Elimination of Medical Education Debt for All Qualifying Students

Dear Members of the WCM Community,

I am thrilled to announce a transformative new scholarship program that will eliminate medical education debt for all students who qualify for financial aid. The game-changing new financial aid program expands Weill Cornell Medicine’s scholarship offerings to provide debt-free education to all medical students with demonstrated financial need beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year and then every year thereafter.

The program is made possible by a lead gift from The Starr Foundation, directed by Weill Cornell Medicine Overseer Maurice R. Greenberg, in partnership with gifts from Joan and Board of Overseers Chairman Emeritus Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation. Through these landmark gifts and those from other generous donors that together total $160 million, Weill Cornell Medicine will ensure that the best and brightest aspiring doctors have the financial support and freedom to seek careers in medicine.

The expanded financial aid program is built upon decades of philanthropy from numerous Weill Cornell Medicine benefactors whose gifts have established and strengthened the institution’s existing scholarship endowment—an achievement of more than $150 million, and the foundation on which this new scholarship program is built. 

Historically, more than half of Weill Cornell Medicine’s medical students have received need-based scholarships. To help defray the cost of attendance, which averages $90,000 a year, these students have taken out loans to cover the difference. Now, under the new financial aid program, all medical students who qualify for aid will be able to forego that borrowing and have their medical education—including tuition, books, housing, food, and related expenses—covered by scholarships. Students pursuing dual M.D.-Ph.D. degrees, through a separate program, receive full tuition and stipends for living expenses from the National Institutes of Health and Weill Cornell Medicine. Together, these two programs will now enable two-thirds of Weill Cornell Medicine’s medical student body to graduate without debt.

For more information, please see the Newsroom story at: https://news.weill.cornell.edu/news/2019/09/weill-cornell-medicine-eliminates-medical-education-debt-for-all-qualifying-students

Beginning with the current 2019-2020 academic year, all enrolled medical students who have applied for financial aid and demonstrated financial needwill no longer be required to take out loans. Going forward, the Weill Cornell Medicine financial aid program will not offer or require any loans as part of the financial aid package. This process will require current students to complete some paperwork to switch the unit loan to grant funding. The Financial Aid Office has set aside times for students to meet with staff for additional details, so please visit their website at studentservices.weill.cornell.edu/financial-aid to set up an appointment. 

This is truly a momentous day for all of us at Weill Cornell Medicine. This new program ensures that all qualifying students—regardless of their financial situation—will have the ability to pursue their medical education at Weill Cornell Medicine, without financial burden, and to ultimately focus their careers on their interests and talents. Please join me in thanking our visionary benefactors for their historic gifts—as well as the hundreds of donors and alumni who have supported our scholarship endowment and made this program possible.

Sincerely,

Augustine M.K. Choi, M.D.

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean
Weill Cornell Medicine
Provost for Medical Affairs
Cornell University