All medical students at New York University will now be able to attend tuition-free - a major first for a highly ranked medical school as it aims to eliminate the burden of crippling student debt for its students.
NYU School of Medicine made the surprise announcement at its annual White Coat Ceremony on Thursday - when new students receive a white lab coat as they begin their studies.
"This is going to be a huge game-changer for us, for our students and for our patients", said Dr. Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admission and financial aid.
"If you're faced with debt that you're likely to have into your 50s, it's got to have an influence on what you choose to do", Lee Goldman, dean of the Columbia University medical school tells the paper.
Over more than a decade, NYU raised $450 million of the estimated $600 million it needs to maintain the scholarship.
Tuition had been set at about $55,000 for the coming year.
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Graduates move towards higher-paying areas of medicine over paediatrics, primary care or gynaecology due to their "staggering student loans".
The crushing weight of debt that medical education places on students-debt that averaged some $191,000 across all schools and more than $206,000 for private schools in 2017, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)-has consequences for prospective students and the future contours of USA medicine alike.
Medical school officials announced the scholarships today at NYU Langone Health's Tisch Hospital in Manhattan. Another 9 students are already covered in their M.D./PhD programs. Those range from around $27,000 to $29,000 per year, according to the medical school.
Seventy-two percent of graduates from medical school in 2017 graduated with a median of $180,000 in debt, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges cited by the university.
Those 93 students will benefit from the scholarship, along with 350 others enrolled further along in the program.
More than half of the medical school's most recent graduating class had student loans, averaging out to $171,908 for medical school, the Journal reported.