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The AAMC Fee Assistance Program and Access to U.S. Medical School

July 2014 Analysis in Brief

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The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to improve access to applying to medical school for those with limited financial means, given that the application entails expenses that occur during various steps of the process. Since the mid-2000s, the number of FAP applications and awards has grown in a rapid and sustained fashion. The extent to which FAP is supporting aspirants and applicants of limited financial means is important in light of studies suggesting a decrease in the percent of lower socio-economic status applicants and matriculants over past decades.

This Analysis in Brief (AIB) examines the extent to which the increase in FAP awards is observed among: 1) those who take the MCAT, 2) those who apply to medical school, and 3) those who are ultimately accepted to medical school. Results show sharp increases in the percentages of FAP awardees among those who took the MCAT exam, applied through AMCAS, and were ultimately accepted to medical school (see Figure 1). These findings suggest that those with limited financial means who enter the applicant pool each year have become more likely to apply for and receive fee assistance, thus improving access to applying to medical school among well-qualified applicants of lower income backgrounds.

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