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NYU said it got a batch of grants to pay for the full scholarship option, including some from Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, who chairs the medical school's board of trustees. Medical schools have tackled medical school debt in other ways. NYU cites the concerns of many students over the enormous financial burden that is faced when pursuing an education in medicine.

The medical school at NYU, a private university, is ranked third in the U.S., and tied with Stanford University in Stanford, California, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Leaders at NYU School of Medicine also contend that addressing the challenges in medical education today requires more than just expanding the number of people being admitted to medical school, but a full retrofitting of the pipeline that trains and finances how we do that. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that more than eight in 10 graduating students bear a debt burden in excess of $100,000, with a median debt of $192,000.

All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible, regardless of their financial need or academic performance.

Outside image of the New York University Medical School in New York, New York on August 17, 2018. Other schools, including Columbia, are making efforts to ease the tuition burden on medical students.

"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", said Dr. Robert Grossman, dean of the NYU School of Medicine. The estimated yearly tuition costs for each student covered by the scholarship are $55,018, according to the school. NYU leaders called the decision a "moral imperative" considering the impact medical school debt has on physician stress levels, diversity in the profession and the provider shortage.

School officials cited a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians, due to rising tuition and huge loans, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, as part of the reason for the initiative.

Fresne said multiple factors influence what kind of medicine a student chooses to practice after medical school, like personality fit and role models.

Twenty one percent of doctors graduating from private medical school end up with $300,000 or more in student debt, per the AAMC. "That kind of career path looks a lot more feasible now".

The move was made possible because of donations from more than 2,000 trustees, alumni and others.


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