10 Medical Schools Where Students Leave With the Most Debt

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

For some aspiring doctors, the cost of medical school may be intimidating, especially if they are wary of taking out student loans. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to finance a medical education without going into debt.

Six-figure debt burdens are common among medical school graduates. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 70% of medical degree recipients in 2019 had used student loans to pay for medical school. The median amount of medical education debt for those graduates was $200,000.

[Read: How to Attend Medical School for Free.]

Among the 117 ranked medical schools that provided U.S. News with medical education debt data, which excludes undergraduate and other types of debt, the average among 2019 graduates who borrowed for school was $179,186.

But graduates of some schools had debt burdens well above the norm. At each of the 10 medical schools where students left with the most medical education debt, the average indebtedness exceeded $230,000.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Sciences in California tops the list, reporting an average indebtedness of $295,999 among its 2019 grads who borrowed student loans.

[Read: What Medical Schools Are Doing to Reduce Student Debt.]

Seven of these 10 schools are located in the Eastern U.S. Two are based in the Midwest, and one sits on the West Coast. Half of the schools are public, while the other half are private.

None of these schools placed among the top 40 in either the U.S. News ranking of research-focused medical schools or the ranking of primary care programs.

Six of the schools on this list charged out-of-state students a higher tuition price for the 2019-2020 school year compared with in-state students. Tuition costs varied widely, ranging from a low of $21,472 for in-state students at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine to a high of $93,537 for out-of-state students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Med school hopefuls who are concerned about paying for school and taking on student debt should be aware that medicine is a lucrative career path. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median compensation among U.S. physicians and surgeons is “equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.”

Attaining that earning power is time-consuming, though. Medical school typically lasts for four years, and the next step is usually a residency within a particular medical specialty, such as pediatrics. Doctors who have completed a residency sometimes opt to pursue a fellowship to gain additional expertise. Medical training is extremely rigorous, and the job of a doctor is a demanding one, so med school officials say it’s important for premeds to think hard about whether medicine is the right profession for them.

Below is a list of the 10 medical schools where 2019 graduates with medical education debt had the highest average indebtedness. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (name) (state) Tuition (2019-2020) Average indebtedness of 2019 graduates who incurred medical school debt U.S. News research rank U.S. News primary care rank
Western University of Health Sciences (CA) $59,600 $295,999 94-122 94-122
Nova Southeastern University (Patel) (FL) In-state: $54,580; out-of-state: $61,167 $286,876 94-122 94-122
New York Medical College $54,580 $258,216 94-122 94-122
University of Illinois In-state: $46,359; out-of-state: $93,537 $244,019 55 (tie) 58 (tie)
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine In-state: $21,472; out-of-state: $52,710 $240,672 94-122 94-122
Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (NJ) In-state: $41,339; out-of-state: $66,324 $240,555 94-122 94-122
Eastern Virginia Medical School In-state: $32,456; out-of-state: $56,382 $239,007 94-122 49 (tie)
Drexel University (PA) $58,106 $236,679 91 (tie) 94-122
Ohio University In-state: $36,342; out-of-state: $51,828 $233,339 94-122 94-122
Georgetown University (DC) $53,598 $232,274 44 (tie) 87

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find debt statistics, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed 188 medical schools for our 2019 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The tuition and debt data above is correct as of July 14, 2020.

More from U.S. News

How to Decide if You Should Go to Medical School and Become a Doctor

10 Most Expensive Private Medical Schools

10 Costs to Expect When Applying to Medical School

10 Medical Schools Where Students Leave With the Most Debt originally appeared on usnews.com

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up