Weill Cornell Medicine has announced gifts totaling $160 million to establish a scholarship program that will eliminate medical school debt for all students who demonstrate need.
Funding for the program includes a lead gift from the Starr Foundation — directed by Weill Cornell Medicine overseer Maurice R. Greenberg — as well as gifts from Giving Pledgers Joan and Sanford I. Weill, the Weill Family Foundation, Christine Seix and overseer Robert S. Dow, and many other donors and alumni.
Beginning this year, scholarships will be awarded to all qualified incoming students to cover the cost of tuition, housing, and other living expenses — an estimated $90,000 annually — and replace their student loans. Returning aid-eligible students who matriculated prior to this year will receive scholarships to replace their loans for this year as well as their remaining years as students.
Historically, more than half of Weill Cornell Medicine medical students have received need-based scholarships to help defray the cost of a Weill Cornell education. In tandem with a separate MD-PhD degree program where students receive full tuition and a stipend for expenses, the programs will enable two-thirds of the institution's medical students to graduate without debt.
"It is a great privilege to make such an important and impactful contribution to the futures of our medical students," said Greenberg, chair of the Starr Foundation and the architect of the new scholarship program. "Scholarships are crucial to the success of our trainees, freeing them from the weight of excess debt that has traditionally accompanied medical education. We couldn’t be more pleased to support our students as they work to improve the lives of patients worldwide."
"Weill Cornell Medicine has been a leader in medical education since its inception in 1898, dedicated to training outstanding physicians and scientists from all walks of life," said Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine and provost for medical affairs at Cornell University. "It is with extraordinary pride that we are able to increase our support of medical education for our students, ensuring that we can welcome the voices and talents of those who are passionate about improving human health. We are profoundly grateful to the Starr Foundation and Maurice and Corinne Greenberg, Joan and Sandy Weill, the Weill Family Foundation, and many other Weill Cornell Medicine donors for making this possible and helping us change the future of medical education."