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Healthgrades for ProfessionalsMedical Schools Ranked by Debt per Graduate

Exploring the Impact of Medical School Selection on Debt Burden: A Comparative Analysis of Public, Private, MD, and DO Programs

The financial burden of medical school is a significant concern for aspiring physicians, with the average debt for 2021 graduates exceeding $200,000. US News & World Report has ranked 122 medical schools based on the average debt incurred by graduates, revealing notable differences between institutions. This analysis highlights which schools leave graduates with the highest and lowest debt, offering insights into factors such as degree type (MD vs. DO) and the availability of financial aid.

Key Points:

  • Medical School Debt Overview: The average medical school debt for 2021 graduates surpassed $200,000, with more than half of new doctors (53%) carrying more than this amount.
  • Top Debt-Burdened Schools: The ten schools where graduates incur the highest debt range from $242,186 to $309,206, with many of the top spots occupied by osteopathic (DO) programs.
  • DO vs. MD Debt: DO graduates tend to have higher debt than MD graduates, partly due to less financial aid and scholarship availability in osteopathic programs.
  • Most Indebted Schools:
    • Nova Southeastern University (Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine): $309,206
    • Western University of Health Sciences: $276,840
    • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine: $268,416
  • Least Indebted Schools: The ten schools with the lowest average debt range from $85,433 to $118,833, including prestigious institutions like NYU, Columbia, and Harvard.
  • Factors Reducing Debt: Schools with lower debt burdens often have robust donor bases, which fund substantial financial aid and scholarship programs.
  • Free Tuition Programs: Some top-tier schools offer free tuition for students with financial need, and institutions like NYU have programs waiving tuition for all students.
  • Financial Planning Advice: Prospective medical students should consider applying to a diverse range of schools, including those with significant financial aid programs, to minimize debt.

The cost of a medical school education has risen by about 2.5% each year since 2014. The average total cost of medical school is $235,827. The average yearly cost of medical school is $58,968. Total costs vary by institution type and location, ranging from $161,972 (in-state, public school) to $264,704 (out-of-state, private school). (Education Data Initiative)

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