Health Care

NYU To Cover Tuition For All Medical Students

NYU To Cover Tuition For All Medical Students

"This is going to be a huge game-changer for us, for our students and for our patients", Dr. Rafael Rivera, NYU's associate dean for admission and financial aid", told The Journal. We were horrified: The notion of tuition-free medical school-admittedly something that had been circulating in the pre-orientation rumor mill-seemed imaginative at best, delusional at worst, and thoroughly inconsiderate on day four of probably the most debt-accumulating pursuit in our adult lives.

In December, Columbia University received a $250 million gift from Dr. Roy Vagelos and Diana Vagelos, of which $150 million created an endowment that will cover the tuition for medical students who are deemed to have financial need at the renamed Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The move follows NYU's decision in 2013 to offer an accelerated three-year curriculum for its MD degree program, which also helps in cutting tuition costs. 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). Debt incurred by paying for medical school tuition fundamentally influences the demographic profile of medical school classes.

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Students will still have to cover room and board, as well as other living expenses. The school claims that as the burden of student debt steers medical graduates into more lucrative specialties, fewer students are pursuing, say, primary care or obstetrics and gynecology, which don't pay as well.

Medical school officials announced the scholarships today at NYU Langone Health's Tisch Hospital in Manhattan. The endowment was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Eliminating medical school tuition, and thus medical school debt, could help nudge more students to choose much-needed careers in primary care. NYU now has 442 medical students and each incoming class has about 100 students.

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Citing the risk of "overwhelming" debt, it says every student will qualify regardless of merit or financial need. "The burden of debt, that is very hard to get your head above, frankly, and that colors decisions in terms of career choice", Grossman said. But the medical school community isn't sure if it'll start a trend.

The free-tuition initiative began more than a decade ago when NYU created an endowment for that objective.

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