Attending Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons will give you one of the top medical educations in the country, at one of the highest costs. Tuition for one year is $59,364. If you add in fees and living expenses, you’ll easily get to $90,000. That’s close to $100,000 PER YEAR for four years! According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median debt for graduating med school students in 2017 was $192,000.
Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, 88, the former chairman of Merck & Co. and a Columbia Med alumnus, and his wife, Diana, are donating $250 million to the school. The majority of these funds – $150 million – will fund an endowment that the school predicts will eventually enable it to underwrite its student financial aid. According to the school, students with the greatest financial need would get full-tuition scholarships that will also cover living expenses. Those with less need would get grants – not loans – to make up the difference between what they can afford and the cost of medical school.
It will take several years for the endowment to start producing the income to fund the full range of scholarships. The school believes that the gift, combined with additional donations still being sought, will allow all of its students to attend without going into debt.
Lee C, Bollinger, president of Columbia, announced that in recognition of this gift, and other donations the couple has made totaling nearly $60 million, the medical school will officially be renamed the Columbia University Roy and Diana Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Vagelos was a scholarship student at the school in the 1950s. He stated that he hopes the gift will allow Columbia’s med students to pursue careers in family medicine, pediatrics, research, and other areas that are less profitable than the top-paying specialties. “We think that this will make a really important impact on the future careers of our graduates, who will be able to follow their dreams, which was what I was able to do,” he said.
• Navigate the Med School Application Maze, a free guide
• What’s the Cost of Applying to Med School?
• Sallie Mae: Student Loans with Options and Flexibility, a podcast episode