This top-10 medical school is now offering free tuition to all students – who else will?

All medical students at New York University will be able to attend tuition-free — a first for a highly ranked medical school seeking to eliminate student debt for its students

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Student debt is crippling our economy in multiple ways: it steers students towards lucrative -instead of more productive or meaningful careers – and limits the ability of students to buy homes or start their own businesses.

There are a variety of possible solutions, but no one, of banks, financial aid agencies or universities, until recently, has chosen to take the first step.

Education (at all levels) is the ultimate investment in the future.

Yes, education is expensive – but not as expensive as not having it.

Those families, school districts and yes, even entire nations, who have invested in education see an astounding return on their investment within just a few years.

Who would ever have imagined that a university, a medical school in fact, would be the first to switch to a tuition free approach?

N.Y.U.’s School of Medicine announced that it will cover tuition costs for all of its students — regardless of their financial standings or backgrounds.

Besides eliminating a lingering burden of debt, their goal is to attract and retain “the best and brightest students to careers in medicine,” the school of medicine said in a statement.

“A population as diverse as ours is best served by doctors from all walks of life, we believe, and aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt,” Robert Grossman, the dean of the NYU School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health said in a statement.

Seventy-two percent of graduates from medical school in 2017 graduated with a median of $180,000 in debt, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges cited by the university.

This program covers the $55,018 in annual tuition costs, the school says, and is effective immediately for all current and incoming students.  (1*)

N.Y.U.’s medical school needs a $600 million endowment to help sustain its tuition-free model. So far, the school has raised $450 million of it, with $243 million coming in the last nine months.

Universities and medical schools in particular have historically relied on donors to help combat student debt.

In December 2017, a top donor at Columbia University created a $150 million endowment at the university’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to provide financial aid. The University of California-Los Angeles’s David Geffen School of Medicine has a similar fund to cover costs for students based on merit.

Art students, like this one in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, master their craft in the presence of the great ones.   Photo: Morf Morford
Art students, like this one in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, master their craft in the presence of the great ones. Photo: Morf Morford

Student debt is a burden for millions of Americans and expands far beyond just those pursuing careers in medicine. Forty million Americans have student debt, and 14% of them owe more than $50,000, a February 2018 analysis from the Brookings Institution says, as MONEY ( reported at the time.

Other schools  – and a few nations – have been offering tuition free education for some time now.

Thinking about going to school abroad?

For those cultures with a longer time-frame than most American institutions, free-tuition is the ultimate no-brainer.

How do you attract young, visionary, energetic creative entrepreneurs to develop their ideas, establish their networks or even start their businesses?

Here’s a pretty simple formula –  first of all, don’t cripple them with suffocating debt in the most promising and productive years of their careers and second, offer them a base for their ideas, identity and connections. There is no better investment for any nation either financially or in developing name recognition.

To put it mildly, you cannot put a price on the power of a good reputation (or a bad one) when it comes to education.

Here are a few examples of international programs that student in your life might look into- 

Norway: Students willing to brave exceptionally harsh winters and one of the highest costs of living in the world might consider earning their degrees in Norway. Tuition is free at public universities, giving students the opportunity to earn degrees at top-ranked institutions such as the University of Oslo, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and the University of Bergen.

Finland: Until recently, citizens and international students paid no tuition at state-run universities. However, starting in 2017, international students wishing to earn degrees in English will pay approximately $1,650 or more per year, depending on the degree level and program of study. Doctoral students, as well as those pursuing their studies in Finnish or Swedish, still pay no tuition. The government also plans to offer scholarships and financial aid to international students with exceptional academic backgrounds.

Sweden: Only students pursuing research-based doctoral degrees get free tuition in Sweden; some programs of study even offer stipends to international students.

Students should be aware that Sweden’s high cost of living may put them over budget, even when they pay nothing to earn their degrees.

Germany: Germany needs skilled workers, and this reality creates a win-win situation for American students. All students enrolled in any of the country’s public universities can attend for free. German universities offer a wide range of programs entirely in English, and an American student can earn a university degree in Germany without speaking a word of German. Top-ranked institutions, such as the University of Munich and University of Bonn, mean that U.S. students don’t have to trade prestige for cost.

Slovenia: Cultural experiences, proximity to tourist destinations in Italy and Croatia, and free university tuition make Slovenia an attractive choice for students wanting to earn their degrees abroad. Like Germany, Slovenian universities offer numerous programs of study in English,. Students only need to learn the language to communicate with the locals.

France: In the past, students needed to speak French in order to attend university in France. This is no longer the case, as many programs of study at both public and private universities are offered in English. Students who attend public universities usually pay a few hundred dollars per year, depending on the degree level and program of study.

Don’t forget The Netherlands or Italy or many others – especially the smaller European countries.

Beyond Europe

Europe remains a well-known, highly sought-after destination for students seeking refuge from high-priced U.S. colleges and universities, but public universities in countries such as Mexico and Brazil also have virtually free tuition; students pay registration fees, which amount to very little when considering the exchange rates. Some universities offer top-quality programs of study in English.

If you already know (or want to learn) Spanish (or Portuguese in the case of Brazil) this is an unmissable opportunity.

Americans can also attend university in China and pay approximately $3,000 per year, which is very affordable when compared to U.S. tuition rates. The best tuition deals (and the best opportunities to engage with the rich and fascinating history and culture) in China, however, are reserved for students able to pursue their studies in Chinese.

Don’t forget countries that either speak or emphasize English – India, Egypt and Taiwan are only a few examples to consider.

School and other opportunities in the USA

You can find many advanced and affordable educational opportunities without traveling or getting a passport.

You may have noticed that intelligence and motivation have little relevance to one’s bank account. Most schools have known this for along time.

The best schools (or at least those who intend to stay – or become) the best can only do so if they attract the best students, and the family budget is not the best barometer for academic – or financial success.

Here’s a website that explores those states (and a few cities) that offer free tuition to qualified residents –

Here are a couple of websites with schools and programs for those whose financial resources cannot keep up with their educational or career aspirations – or

More can be found online and more and more schools, states and industries are realizing that sponsoring education is the best investment they could ever make.

And if you can’t make up your mind, or want to investigate areas of study or scholarship programs in schools around the world, I can think of no better place to begin than here –


(1*)    Education incurs additional expenses besides tuition. Don’t forget about housing, transportation and any other living expenses.

Related Stories