The new medical school at the University of Central Florida in Orlando isn't yet fully accredited, but it has attracted some impressive students with its unique financial offer for the school's charter class. All 40 students have received full scholarships totaling $7 million, and the chief academic officer with the Association of American Medical Colleges commented, "It's the first time that an entire class will go through medical school completely debt free. I've never seen anything quite like this. It's a pretty gutsy thing to do."
The scholarship money was donated by members of the community, including individuals, hospitals, banks, and law firms. While the availability of full scholarships for the entire class will certainly get the word out about UCF's medical program, the dean of the medical school hopes a debt-free future will inspire students pursue their passion and said, "We believe that when they're not in debt, they do their very best work, and they're not handcuffed to any particular specialty."
Medical students often pursue careers as specialists, partially for the more lucrative salaries that come with those jobs. Without the burden of debt, the administration at UCF is hoping more students will choose to fill some of the state's shortage of primary care doctors.
The school received more than 4,400 applications and had only 40 spots to fill — would you apply to an unaccredited school under these unique circumstances?