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College at the undergraduate level is notoriously expensive. But those costs climb even higher with advanced degrees. Though graduating from medical school will typically result in earning a high salary, covering those costs can be a major investment.
The median cost of four years of medical school attendance in 2019-2020 was $250,222 at public institutions and $330,180 at private colleges, according to a fall 2020 report issued by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Class of 2020 graduates left medical school with an average education debt load of around $207,000, per AAMC data, and one analysis found that costs have risen on average 3%-4% annually over the last decade.
Of the 48 ranked private medical schools that reported tuition and fees data to U.S. News in an annual survey, those costs averaged upward of $59,000 for the 2020-2021 school year. But zooming in on the 10 most expensive schools reveals a much higher tuition rate: an average of $70,335.
At the top of the list is Midwestern University in Illinois, which reported tuition and fees of $74,035 for the 2020-2021 school year, making it the most expensive. Second is a school with a shared name: Midwestern University in Arizona, which reported tuition and fees of $71,833. The lowest priced medical school on this list is Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., which reported tuition and fees of $67,875, which is still more than $8,000 higher than the national average.
The 10 most expensive private medical schools are a geographic mix, with four in the North, four in the Midwest and two in the West.
Four of these schools are in the top 25 of the U.S. News Best Medical Schools for Research rankings, with Columbia University in New York the highest, tied at No. 4. Three schools cracked the top 25 of the Best Medical Schools for Primary Care rankings, with Midwestern in Illinois ranked in a tie at No. 17, the highest mark in this category. No school listed here is in the top 25 in both ranking categories.
One silver lining for graduates who paid high tuition and racked up debt is that the medical field tends to pay off handsomely. While those planning to be physicians don’t command high salaries right away due to residency requirements, some doctors go on to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in specialty fields.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median earnings for doctors come out to around $208,000 a year, with pediatricians making $184,570 annually on the low end of the pay scale. By contrast, on the upper end of the salary spectrum, anesthesiologists earned a reported annual median salary of $271,440.
Below is a list of the 10 most expensive private medical schools during the 2020-2021 school year. 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 and Fees (2020-2021)||U.S. News Research Rank||U.S. News Primary Care Rank|
|Midwestern University (IL)||$74,035||93-123||17 (tie)|
|Midwestern University (AZ)||$71,833||93-123||93-123|
|Columbia University (NY)||$71,107||4 (tie)||66|
|Brown University (Alpert) (RI)||$70,425||36 (tie)||19 (tie)|
|Case Western Reserve University (OH)||$70,339||25||74 (tie)|
|Northwestern University (Feinberg) (IL)||$70,254||15 (tie)||39 (tie)|
|Dartmouth College (Geisel) (NH)||$69,768||45 (tie)||24 (tie)|
|University of Southern California (Keck)||$69,237||29 (tie)||46 (tie)|
|Washington University in St. Louis||$68,480||11 (tie)||59 (tie)|
|Georgetown University (DC)||$67,875||55 (tie)||89 (tie)|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find tuition and fees data, 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 191 medical schools for our 2020 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 fees data above is correct as of May 25, 2021.
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