You are currently viewing Overjoyed and shocked, students react to news that a New York medical school will be tuition-free

Overjoyed and shocked, students react to news that a New York medical school will be tuition-free

Students screamed, jumped from their seats and some started crying after the news was announced that a record $1 billion donation would establish free tuition for all students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York.

“I’m happy to share with you that, starting in August this year, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine will be tuition-free,” announced benefactor Dr. Ruth Gottesman on Monday.

The transformational gift from Gottesman, a former professor and the chairperson of the school’s board of trustees, was the largest to any medical school in the country and one “that ensures no student has to pay tuition again,” said Montefiore Einstein, the school’s umbrella organization.

School officials said that the gift from Gottesman would also mean all current fourth year students will be reimbursed their spring 2024 semester tuition.

“This donation radically revolutionizes our ability to continue attracting students who are committed to our mission, not just those who can afford it,” said Dr. Yaron Tomer, the Marilyn and Stanley Katz dean at Einstein.

“Additionally, it will free up and lift our students, enabling them to pursue projects and ideas that might otherwise be prohibitive,” the dean added.

Founded in 1955, Albert Einstein College of Medicine said it began with a mission to welcome all students, without restrictions, and the school said that the financial gift from Gottesman furthered that mission “by removing the financial restrictions for those without the economic means to afford medical school.”

The 93-year-old Gottesman gave credit to her late husband, David “Sandy” Gottesman, who co-founded the Wall Street investment firm First Manhattan. He died in 2022 at the age of 96.

“l feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause,” his widow said.

Ruth Gottesman also praised the students who came through the medical school.

“Each year, well over 100 students enter Albert Einstein College of Medicine in their quest for degrees in medicine and science,” she expressed, adding, “They leave as superbly trained scientists and compassionate and knowledgeable physicians, with the expertise to find new ways to prevent diseases and provide the finest health care.”

Tuition at Einstein is $59,458 per year. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average medical school debt in the U.S. is $202,453, which does not include undergraduate debt.

Albert Einstein now joins a handful of other medical programs, including the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Duke University, and Stanford University School of Medicine to offer opportunities for free tuition.

(Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

At Stanford, students awarded the Knight-Hennessy scholarship can receive funding for up to three years for any graduate degree, including those earned at its school of medicine.

The scholarship program awards up to 100 students each year with full funding, covering tuition and fees, as well as providing a stipend for living and academic expenses. It also provides a travel stipend for one round trip ticket to and from Stanford.

In 2020, the school also announced scholarship funding, from Bay Area real-estate developer John Arrillaga, intended to help eliminate debt for qualifying medical students.

At Albert Einstein, officials said the school’s new tuition-free model would change lives and had the potential to change healthcare history.

“This transformational gift is intended to attract a talented and diverse pool of individuals who may not otherwise have the means to pursue a medical education,” the school said, adding, “It will enable generations of healthcare leaders who will advance the boundaries of research and care, free from the burden of crushing loan indebtedness.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story, which was reported from Oakland, Calif.