The Stanford University School of Medicine has announced a $55 million challenge gift from alumnus ('60) John Arrillaga to eliminate medical school debt for incoming students with demonstrated need.
To be matched by other philanthropic and institutional resources, the gift will generate $90 million in scholarship funding over the next decade to cover both tuition and living expenses for qualified students, doubling the amount of assistance the university can offer incoming classes. Stanford Medicine began offering enhanced financial aid packages to members of the fall 2019 class and, with the gift from Arillaga, expects to be able to provide financial assistance to all lower- and middle-income students in the incoming class. The school also hopes that eliminating the debt burden for students with need will allow them to consider less lucrative specialties in medicine as well as careers in research and testing.
A Bay Area real-estate developer and philanthropist who received financial aid as a student-athlete, Arrillaga is a longtime supporter of the university. His previous gifts include $151 million in 2013 — the largest gift from a living donor in Stanford history — and $100 million in 2006.
"Our hope is to address the rising cost of medical school by eliminating the financial pressure for those students who feel it most," said Lloyd Minor, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean at Stanford Medicine. “Also, because we live in an area with such a high overall cost of living, we appreciate that tuition-free does not necessarily mean debt-free. Merely addressing tuition costs is not sufficient, as students must often take out large loans to cover their room, board, and other living expenses. With this extraordinary gift, we are able to secure a program that is inclusive of an individual student’s total need."
"I hope this gift will attract a diverse group of the best and brightest students from every socioeconomic background to the university and bring a Stanford Medical School education within reach for any student who may not have been able to consider it otherwise," said Arrillaga. "I believe that focusing aid on students with established need is what is best from an equity and opportunity standpoint."