Student debt is at an all time high, with the average college student graduating with over $40 thousand in debt. This debt crisis is having a profound impact on the lifestyles of young Americans and and experts predict that the average retirement age will be pushed back to 75 as a result of growing debt. With tuition costs only rising higher, it may seem like the next generation of high schoolers is doomed to live the rest of their lives paralyzed by debt.
However, there is still room for hope. On August 16, New York University announced their plan to combat this growing crisis: Free tuition. The school is offering full scholarships to all current and future students of their doctor of medicine program, making it the only top ranked medical school to offer free tuition. While students will still have to pay for their room and board (a hefty $29,000 a year), free tuition will substantially decrease their debt burden.
The move will cost the school approximately $600 million, which it hopes to raise through donations. For NYU, the cost is worth it. It hopes that by eliminating tuition, more students will choose to enter the medical field, as the field is notorious for its high student debt rate. This is important, as the medical field is facing a growing shortage in medical professionals, especially in lower-paying branches like primary care.
Rafael Riviera, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid for NYU, said, “…debt can scare people away. One of those individuals could be the one to find a cure for cancer. For us, it’s important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less”.