New York University to offer free tuition for all medical students

Saturday, 18 Aug, 2018

Graduates from New York University (NYU) cheer during the commencement ceremony at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York, May 2014. The following week, the photographer issued an apology. Tuition had been set at $55,018 for the coming year. NYU students can choose between the traditional four-year MD program or an accelerated three-year degree.

A study produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that in 2017 75% of medical students graduated in debt. That's a major deterrent for qualified premedical students considering a medical degree.

In December, Columbia University received a $250 million gift from Dr. Roy Vagelos and Diana Vagelos, of which $150 million created an endowment that will cover the tuition for medical students who are deemed to have financial need at the renamed Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Now the onus is on NYU to ensure that money goes to a diverse group of students-an important consideration with the school's low admission rate. "I do have a big interest in doing medical research".

Improve the diversity of the physician workforce. Medical schools have tackled medical school debt in other ways.

More than half of the medical school's most recent graduating class had student loans, averaging out to $171,908 for medical school, the Journal reported.

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NYU's announcement comes amid ballooning costs for medical education.

This application and enrollment gap is relevant to the health disparities that exist in the U.S. The life expectancy of blacks is 3.4 years shorter than whites, and every seven minutes an additional black individual dies prematurely relative to whites.

"If you're faced with debt that you're likely to have into your 50s, it's got to have an influence on what you choose to do", Lee Goldman, dean of the Columbia University medical school tells the paper. But the medical school community isn't sure if it'll start a trend. On average, doctors now graduating from a private school do so with $202,000 in debt.

The cost of medical school can keep some people from pursuing a career in the field. To the extent that burnout precipitates depression and early retirement -as well as increased medical error rates and poorer patient care-debt incurred during medical training is yoked to patients and providers alike.

The free-tuition initiative began more than a decade ago when NYU created an endowment for that goal. The result is a shortage of primary care physicians and researchers, per the WSJ. These benefits would be vastly compounded if other schools follow suit.

Republished with permission from STAT.