The financial realities of a top-notch medical education are definitely having undesirable consequences for society and young physicians. And some of those consequences are directly opposed to stated goals of most medical schools.
What are the realities? The cost of a medical school education keeps rising. Today, four years of med school can easily put a med student $200K in debt.
How are these costs affecting the physician marketplace?
Society needs more physicians in primary care, which doesn’t pay as much as certain niche specialties. The high cost of medical school pushes some medical students into those specialties so that young doctors can recoup their investment. Furthermore, medical schools have wanted to diversify their populations to improve access for populations that have been underrepresented in medicine. Again, those populations find the med school price tag daunting if not insurmountable.
Medical schools are beginning to respond to this reality by offering ways to reduce or eliminate the cost of med ed, and future doctors’ debt load. Some schools are offering students the ability to study tuition-free, while others are offering tuition-free plus subsidy to make the process “debt-free.”
Medical schools differ in terms of the availability of these options. Some schools like Geisinger or Stanford make them available to a limited number of students, while others cover all students in their program. For some, like Kaiser Permanente, there is a time limit on the offer. And for some, like NYU, it’s all students and there is no time limit.
The first med school to offer a tuition-free medical education was NYU Grossman School of Medicine. In 2018 NYU announced a plan to cover full tuition for all medical students, regardless of merit or financial need. Others soon followed suit.
Tuition-free/debt-free medical schools
Here is a list of medical schools currently offering tuition-free/debt-free scholarship programs:
|Medical School||Scholarship Covers||Who Receives Scholarship|
|Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine||Free tuition|
Living stipend of $2,000/month
|40 students selected from each incoming class who agree to stay at Geisinger for 4 years after finishing residency.
Criteria include financial need, academic merit, diversity, experience serving their communities, and predictors of whether the applicant is likely to remain in Geisinger’s service area,
|Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai||Capping debt at $75,000||Students with demonstrated financial need|
|Kaiser Permanente||Free tuition||First 5 graduating classes (beginning with entering class of 2020)|
|NYU Grossman School of Medicine||Free tuition||All students|
|Stanford University School of Medicine||Free tuition|
|Students qualifying for financial aid|
|Washington University School of Medicine||Full scholarships for up to half of its new students, partial scholarships for the rest||Decisions made on both financial need and academic merit|
|Weill Cornell Medicine||Free tuition|
Housing & living expenses
|Students qualifying for financial aid|
If you attend or know of a school that has a tuition-free or debt-free program, please let us know so we can keep this list current.
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