The School of Medicine at New York University just announced a solution to combat the high costs of becoming a doctor by offering current and future students with full scholarships to its doctor of medicine program. The announcement makes NYU the “only top 10-ranked” medical school in the U.S. to offer free tuition.
The program will cover 93 freshman and 350 current medical students.
“I’m proud to announce that as of right now, every student that we admit to New York University School of Medicine comes tuition-free,” Kenneth G. Langone, chair of the board of trustees, said in an announcement. “And this includes the incoming class and the upperclassmen as well that are here right now – no more tuition.”
The program will provide full scholarships, which will covers a yearly tuition of $55,018, NYU said, but it will not cover the cost of room, board and any other living expenses. According to the The Wall Street Journal, on average, medical students will have to afford about $29,000 a year for room, board and living expenses.
As medical students incur a high cost of debt upon graduating, NYU said this debt – a median amount of $192,000 the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported – is “reshaping the medical profession.” And many medical school graduates “choose more lucrative specialized fields in medicine rather than primary care,” NPR reported.
Because of the growing debt, the U.S. faces a shortage of doctors. According to a press release by AAMC, their report,”,’ updates and aligns with estimates conducted in , , and , and shows a projected shortage of between 42,600 and 121,300 physicians by the end of the next decade.”
“This year’s analysis reinforces the serious threat posed by a real and significant doctor shortage,” Darrell G. Kirch, MD., AAMC President and CEO, said. “Medical schools and teaching hospitals are working to ensure that the supply of physicians is sufficient to meet demand and that those physicians are ready to practice in the health care system of future. To address the doctor shortage, medical schools have increased class sizes by nearly 30 percent since 2002. Now it’s time for Congress to do its part. Funding for residency training has been frozen since 1997 and without an increase in federal support, there simply won’t be enough doctors to provide the care Americans need.”
NYU said the program is also “a full retrofitting of the pipeline that trains and finances” – a plan to create diversity in the School of Medicine. According to the AAMC, close to 90,000 students enrolled in medical school during the 2017-2018 school year and “52 percent of them identified as white, 21 percent as Asian, 8 percent as multiple race/ethnicity, 7 percent as African-American, and 6 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and smaller percentages for other groups,” NPR reported.
According to NYU, the cost of the program is about $600 million in which it has raised $450 million with $100 million contributed by Langone, founder of Home Depot, and his wife Elaine.
“They walk out of here unencumbered, looking at a future where they can do what their passion tells them, which is to help people live better quality lives,” Langone said.