The military veterans enrolling in medical schools have to pay a major portion of the tuition from their own pockets, since the tuition aid provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) covers only the smaller proportion of it.
The study has found that medical schools have a median shortfall of $27,500 per year, adding $110,000 that veterans pay out of their pockets to earn a medical degree. It also established that only 45 percent of medical school tuition is covered by aid, while it covers 100 percent for MBA and 85 percent for law programs.
“This means veterans who deployed to combat zones or served on active duty since 9/11 will incur significant debt despite receiving the GI bill. Medical schools could be using their scholarship dollars much more effectively,” lead author Stephen Graves, a fourth-year student in the dual MD/MBA program at Northwestern University, said.
Graves blamed of disparity in tuition aid on the unfamiliarity of medical schools with VA tuition aid programs. The program available to all honorably discharged veterans comes from the Post-9/11 GI Bill and another Yellow Ribbon (YR) program that can be used for most undergraduate and graduate education.
“Veterans bring a distinct perspective to professions and occupations. Research has shown 10 percent of the U.S. populace are veterans, and around half receive their care at the VA. With recent shortfalls within the VA health care system, all avenues to improve care should be explored, such as increasing the number of veteran physicians in practice and prompting policymakers to consider how health care education can enhance care for veterans,” Graves said.