How to Land a Place at One of These Tuition-Free Medical Schools

Almost everything in medical school is stressful, from submitting exceptional applications to securing a desirable residency to accumulating hundreds of thousands of student loan debt.

The average debt for the 2020 class was $ 207,003, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). On average, medical students in private medical schools paid nearly $ 60,000 in tuition and other fees, while state residents attending public medical schools paid $ 41,438 and non-residents. paid $ 58,246. And the cost of medical schools continues to rise – for state residents attending public medical schools in 2020-2021, tuition, fees, and health care costs have increased by more than 10% compared to the previous year.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Several medical schools offer tuition-free programs to help students achieve a debt-free medical degree.

Free tuition means more competition

A medical degree without a high price tag attracts countless students looking to start their medical careers. “All medical schools are competitive, but the tuition-free programs are particularly competitive,” says Lindsey Conger, preparation consultant at Moon. “In 2018, when New York University (NYU) School of Medicine made a commitment to cover tuition for all students, the number of applications increased by almost 50% the following year. “

Overall, the NYU School of Medicine acceptance rate fell from 1.6% in 2017 to 1.08% in 2020, receiving over 9,200 applications for just 102 places. To put that in perspective, to be accepted as an undergraduate student at NYU in 2021, you had a 12.8% chance of getting one of the approximately 5,700 seats.

Debt-Free Degrees Provide Quality Education

Some prospective students may, in the back of their minds, wonder if schools offering free lessons offer the same quality of education as paid schools.

“Students will still be able to fit into competitive residency programs and will have practical opportunities similar to those of their paid medical school counterparts. And, colleges will still have the same certifications and accreditations (or be in the process of acquiring them if they are newly established schools), ”Conger said.

Some schools, like the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, offered free classes to its first five classes because its curriculum was untested. “Some students might be more hesitant to enroll in a newly formed medical school because the program is new and there is no track record of success yet, such as when students obtained residency.” said Conger. “Free tuition helps alleviate these concerns. “

Tuition-free programs are legitimate – and legitimately difficult to integrate – but Conger has a few tips for those who want to stand out from the crowd in the pursuit of their free degree.

Tips for Getting a Tuition-Free Medical Degree

It stands to reason that the best and brightest candidates get noticed, but a simple tip anyone can do, regardless of their credentials, is to apply early in the cycle.

“The number of places for interviews is limited. Even though you may be highly qualified, if you apply too late you are putting yourself at a disadvantage since the majority of maintenance positions have already gone to equally qualified students, ”Conger said. “To secure these places, I recommend that students prioritize applications as soon as applications open in May.”

Applying early in the cycle can be a key part of a successful application. According to the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS), only 10% of applicants who applied after August 1 received a spot for an interview.

Conger also encourages his students to study the school’s mission statement. “See what they prioritize their students and use those values ​​and characteristics to help you define the content of your admission essay and prepare for your interview,” she said.

If you’re ready to apply for medical school – and skip the stress of paying off student loans – check out these medical schools that offer free tuition.

Three medical schools covering tuition fees

Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine

  • Tuition is covered for the first five medical classes entering from fall 2020 to 2024.
  • According to Dr. Lindia J. Willies-Jacobo, Senior Assistant Dean, offering free courses to the first five medical classes allows students to join “specialties that match personal and professional values” without having to worry about repaying loans. students. .

New York University Grossman School of Medicine

  • Regardless of the student’s academic performance or financial need, they all receive a scholarship in the amount of $ 55,018 per year (the scholarship fully covers tuition fees).
  • According to Robert Grossman, dean of NYU Health, the decision to offer free tuition “recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed as institutions place an increasing burden on young people who aspire to be doctors.” In our opinion, a population as diverse as ours is best served by physicians from all walks of life, and aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine due to the prospect of crushing financial debt. “

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University (formerly Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU)

  • Tuition free since 2008.
  • Students are scheduled to complete a fifth year of research at the Lerner Research Institute, which houses nearly 1,500 researchers in 175 laboratories. Research departments include biomedical engineering, cancer biology, pathobiology, and clinical and translational research. After completing the five years, students will graduate in medicine with a special qualification in biomedical research.
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