NYU's Amazing RX for Med Students: Full Scholarships for All

Frederick Owens
August 18, 2018

NYU School of Medicine also offers an accelerated three-year M.D. program, which is also covered by the full-tuition scholarship program.

Trustees, leaders and faculty at NYU School of Medicine made the stunning announcement on Thursday morning at the end of the annual "White Coat Ceremony", where new medical students are given their white lab coats to mark the start of their M.D. degree program.

Medical schools across the USA have attempted to respond to the student debt crisis by increasing their fundraising efforts to recruit competitive applicants, reduce student debt, and give graduates more flexibility with their career paths. On average, doctors now graduating from a private school do so with $202,000 in debt.

NYU School of Medicine is the first private USA medical school and the only one ranked in the top 10 to offer free tuition to all its students, the university said in a press release. While it must be easier for a moneyed institution like NYU to offer full-tuition scholarships, it is reportedly the first school of its caliber to do so (according to NYU, that is).

"People shouldn't graduate medical school with the equivalent of a mortgage", said Rafael Rivera, NYU medical dean of admissions. "This gives our students choice in two ways: First it will enable students who couldn't afford medical school to afford it and the second thing it does is enable students enrolled in medical school to think with a clear eye (about their future specialty)", said Dr. Robert Grossman, the dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health.

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Other medical schools have relied on donors to help combat the heft costs.

The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University, with just 32 students a year, has paid full tuition and fees since 2008 in an effort to encourage graduates to pursue academic and research careers. So far, the school has raised $450 million of it, with $243 million coming in the last nine months, says Rivera.

That scholarship will cover a yearly cost of $55,018. 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.

Most medical students will still need to pay about $29,000 for annual room and board and other living expenses. Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, whose name adorns the health system affiliated with the medical school, contributed $100 million.

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