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Andrea Santiago

Medical Schools Offering Discounted, Fixed or Free Tuition

By May 16, 2008

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Many medical students graduate from medical school with a lot more than a medical degree graduates often finish their medical education with an average of $130,000 or more in student loan debt, according to the New England Journal of Medicine's online career center.

This enormous financial burden can take many years to pay off. In my role as a physician recruiter, I'm contacted regularly by stressed-out doctors who are forced to leave thriving academic or research careers for more lucrative private practices. Academic and research roles typically do not pay enough to cover both student loans and other current costs of living. Hopefully, relief is on the horizon for some future physicians, as several medical education institutions have started to offer significant tuition discounts, and in some cases, even free tuition.

Fixed, or capped, tuition: University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Kentucky in Lexington have created policies that prevent any tuition increases during one's tenure as a medical student, allowing students to budget more effectively.

Tuition discounts: Some schools are offering discounted tuition for qualifying families, in addition to academic scholarships and other grants which are already awarded. According to a May 12 article in the AMA's American Medical News, Harvard Medical school is offering a discount of $12,500 per year for students from families with a household income of under $120,000. Therefore, obtaining a prestigious Harvard medical degree could cost $50,000 less for some medical students.

Free tuition: It has been said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but apparently there is a such thing as a free medical degree! This may be the best deal around, if you can get it. As reported by a May 15 article on Cleveland.com, Cleveland Clinic is paying 100% of the medical education of the 32 students entering the medical school program. Additionally, the University of Central Florida in Orlando plans to offer full scholarships to its inaugural class of 40 students for the 2009-10 academic year.

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