Should Medical School Be Free?

October 03, 2018

Debt is perhaps one of the biggest barriers to entering medical school. As the most recent Medscape Residents Salary and Debt Report shows, more than a quarter of residents report between $200,000 and $300,000 in medical school debt. The Association of American Medical Colleges found that 75% of all American physicians graduated owing money in 2017.

Some medical schools are aiming to address the problem of crushing financial debt by offering free tuition.

All 30 medical students in the inaugural class of the University of Houston's new College of Medicine will attend for free when the school opens in the fall of 2020, thanks to an anonymous $3 million gift, the school announced in June. In August, New York University School of Medicine followed suit, saying the school will offer free tuition to all current and future students regardless of need or merit.

Although some critics grouse that it gives students who attend schools that offer a gratis education an unfair advantage over those who must pay, Julie Fresne, MA, of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said that she thinks the tuition-free offer will entice more students to apply who otherwise would not have. Students who take the Medical College Admission Test and then do not go on to apply to a school cite cost as one of the two factors, Fresne told Medscape Medical News.

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