The University of California, Los Angeles has announced a gift of $100 million from entertainment mogul David Geffen to establish a scholarship fund that will cover the entire cost of education for the best medical students attending the David Geffen School of Medicine.
The David Geffen Medical Scholarship Fund will ensure that students at the school — which was named in Geffen's honor after he gave it an unrestricted gift of $200 million in 2002 — will graduate debt-free, enabling them to pursue lifesaving research and patient care without the economic burdens that restrict the life choices of many young physicians and scientists. The annual cost of tuition, fees, and health insurance for a UCLA medical student in 2012-13 is approximately $38,000 — and rises to $67,000 when costs such as room and board, books, and supplies are included. With costs continuing to increase, the projected four-year cost for medical students who matriculate in 2013-14 is more than $300,000.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 86 percent of medical school graduates had educational debt in 2012, with the average debt amount approximately $170,000. Studies show that debt has a significant impact on medical school graduates' choice of field and where they choose to develop their careers.
The fund will provide financial support covering 100 percent of tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses for up to thirty-three students, starting with the class that matriculates in 2013-14. Included in each group will be those students pursuing an eight-year M.D./Ph.D. educational track as part of UCLA's renowned Medical Scientist Training Program. All David Geffen Medical Scholarships will be awarded based on merit.
"The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue," said Geffen. "We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same."