the East River. "We hope that many other academic medical centers will soon choose to join us on this path".

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