Tuition is a key contributor here - 77 percent and 57 percent of African-American and Hispanic medical students respectively report educational debt in excess of $150,000, and African-American students are 2.7 times more likely than others to accumulate that much debt. The yearly tuition costs covered by the scholarship are $55,018. Those who do graduate, saddled with thousands in debt, are often drawn to more lucrative specialties, creating a shortage of professionals in lower-paying fields like primary care and pediatrics.
NYU already raised $450 million of the estimated $600 million needed to fund the school-wide full-tuition scholarships, including a $100 million donation from Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and his wife, Elaine.
"There's really a moral imperative to reduce the amount of debt people have", Dr. Rivera said of the effort.
"Our last thing was to tell the students and their parents that, hey, tuition is going to be on us", Dr. Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admission and financial aid, told ABC News in a telephone interview Thursday. In the most recent application cycle, only 18 percent of matriculating medical students were African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, or native Alaskans, even though they make up almost 33 percent of the US population. The school also implemented in 2013 an accelerated 3-year M.D. program so students could start earning a salary one year earlier.
The action could also give graduates more career choices so they won't be pressured into having their future be influenced by student loan burdens.
PHOTO: New York University's School of Medicine announces it is offering full-tuition scholarships to all current and future students in its MD degree program, regardless of need or merit, August 16, 2018. Students nontuition costs in that program would be about $27,000 to $31,000. The financial support and commitment it takes for a school to provide such a broad incentive to students isn't realistic for all schools, said Julie Fresne, director of student financial services at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible, regardless of their financial need or academic performance. In 2017, 119 students matriculated from the medical school, which receives well over 7,000 applications a year.