Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Sept. 7 and Representative Michael Burgess, MD, (R-Texas) July 29 reintroduced the Foreign Medical School Accountability Fairness Act of 2022 (S. 4792, H.R. 8602). The AAMC has endorsed the legislation, which is the same bill introduced in previous Congresses [refer to Washington Highlights, April 7, 2017].
The measure would eliminate a grandfathered exemption of certain foreign medical schools from current Department of Education requirements for federal student loans. 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% non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents (i.e., that they are not de facto U.S. institutions), and that their graduates must have at least a 75% 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, Durbin stated, “A small number of medical schools in the Caribbean receive special treatment under U.S. law that has allowed them to take in more than $588 million annually from the U.S. Department of Education in recent years without meeting the same requirements as other medical schools outside of the U.S. and Canada. My bill would end that special treatment.”
In support of the measure, the press release noted, “While U.S. medical schools have an on-time completion rate of 82 to 84 percent, the three Caribbean-based medical schools have an average on-time completion rate of 65 percent. Students who graduate from these schools do so with much more debt and much more difficulty securing a residency, which is mandatory for practicing medicine in the United States.”
It is unlikely that Congress will pass the bill this year before the end of the 117th session.