New York University will pay for the tuition of all its medical students, the first top-ranked institution in the country to do so,
With the tuition scholarships, the school hopes to alleviate the rising costs of medical education, attract a more diverse class of top students and address physician shortages, NYU Medical School Dean Robert Grossman said on Thursday.
Additionally, students who are not saddled with six-figure debt after graduation can pursue fields that may not be as high-paying but still important, such as pediatrics and obstetrics, NYU said in a press release.
Incoming medical students and those already enrolled will receive an annual scholarship of $55,018 to cover tuition starting this upcoming academic year, NYU said.
More than 86 percent of medical school graduates carry educational debt, and 41 percent of those students reported their debt exceeded $150,000, according to the American Medical Student Association.
Grossman said covering tuition for all students was at the forefront of his goals when he became dean about 12 years ago.
“We really believe that medical student debt is among the biggest issues our country faces in terms of providing excellent physicians to serve our health care needs,” Grossman said.
Over more than a decade, NYU raised $450 million of the estimated $600 million it needs to maintain the scholarship.
By taking tuition costs off the table, NYU Associate Dean of Admissions Rafael Rivera said he hopes to level the playing field for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
“We fully expect that this will positively impact the diversity of our medical school class,” Rivera said.
For its most recent application cycle, the school received more than 6,000 applications for 102 spots, according to Grossman.
The U.S. News and World Report ranked NYU the third best medical school in the nation. The school also implemented in 2013 an accelerated 3-year M.D. program so students could start earning a salary one year earlier.
Other medical schools have attempted to assuage the financial burden of medical school, including the University of Houston’s College of Medicine, which offered full scholarships to its inaugural class.