NEW YORK UNIVERSITY OFFERS FREE TUITION TO ALL ITS MEDICAL STUDENTS: IS THIS POSSIBLE IN COMUI?
-By Joseph Edun and Tolulope Ibukun
At a time when the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan decided to shock its own medical students by astronomically increasing their tuition, the New York University School of Medicine, one of the top 10 medical school in the US, has on the other hand decided to eradicate tuition for all its present and future medical students. To put it clearly, medical students in New York University will no longer pay school fees.
Citing the risk of “overwhelming” debt after graduation, the university said every student will qualify regardless of merit or financial need. NYU said financial worries were driving graduates to more lucrative specialities, pushing doctors away from more general positions. The scholarship covers annual tuition costs of up to $55,000 (£43,000) per student. A study produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges earlier in 2017 had estimated that 75% of medical students graduated in debt. The average debt level was put at $190,000 (£149,000).
The university has reportedly been working for more than a decade to accrue the necessary funds to pay for tuition, and hopes to raise a total of $600 million (£472m) to make the scholarships available permanently. Students must still however cover the cost of living expenses and accommodation.
The university’s School of Medicine made the surprise announcement at its annual White Coat Ceremony on Thursday – a ceremony where new students receive a white lab coat as they begin their studies. At the same time, all current NYU medical students received emails saying the school is offering them full-ride scholarships too. Daunting debt pressure has been steering new doctors away from research, community-based work and general practice to highly paid medical specialties. Dr Robert Grossman, the dean of the medical school, said that “aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt”.
The university thanked more than 2,500 supporters who helped bring the scheme to fruition. It says it is now the only top 10 US medical school to offer such help. Other top medical school in the United States offer students some form of financial aids such as grants and scholarships.
Can COMUI also be more creative in securing other viable means of funding the College instead of passing the buck to students indiscriminately? Can the mischievous HPTL fee of #85,000 be scrapped to relieve students instead of burdening them? We are not requesting for total eradication of school fees like NYU SOM, all we desire is that they remove the #85,000.
We hope this serves as an inspiration to our leaders to do the right thing.