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House, Senate Bills Address Foreign Medical School Access to Federal Student Loans

May 22, 2015

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PRESS CONTACTS
Matthew Shick, Sr. Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs

Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) joined Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-Texas) May 19 in introducing the Foreign Medical School Accountability Fairness Act (S. 1374 , H.R. 2417). The legislation is the same bill introduced by Senator Durbin in the 113th Congress.

The measure would eliminate a grandfathered exemption of certain foreign medical schools from current Department of Education requirements for federal student loans. As a result, the bill ensures all medical schools outside of the U.S. and Canada enroll at least 60 percent non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents and their graduates must have at least a 75 percent pass rate on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam. Any U.S. student enrolled before the enactment of the legislation would retain access to Direct Loans.

In a press release on the bill’s introduction, Sen. Durbin stated, “As Congress continues work on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, I hope this bipartisan bill will be part of the discussion.”

In support of the measure, the press release notes that median debt at a specific Caribbean institution is $309,000 versus $180,000 for graduates of U.S. medical schools, and in 2015 U.S. graduates of foreign medical schools had a residency match rate of 53 percent compared to 94 percent of graduates of U.S. medical schools.

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