Medical school costs deter qualified candidates

It doesn’t look good for primary care, with shortages of doctors now and greater shortages expected, plus the high cost of medical school.

Graduate school education costs are on the rise, especially in the fields of medicine, law, and business. In particular, medical school tuition and educational debt levels have risen faster than the rate of inflation over the past decade.

Specifically, Julie Fresne, director of student/resident debt management services at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), says, “The rate of increase has been greater for public institutions than private institutions.” She cites cuts in public funding with less taxpayers’ dollars provided to public medical schools as a primary cause.

AAMC says that while the costs are increasing, a career in medicine is still a sound investment.
“Student loan repayment is very good. Default rates on medical school loans are very low,” says Fresne.

The AAMC is concerned that with rising costs and rising debt, otherwise qualified candidates will choose a different career than medicine. “We’re facing a shortage of physicians in this country,” says Fresne.

“Growing tuition debt remains a concern and a contributing factor.”

Average tuition and fees for first-year students

Source: Annual Student Tuition and Fees Report, Association of American Medical Colleges.