Historic $1B Donation to New York Medical School Ensures Free Tuition for All Students

Board of trustees Chair Ruth L. Gottesman donated $1 billion to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine — most likely the largest donation to a medical school ever.
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  • All current fourth-year students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine will have their spring 2024 tuition reimbursed, and all future students will have free tuition.
  • It will be one of several medical schools in the country offering free tuition to students.
  • The donation is tied for the third-largest gift to a college or university with an anonymous gift to McPherson College in Kansas.

Students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein) in New York will never have to pay tuition, thanks to what seems to be the largest gift ever to a medical school.

Einstein announced that Ruth L. Gottesman, chair of its board of trustees, donated $1 billion to make sure students would never pay tuition at the college, according to The New York Times.

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.

Starting in August, all students will receive free tuition, and all current spring 2024 fourth-year students will be reimbursed for this semester's tuition. Tuition at Einstein is $59,458 a year. Gottesman said in an interview with The New York Times that she interviewed dozens of medical students who graduated with over $200,000 in debt.

This year, the college has 737 doctor of medicine (MD) students, 209 doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) students, 124 combined MD/Ph.D. students, and 239 postdoctoral research fellows. The college hopes to attract a diverse pool of students by removing financial restrictions for those who cannot afford medical school.

Gottesman is also the clinical professor emerita of pediatrics (in developmental medicine) at Einstein and earned her master's and doctoral degrees at Columbia University. She joined Einstein in the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center in 1968. She founded the first-of-its-kind Adult Literacy Program within the center in 1992.

She and her late husband, David Gottesman, co-founder of the investment firm First Manhattan Co., were frequent donors for research and education at Einstein. Gottesman said her husband left her the funds and opportunity to give to the school.

Ruth Gottesman's extraordinary and unprecedented gift gives new meaning to selfless determination and transformational philanthropy. She has always been an inspiration to her fellow board members and the entire Montefiore Einstein community. She will have the lasting gratitude of all who choose to train and learn here, Dan Tishman, chair of the board of trustees of Montefiore Einstein, said in a press release.

Montefiore Einstein is the umbrella organization for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System.

Gottesman's donation is tied with an anonymous donation to McPherson College in Kansas as the third-biggest donation in history to a college or university, behind John and Ann Doerr's $1.1 billion donation to Stanford University for the School of Sustainability.

Michael Bloomberg holds the record for the largest college donation at $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University in 2018.

Einstein is now one of several medical schools offering free tuition to students.

New York University Grossman School of Medicine began offering all students free tuition in the 2021-22 academic year as part of the Debt-Free Scholarship. After the tuition-free scholarship, first-year students' attendance costs about $28,153.

The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, founded in California in 2020, offers all students who enroll by fall 2024 free tuition and fee waivers for four years. The waiver is estimated to save students over $58,000 a year.

Medical degree-seeking students interested in active military duty can attend the Uniformed Services University F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine. This medical school pays students while they earn a free medical degree. Students must commit to seven years of active military duty to qualify, not including time earning the degree and residency.