On August 16, 2018 the New York University School of Medicine made a surprise announcement at its annual white coat ceremony that it will pay the tuition fee of all its students – regardless of student’s marks or financial needs. By doing so, it has become the first major tuition free American medical school. At the ceremony, students were given the white lab coats to credit the start of their medical profession.
Kenneth G. Langone, chair of NYU Langone Health’s board of trustee, says
“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our trustees, alumni and friends, our hope and expectation is that by making medical school accessible to a broader range of applicants, we will be a catalyst for transforming medical education nationwide”.
Langone and his wife Elaine, donated $100 million to the fund the tuition package. NYU needed $600 to make school tuition free. It has already raised more than $450 million through donations. NYU concern was “overwhelming student debt” that is influencing medical profession in many bad ways. Students prefer to pursue high-paying careers rather than studying family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology.
This trend could cause a significance decrease in doctors in these specialties. NYU understand that we need doctors and medical professionals in all necessary discipline not just neurosurgery or orthopedic surgery. The difference in salaries among specialties can be striking. According to survey, a pediatrician earn an average of $221,900 per year, internists make $260,000 whereas a neurosurgeon can earn up to $662,755 per year.
NYU’s statement quotes Dean Robert I. Grossman: “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.” The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine is also tuition free since 2008 but it has only 32 students whereas NYU can benefit more than 400 students every year. UCLA’s school of Medicine has a $100 million fund that pays the students’ tuition fee, room, board and other expenses but this scholarship is based on merit and only 20% students receive it. While NYU only covers tuition fee. Students have to pay for room, board and other expenses. At NYU that gross around $27,000 a year. The average debt of NYU’s class of 2017 was $184,000.