HOUSTON - Thanks to a very generous anonymous donor, a new class of medical students will have their tuition covered at the University of Houston.
On Wednesday, the university announced the $3 million gift will cover the entire cost of tuition for the inaugural class of the UH College of Medicine. The class will consist of 30 medical students that will begin school in the fall of 2020.
“Student debt is the number one deterrent for students when applying to medical school,” said Renu Khator, President of the University of Houston. “This generous gift will allow such students an opportunity to attend and ultimately lead the future medical workforce. As a result, the UH College of Medicine will increase access to primary care, enhance quality of life and strengthen Houston as a business destination.”
The college will be the university's 15th academic college and will train primary care physicians with a focus on underserved communities in Houston and across the state.
Administrators believe the free tuition will be an incentive and draw even more competitive candidates to the first application pool.
“It’s going to be a different school with a different curriculum," said Dr. Stephen Spann, dean of the future UH Medical School. "Secondly, it’s new. And that offers students an opportunity to help shape the learning environment. And third, for this first class, they get to go tuition-free for four years.”
Spann says preference will be given to students who are from Texas and have an interest in practicing medicine in Texas after they graduate.
“We really want to train people who will practice in underserved areas of our state, both inner-city and rural, because we have great needs in both," Spann said.
Construction on the new school has not started and must first be approved by the state legislature. It will also need to be accredited.
The school will begin accepting applications to the medical school next year.