A growing number of medical schools are offering free or reduced-cost degrees. The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine is waiving tuition for all its future students. The University of Central Florida will pay all tuition and living expenses for the entering class of its new medical school. Harvard is cutting as much as $12,500 from the annual bills of medical students whose families earn less than $120,000. And the Mayo Clinic is granting all newly admitted students at least $25,000 in scholarships toward the school's $29,000 tuition.
The schools are trying to counteract the growing financial pressures that cause many med students to pursue high-paying specialties rather than, say, becoming a pediatrician in a low-income community. Public medical school graduates average about $120,000 in debt. Private school graduates typically owe about $160,000.