With all this talk about free education, New York University (NYU) is taking the decision out of the government’s hands.
On Thursday, the top 10 medical school in the country announced its plans to offer a full scholarship to all new, current, and future medical students.
This effort is critical due to anticipated shortages of medical professionals. Roughly 75 percent of medical students in the United States graduated with some debt last year. The average debt owed is $191,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
According to Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admissions and financial aid, “The debt can scare people away. One of those individuals could be the one to find a cure for cancer. For us, it’s important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less”
By 2025, the medical field is expecting to have a shortage of 11,000 surgeons and 98,000 lab technicians. This is largely due to mounting tuition costs that the middle to lower class and minority groups feel the most. In 2015 the medical school acceptance rate was 41.1% and, while white, Asian, and Hispanic students were all accepted at roughly that rate, Black or African American students were accepted at a rate of 34%.
This is despite the fact that the average MCAT scores for Black students are only, on average, 7 points lower than their white counterparts. In addition, while White students see a graduation rate of 58.8%, while Black and Hispanic students only graduate at a rate of 6% and 5% respectively.
It is believed that these lessened costs would encourage doctors to accept potentially lower paying jobs such as those needed in primary care. It is also predicted that the biggest beneficiaries of this would be minority groups.
According to an AAMC study, “Research shows that physician diversity adds value to the health-care system by expanding access to health care. Racial and ethnic minority physicians are more likely to practice primary care than their white peers. Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native physicians are also more likely to practice in medically underserved areas.”
This effort has been 11 years in the making. The dean of NYU Langone Health says the college has raised $450 million out of the $600 million needed to make the scholarship permanent.
He also said, “Our goal was to raise enough money to enable students to graduate with as little debt as possible.”