Cornell medical school to offer free attendance for qualifying students
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Cornell's medical school will cover the costs of tuition, housing and living expenses for students who qualify for financial aid starting with this academic year, the school announced Monday

The Manhattan-based Weill Cornell Medicine said it will replace student loans with scholarships for students who demonstrate financial need.

The move comes as the debate over the student loan crisis sparks similar moves by other medical schools. 

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“This bold initiative to eliminate medical education student debt ensures that every student who wishes to become a doctor can do so—for their betterment and for the patients they serve,” said Martha E. Pollack, president of Cornell University. “By investing in our medical students, we impart a lasting, positive effect on the healthcare landscape across the country.”

More than half of Cornell’s medical students have received need-based scholarships, amassing an average of $90,000 a year, according to the school. 

Weill Cornell estimates the average on-year cost for a class of 2020 student to attend the school is $94,206.

The move to the scholarship-based system is based on donations in large part from The Starr Foundation, in partnership with gifts from Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation. 

Last year New York University School of Medicine announced it would cover tuition costs for all its students, regardless of merit or financial need. 

Columbia University’s medical school announced a plan to eliminate the need for student loans with a new endowment program in 2017, according to The New York Times

The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA offers full rides to about 20 percent of its entering class based on merit, the Times notes.