NYU makes medical school tuition free for all students

New York University in New York City is covering tuition for all its medical students regardless of their economic background in an effort to alleviate the nationwide shortage of medical researchers and primary care physicians, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Medical schools across the U.S. are looking to attract new students, but raising tuition and loan balances are pushing would-be physicians into higher-paying professions. In the U.S., about 72 percent of 2018 medical school graduates had an average debt of $195,000 in loans, according to student surveys by the Association of American Medical Colleges cited by WSJ.

NYU School of Medicine has already raised more than $450 million of the roughly $600 million it says it needs to fund the tuition package. NYU said it will give 92 first-year students full-tuition scholarships, along with 350 more students already partway through the MD-only degree program. Another 10 are already covered through joint MD/PhD programs.

"This is going to be a huge game-changer for us, for our students and for our patients," Rafael Rivera, MD, associate dean for admission and financial aid, told WSJ. The school will also refund students who have already made out-of-pocket tuition payments for the current year, and it will return loans students may have already taken out.

Students receiving financial aid from the scholarship can select whichever specialty they like, but school officials are hopeful the packages will drive graduates into less-lucrative areas or to practice in underserved communities.

Tuition for NYU School of Medicine in the coming year, which is now covered under the scholarships, is $55,018. Most medical students are expected to pay about $29,000 in annual room, board and other living expenses, according to WSJ.

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