First-year enrollment at US medical schools up 28% since 2002

While the Association of American Medical Colleges expected to reach their goal of a 30 percent increase in first-year medical school enrollment by the 2015-2016 academic year, a recent survey conducted by the AAMC suggests the 30 percent goal will be attained by the 2017-2018 school year.

The survey examined the number of first-year medical school enrollees during the past decade, and estimated the number of first-year students that will enroll in medical school by 2025. The report was based on the 13th annual AAMC Survey of Medical School Enrollment Plans, which was sent to deans at U.S. medical schools with preliminary accreditation or higher last fall. The most recent survey period took place between October 2016 and January 2017.

The report includes enrollment projections for 147 MD-granting and 33 DO-granting medical schools that maintain full, provisional or preliminary accreditation as of March 2017.

Here are seven survey findings.

1. First-year enrollment at Liaison Committee on Medical Education-accredited medical schools increased by 28 percent from the 2002-2003 academic year baseline to the 2016-2017 academic year.

2. Researchers estimated first-year enrollment will increase 35 percent from the baseline academic year to the 2021-2022 academic year, surpassing the AAMC's goal of a 30 percent increase in the number of first-year enrollees.

3. Thirty-nine percent of institutions surveyed cited students' ability to find a residency training program of their choosing as a "major" or "moderate" concern in 2016, compared with the 50 percent of institutions who listed it as a concern in 2015.

4. Eighty percent of respondents said they were concerned about the number of clinical training sites available to students in 2016, compared to the 65 percent of respondents who identified it as a concern five years earlier.

5. The percentage of medical schools experiencing competition for undergraduate clinical training sites from DO-granting schools and other healthcare professional programs grew from about a quarter of schools (26 percent) in 2009 to just over half (53 percent) of schools in 2016.

6. Of those surveyed, 6 percent of respondents said they paid to have their students enroll in academic clinical training sites, compared to the 10 percent of respondents who gave the same response in 2015.

7. Ninety-two percent of respondents indicated they have or plan to have specific admission programs or policies to recruit underrepresented minority groups in medicine. The most popular types of recruitment program included:

  • Holistic review of admissions criteria (92 percent)
  • Precollege recruitment and outreach efforts (92 percent)
  • College recruitment and outreach efforts (86 percent)
  • Scholarships (83 percent)
  • Branch campus location (20 percent)
  • Other (8 percent)

To view the full report, click here.

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