New York University School of Medicine will cover tuition expenses for all new and current medical students, according to an Aug. 16 university release. The scholarship initiative, the first such program at a top-10 medical school, will cover $55,000 in costs for all students in the MD program.
NYU raised $450 million of the projected $600 million it will take to cover tuition for all students in perpetuity. The university cited statistics from the Association of Medical Colleges that showed 75 percent of doctors graduated with debt last year, with the median debt of graduating students topping $200,000.
“This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians,” says Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean of NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health.
Previous studies have shown debt can negatively impact cardiovascular health. While more students are graduating without any debt, the mean amount for those who do owe is increasing—to $179,068 in 2016 from $161,739 in 2010.
These combined trends, some have argued, show medical students are increasingly likely to come from wealthy backgrounds. NYU, in its statement, argued that the full-tuition scholarship program is a way to diversify its student body, attracting individuals from various socioeconomic backgrounds.
“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our trustees, alumni, and friends, our hope—and expectation—is that by making medical school accessible to a broader range of applicants, we will be a catalyst for transforming medical education nationwide,” says Kenneth G. Langone, chair of the Board of Trustees of NYU Langone Health.