For first time, school to offer 12 full-tuition scholarships

Charles Prober

Beginning with the 2014 entering class, the School of Medicine will offer 12 full-tuition scholarships to students whose family income falls below three times the federal poverty level.

"At Stanford Medicine, we are training the future leaders of the biomedical revolution, and that means ensuring that cost does not deter the best and brightest students from coming to Stanford," said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the medical school. "These new full-tuition scholarships demonstrate our strong commitment to excellence and diversity."

With the cost of tuition now running about $50,000 per year, each of these needs-based scholarships will be worth about $200,000 per student over four years. They are the first full-tuition scholarships offered by the school.

In addition, the maximum grant for the standard need-based program will be raised this year to $11,500 per quarter, a 4.5 percent increase, and institutional financial aid resources will be extended to international students.

"We want to make medical education as affordable as possible for as many students as possible," said Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education. "This is a further demonstration of our desire to maximize the socioeconomic diversity of our medical school class."

Financial aid currently includes need-based grants, a matching-grant program for middle-income students, and the ability for students to incorporate work-study (teaching assistantships) to offset loans. The average entering class has 90 students.

"We've never had a time where we've completely covered the cost of tuition," Prober said. "The maximum grant does not cover full tuition."

Stanford medical students graduate with an average debt of about $100,000, Prober said, which is low when compared to the school's peer institutions.

In addition to the financial aid program, he attributes this low graduating debt to the funding that is provided to students through the medical scholars program in support of scholarly work, teaching assistantships that are pursued by most of the students, and student success in obtaining competitive academic scholarships from outside agencies, such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

"We believe we've done quite well historically," Prober said. "Our students graduate with among the lowest debt."

Still, that debt remains substantial, and hits those with the fewest resources the hardest, he said.

"We want to make a Stanford medical education an option for all persons who qualify for admission to our school," Prober said, noting the school has a need-blind admissions policy.

The metric used to determine who is eligible for the new scholarships is based on the federal poverty guidelines set each year by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Students whose family income falls below three times the poverty level, based on the federal guidelines, and have total financial assets of $250,000 or less are eligible.

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