New York University has announced that effective immediately the tuition of all of its current and future medical students will be covered by the institution. The decision affects ninety-three first-year students and another 350 students who have up to three years left in their programs.
The announcement was made Thursday at the NYU’s medical school, the Langone Medical Center, during their annual “White Coat Ceremony” for new students and their families. The University cited the overwhelming debt burden produced by the cost of a medical education as the impetus for the move.
“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,” said Robert I. Grossman, dean of the medical school and chief executive officer of N.Y.U. Langone Health.
NYU’s tuition forgiveness will be regardless of merit or need.
The average tuition of a medical student at NYU is $55,000 per year. The average debt incurred by a graduating member of the class of 2017 from NYU was $184,000.
NYU has raised more than $450 million to finance the plan, $100 million of which has come from a contribution by Kenneth G. Langone, the founder of Home Depot and his wife. Langone is the NYU medical school’s namesake. The plan is estimated to cost $600 million in total.
The initiative does not cover expenses such as room and board or other fees however, which total an additional $27,000 per year for the average NYU student.
The American medical industry has become increasingly worried in recent years about the trend of graduating medical students, burdened with exorbitant student debt, pursuing high-paying specialties instead of careers in family medicine, pediatrics and research.
In December Columbia University announced that it will offer students full-tuition scholarships based on financial need. That gift was financed by a $250 million gift from Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, a former chairman of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co,. and a Columbia alumnus.
UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine covers the entire cost of medical school for all four years, including tuitions, fees, books and other expenses. That program is based on merit. A medical school associated with Case Western Reserve University at the Cleveland Clinic covers tuition and fees for enrollees of its five-year program focused on research.
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr