NYU Offering Free Tuition to Medical School Students

School officials worry that rising tuition and soaring loan balances are pushing new doctors into high-paying fields and contributing to a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians

New York University offers free tuition to all medical students

About 93 first-year students will receive full-year scholarships, on top of 350 students who are already in the midst of their medical program, the publication said. Medical schools have tackled medical school debt in other ways. However, receiving the scholarship, medical students will still have to pay for the accommodation in hostels and utilities. While that figure includes estimated shortages for both specialists and general practitioners, the NYU program could theoretically reduce the burden of entry to either and, the hope goes, free up would-be doctors to pursue the careers they want to begin with.

NYU Langone says 75 percent of doctors graduate in debt at an average of $200,000.

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. "The day they get their diploma, they owe nobody nothing", Kenneth G. Langone, the board of trustees chairman for NYU Langone Medical Center, told USA Today. Given that graduating medical students from underrepresented minority groups are 2.5 times more likely than white students to work with underserved populations, the increase in diversity that tuition-free medical school might engender has profound implications for reducing health disparities in this country.

The debt can also affect what specialty students choose to pursue, deterring some from the lower-paying positions in pediatrics and primary care. The Journal also reported that Johns Hopkins students who borrow graduate with a median debt of $110,000; the national average is $195,000.

Addressing the affordability issue could help alleviate physician shortages, said Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. Already have $450 million of the needed $650 million.

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Thursday's announcement came as a surprise ending to the school's annual white coat ceremony, which marks the start of first-year students' medical careers. "For us, it's important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less", Rivera said.

"We believe that with our tuition-free initiative, we have taken a necessary, rational step that addresses a critical need to train the most talented physicians, unencumbered by crushing debt", says Grossman.

"These next couple of years were going to look very hard for my parents", said incoming med student Joshua Jiange.

Fresne said multiple factors influence what kind of medicine a student chooses to practice after medical school, like personality fit and role models.

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