The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
As the congressional debate over student loan interest rates heats up, prospective medical students should pay close attention to a less publicized aspect of the legislation: Starting July 1, graduate students will lose access to federally subsidized Stafford loans.
The change means new medical students will be responsible for paying for interest that accrues on Stafford loans as they work toward their degrees. The interest could add up to a significant chunk of change considering the already hefty debt burden of most medical school graduates.
[Learn how to go to medical school for free.]
Among the 112 medical schools reporting average indebtedness data to U.S. News in an annual survey, 2010 graduates averaged $145,020 in debt. The average debt burden jumps to nearly $204,000 at the schools where students shoulder the heaviest debt burden.
Medical students graduating from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine average $229,132 in debt at graduation—more than any other medical school in the country, among those providing data to U.S. News. The average debt load exceeds $200,000 for M.D.'s graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia or George Washington University in Washington, D.C., among other schools.
[Grad students: Read about options to manage student loan debt.]
Future physicians and surgeons aiming to limit their medical school debt should research scholarship, grant, and fellowship opportunities at their prospective schools. They should also consider the price tag of public versus private schools.
Of the 10 schools where students average the most debt, 9 are private schools. Overall, graduates of private medical schools average nearly $155,000 in debt, compared to just more than $138,000 that average graduates accrue at public medical schools.
Below is a list of the 10 medical schools that averaged the most debt for the 2010 graduating class. U.S. News defines debt in its survey as loans taken out by students from the colleges themselves, from financial institutions, and from federal, state, and local governments.
[Find out how to kick off your student loan repayment.]
Several schools are categorized by U.S. News as Rank Not Published (RNP) in either the medical school research or primary care rankings. (RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.) Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
|Medical school (state)||Annual tuition & fees||Annual indebtedness||U.S. News research rank||U.S. News primary care rank|
|West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine||In-state: $20,150; Out-of-state: $50,150||$229,132||RNP||RNP|
|University of New England (ME)||$47,300||$213,088||RNP||68|
|Drexel University College of Medicine (PA)||$48,300||$205,863||86||RNP|
|George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (DC)||$50,036||$205,000||55||83|
|Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (CA)||$47,555||$203,430||RNP||RNP|
|Tufts University School of Medicine (MA)||$54,578||$202,845||44||38|
|Temple University School of Medicine (PA)||$54,218||$201,564||47||86|
|Georgetown University School of Medicine (DC)||$49,206||$194,750||48||68|
|Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine (FL)||$45,440||$191,631||RNP||RNP|
|Creighton University School of Medicine (NE)||$49,512||$191,419||80||77|
*While the Temple University School of Medicine is a private program, the school offers both an in-state and out-of-state tuition. Temple's in-state tuition is lower than the out-of-state tuition provided in this article.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find tuition data, complete rankings, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 140 medical schools for our 2011 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.