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Trends in Cost and Debt at U.S. Medical Schools Using a New Measure of Medical School Cost of Attendance

June 2012 Analysis in Brief

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Medical student indebtedness has grown over time and is driven, in part, by interest rates and the cost of attending medical school. Traditional measures of medical school attendance cost include tuition and fees for first-year students (which do not include living expenses) and the cost of attendance for first year students (which does not reflect that the final two academic years of medical school often have higher living expenses). In this context, we have three objectives in this Analysis in Brief:1. to introduce a new way of calculating medical school attendance cost that encompasses the full four years, thus more accurately reflecting the actual costs faced by graduates during their entire time in medical school compared to the typical data showing only single year costs, 2. to show historical trends for cost of attendance and debt data, and 3. to draw attention to the recent slowdown in the growth of debt levels for graduating students at U.S. medical schools.

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