This past August, the New York University School of Medicine made the surprise announcement that the school would begin offering free tuition to all of its students effective immediately. Not surprisingly, application volumes surged by 47%, to 8,932. What may be surprising, however, is that applications from under represented minorities increased by 102% with the largest increase coming from applicants who identified as black, African American or Afro-Caribbean. Applications from that subset increased by a whopping 142%.
Many applicants we personally spoke with seemed either a bit skeptical (NYU might have significant “non-tuition fees” for instance) or seemed perhaps a bit intimidated by the announcement and how insanely competitive it might make the process. The August announcement may have convinced some applicants it was a bit late to apply and appear sincerely interested as well. We expect the application volume to increase a bit more next year and, given the surprise announcement of the significant jump in minority applications, we wouldn’t be surprised to see any other medical schools with the financial resources follow the tuition-free track too.