Blog

27
Aug

Medical School Full-Tuition Scholarships Provides Access

Access to higher education because of tuition costs and student loan debt are problems that higher education students face. Especially medical students. This month NYU School of Medicine made a move to address these issues. It is offering medical school full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD program.

The United States is facing worker shortages in many industries, including medicine. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts that the US will have a shortage of up to 120,000 doctors by 2030. More than a third of that shortage will be in primary-care physicians, the first doctor most people see when they are sick or just need a check-up. Since primary care physicians don’t earn as much as specialists, many medical students go into specialties so their higher earnings will cover their debt.

According to the AAMC:
• 75 percent of doctors graduate from medical school with debt.
• The median debt for doctors pre-med and medical education combined is $205,000
• The median cost of attendance for the class of 2018 was $243,902 at public medical schools and $322,767 at private.
Just as employer tuition assistance plans alleviate costs and debt for students studying in a variety of fields, medical school full-tuition scholarships will defray the high costs of medical school and prevent the tremendous debt many doctors face.

One of the advantages of medical school full-tuition scholarships is the access it gives to all demographic groups. NYU medical school dean Robert Grossman says, “A population as diverse as ours is best served by doctors from all walks of life, we believe, and aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt.”

Medical school full tuition scholarships can provide access for minority and low-income students to build the diversity in the medical profession that reflects the general population. In 2016 only 7.5 percent of doctors identified as African American or black according to Bureau of Labor statistics. Less than 7 percent are Latinx. Current medical school enrollment won’t change that picture much. In 2017-18 there were 6,188 Black or African medical students, 5,730 Latinx, and 19,192 Asian medical students compared to 46,748 white students.

Providing scholarships that cover the cost of education increases the chances that more students will enter into the medical field without worrying about a long period of debt repayment. No doubt that is a benefit to medical students, but it also is a benefit for the US population as a whole. Equal access to medical education can help deliver needed medical professionals no matter their ability to pay for their education. Medical school full-tuition scholarships will help create equity in access for medical students and ease the doctor shortage.

Employer tuition assistance plans are equally important for other fields and industries. The United States faces shortages of workers with the skills they need to work with advancements in technology. All workers will need training and retraining throughout their careers to keep pace with technology. The US needs more people with higher education to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Employer tuition assistance plans are the solutions for these needs.

The US Congress Joint Economic Committee report The Foundation for Economic Success discusses the need for all Americans to have the access to education that employer tuition assistance plans can give. “There are sharp divisions in educational attainment by income level, race, ethnicity, and geography. When our education system leaves some behind, it produces divisions in our workforce and society that follow people through their lifetimes and into the next generation. To ensure that all Americans have a pathway to achieve the American Dream, everyone must have access to the educational institutions that enable Americans to succeed in the labor market, including an affordable college education.” Employer tuition assistance plans can provide that access.