The University of Arizona will provide free tuition to medical students who agree to work in the underserved communities in Arizona for at least two years, the school said in a release.

Announced last week, the new initiative will allow Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix to provide free tuition in the spring semester to students who agree to practice primary care in such areas after completing their residency.

The initiative is being funded by $8 million appropriated by the Arizona Legislature in May. It would benefit nearly 100 students, while the remaining funds will be used to increase the Phoenix class size.

“Arizona needs nearly 600 primary care physicians today, and the number is expected to grow to more than 1,900 by 2030,” said Michael D. Dake, senior vice president for UArizona Health Sciences.

“As the state’s only two designated medical schools, the College of Medicine – Tucson and the College of Medicine – Phoenix are taking full advantage of the public investment approved by our state legislators, who recognize the time to address this shortage is now.”

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the state currently meets only 40 percent of its need for primary care physicians with underserved areas being suffering the most.

The students who are current full-time medical students enrolled in one of the UArizona Colleges of Medicine are eligible for the program. They will have to start their commitment within six years of graduation from medical school and completed within 10 years of graduation.

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