These Universities Offer Free Medical School

Here are seven medical schools where students can earn a tuition-free medical degree.
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Updated on February 28, 2024
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  • A medical school degree often costs students upwards of $150,000.
  • In 2022, the median medical student’s debt was $200,000.
  • Some college programs make earning an MD more affordable through scholarships.
  • These seven medical schools currently offer students the opportunity to earn a medical degree for free.

Free medical school? It may seem like a pipe dream, but at some institutions and for a select number of students, that dream is a reality.

Jobs requiring a medical school degree (MD) can lead to high salaries, but medical school can cost a pretty penny.

Medical school can cost roughly $155,000-$250,000 once you account for tuition, fees, and other expenses. In 2022, the median medical school debt was $200,000.

Costs vary depending on several factors, including whether you pursue your degree at a public or private university, pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, and get financial assistance through scholarships and other support.

Thankfully, there are some medical schools where students can earn an MD for free, or at least at a massively reduced price.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

All students will pay no tuition to attend the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York starting in August 2024, and all current fourth-year students will have tuition reimbursed for the spring 2024 semester — no strings attached.

Students can study tuition-free thanks to a $1 billion donation from Ruth L. Gottesman, chair of its board of trustees — seemingly the largest gift ever to a medical school.

The new policy saves students $59,458 in tuition a year. The college hopes to attract a diverse pool of students by removing financial barriers for people who cannot afford medical school.

“Each year, well over 100 students enter Albert Einstein College of Medicine in their quest for degrees in medicine and science,” Gottesman said in a press release.

“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 to communities here in the Bronx and all over the world.”

New York University Grossman School of Medicine

All students admitted into the MD program at the New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine automatically qualify for a scholarship covering the total cost of tuition.

For those already accepted to the school, no separate qualification process is necessary to obtain free tuition, according to NYU.

The university has other scholarships to ease the burden of other academic-related expenses. Starting in the 2021-22 academic year, NYU began offering the Debt-Free Scholarship. This scholarship helps cover the remaining cost of attendance for the medical program and does not require an application. The university instead uses data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The total cost of attendance is estimated at $28,153 for a first-year student after the tuition-free scholarship, according to NYU. That includes all fees and living expenses like housing and food.

The university also covers the cost of health insurance for all medical students.

Uniformed Services University F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine

Students at the Uniformed Services University’s (USU's) F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine not only attain a medical degree for free but are paid during their studies.

Those pursuing an MD degree from USU enter the institution as commissioned officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. As such, they receive a graduate student stipend while enrolled. They also get other benefits, including free medical care, a housing allowance, and paid time off.

Students receive over $70,000 annually through base pay and other allowances, according to USU. That is in addition to not paying tuition while enrolled.

In return, the program requires a seven-year commitment to active military duty. Time spent in graduate medical education, such as in a residency, does not count toward the required commitment.

Medical school grads on active duty for more than seven years but fewer than 10 are placed on reserve duty for a period determined by time already spent in active service.

Prospective USU students must meet physical and academic requirements to enroll, such as the ability to do a minimum number of sit-ups and push-ups.

Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine

In 2020, the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine opened its doors with the promise of free medical school for its first five student classes.

The medical school, affiliated with the Kaiser Permanente health system based in California, stated at the time that all classes enrolling students between 2020-2024 can earn a medical degree in four years without paying any tuition or fees.

This tuition and fee waiver is estimated to save students just over $58,000 per year.

“We know that medical school is expensive, and that debt can impact students’ future career choices as well as the type or location of their clinical practice,” the institution states. “Our hope is to minimize those concerns for our students.”

The waiver will apply for up to four years. That means students who enroll by fall 2024 will be able to enjoy the benefit through 2028.

Kaiser Permanente will also grant a waiver for healthcare plan costs from the health system for all its medical school students.

Duke University School of Medicine

This prestigious private medical school in North Carolina offers a merit-based scholarship covering the full cost of attendance.

All students admitted to the Duke University School of Medicine are automatically in contention for the Rauch Family Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship, established in 2013 by the Rauch Family Foundation, covers all costs, including tuition, fees, transportation, and allowances for living and other expenses.

According to the Duke University School of Medicine, one student each year receives this scholarship.

The Rauch Family Leadership Scholarship applies for four years. The student must remain in good academic standing to retain the scholarship.

The school's Executive Committee for Admissions determines who receives the scholarship.

The medical school also offers the following internal scholarships to ease the financial burden of pursuing an MD:

  • The Dean's Tuition Scholarship
  • Fullerton Medical Scholarships
  • Medical Scientist Training Program

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University has a unique tuition-free medical school option.

The institution offers a full tuition scholarship for all students within the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM). CCLCM is Case Western Reserve University’s medical school program for students looking to specialize as physician investigators who conduct research that advances medical practices.

Students graduate from the program with an MD degree and a Special Qualification in Biomedical Research.

CCLCM covers tuition and “select fees” for these students.

“Our goal is to assure that financial constraints do not preclude appropriate candidates from following their dream of becoming a physician investigator,” the program states.

Students must pay a continuation fee equal to 5% of tuition in their research thesis year. According to CCLCM, this cost is also covered by the full tuition scholarship.

The tuition-covering scholarship does not apply to Case Western Reserve University’s other medical school programs.

Stanford University School of Medicine

Stanford University School of Medicine students can qualify for up to three years of tuition-free schooling.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards up to 100 students each year with full funding to pursue a graduate degree at Stanford University. That includes both master’s and doctoral degrees at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The scholarship covers tuition and fees and provides a stipend for students to use on expenses like room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. According to the university, it also provides a travel stipend for one economy-class round-trip ticket to and from Stanford University.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars is not a merit-based scholarship. Instead, it awards scholarships based on the following values:

  • Independence of thought
  • Purposeful leadership
  • Civic mindset

Only students who earned their first bachelor’s degree in 2017 or later are eligible for the scholarship.