Beginning in the fall of 2019, a majority of incoming students to Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis will receive free or reduced tuition.
The school, which ranks among the top ten in the nation, announced on Tuesday that it is committing $100 million over the next decade to provide scholarships covering partial or full tuition for nearly half of its future medical students. A portion of the investment will also be spent on revising the medical school curriculum that integrates clinical, basic and social sciences content.
Funding for the tuition fee waiver program came primarily from the School of Medicine and its affiliated training hospitals, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
School officials said the move aims to attract bright students from diverse backgrounds and to reduce student debt amid the rising cost of receiving a medical education.
“For most medical students, debt is a significant factor in selecting a school and a career path,” Eva Aagaard, the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Professor of Medical Education, said.
“We want to help alleviate that financial burden and instead focus on training the best and brightest students to become talented and compassionate physicians and future leaders in academic medicine.”
Currently, Washington University School of Medicine graduates owe an average debt of $99,088 in comparison to the national median of $166,239. A study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that 75 percent of U.S. doctors graduated with debt, while those graduating from private medical schools possess an average debt of $300,000.
Starting in the fall, an admissions scholarship committee will determine the number of scholarships and level of support given to applicants on an individual basis.
“Driven by our focus on excellence in research, education, patient care, and community advocacy, we are making investments to ensure that we train tomorrow’s physician leaders who will transform medicine,” David H. Perlmutter, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, said.
Last week, the school received a $100 million research grant from Centene Corp. to work on finding treatments for breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity as well.