Kaiser Permanente waives tuition for first 5 medical school classes

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente announced its intent Feb. 19 to waive all four years of tuition for the first five classes of students admitted to its new medical school.

Kaiser officials said in a news release obtained by Becker's Hospital Review that its medical school has received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and will begin accepting applications from prospective students in June 2019 for its inaugural class in summer 2020. Each class will contain roughly 48 students, according to The New York Times.

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, founding dean and CEO of the Pasadena, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, told The New York Times that while the institution only plans to cover the entire $55,000-per-year tuition for all of its first five classes of students, Kaiser will offer "very generous financial aid" based on need for future students.

Kaiser is the second institution to announce that it will waive tuition for students. Last August, the New York City-based NYU School of Medicine declared plans to cover its entire tuition costs for all students, which equates to more than 400 students across classes.

While NYU raised $600 million from donors to pay for its tuition plan, Kaiser is using a portion of its revenue set aside for "community benefits," which all nonprofit hospitals have to provide to maintain their tax-exempt status, according to The New York Times. The health system, which has an operating revenue of nearly $73 billion, spent $2.3 billion on community benefits in 2017, including charity care for the uninsured and community health spending.

The medical school will be one of the only medical schools in the U.S. to be affiliated with a hospital or health system, not a university, The New York Times reports. Its curriculum will include a focus on small-group, case-based learning, and students will travel to the health system's hospitals and clinics in the greater Los Angeles area for their clinical education.

"We've had the opportunity to build a medical school from the ground up and have drawn from evidence-based educational approaches to develop a state-of-the-art school on the forefront of medical education, committed to preparing students to provide outstanding patient care in our nation's complex and evolving healthcare system," said Dr. Schuster said in a news release.

In December, Kaiser added 11 executives to the medical school's leadership team.

To access the full report, click here.

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