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Testing Free Tuition

WHILE IT MAY not be a trend, more medical schools have begun to experiment with offers of free tuition. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the movement started with the University of Central Florida Medical School in Orlando, when all 40 students in the charter class of 2009 received full scholarships, thanks to $7 million in donations. More recently, newly established schools, such as the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, began to offer free tuition to inaugural classes in 2017, as did the University of Houston in 2018.

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, which is slated to open in 2020 in Pasadena, California, plans to offer free tuition to the first five classes of students. After that, it will provide financial aid based on need, although still in substantial amounts. Kaiser Permanente also said it will pay for health insurance and room and board depending on their students’ financial needs.

A few existing institutions such as Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Los Angeles, have scholarship programs that cover full tuition for about 20% of the medical students. The UCLA’s meritbased effort includes tuition, fees and living expenses.

Case Western University offers free tuition through the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine to all students in a small research-focused fiveyear program that includes completion of a master’s thesis. Finally, Uniformed Services University pays tuition for all students due to the military service obligation.

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