(CBS) — New York University is offering free tuition for all of its medical students.
The move is a first among major U.S. medical schools, reports The Wall Street Journal. The university has raised $450 million out of the $600 million it estimates it will need to cover the scholarships, including $100 million from Home Depot founder Kenneth Langone and his wife, Elaine, according to the publication.
Rising tuition and six-figure loans have been pushing new doctors into higher-paying fields and contributing to a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians.
“This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians,” Robert I. Grossman, dean of the medical school and chief executive officer of N.Y.U. Langone Health, told The New York Times.
Tuition had been set at about $55,000 for the coming year.
Most medical students will still need to pay about $29,000 for annual room and board and other living expenses.
About 93 first-year students will receive full-year scholarships, on top of 350 students who are already in the midst of their medical program, the publication said. Another 9 students are already covered in their M.D./PhD programs.