According to The Wall Street Journal, New York University will begin to offer free tuition to all its medical students in the near future. They are the first major medical university to do this, and they have done so in a way that further develops the topic of education affordability in the U.S. Average tuition for an NYU medical student is fifty-five thousand dollars, and the coverage will be effective immediately.

At the time that the university reported this, they had raised about 450$ million out of the 600$ million they needed for the project. Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and his wife were engaged in the project and donated $100 million of the total amount. The Dean of the university’s medical school and executive officer of N.Y.U. Langone Health released a statement addressing the drastic measures the university will take. He stated:

This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians.”

His statement also makes reference to the fact that many medical students across the country leave college with over a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and usually tend to root for higher paid medical positions. Because of this, positions related to pediatrics, research and physics are struggling to find new members.

Outside of tuition, students will still have to cover for $29,000 in annual room, board and living expenses. 93 first-year medical students will receive this grant, alongside other 350 students who are already in the middle of their program.

Their decision will likely increase talks about the state of student’s debt, and how rising loans have now become associated to a complete U.S. education. A similar measure was done at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, where a 100-million-dollar fund was announced, paying for the entire cost of attendance during the 4 years of college. That scholarship, however, was a merit-based one, not taking need into consideration.

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