Medical schools reworking tuition structure to attract studentsAmerican medical schools have been struggling with raising already high tuition rates, and it may be scaring students away from applying for entry.

The cost of medical school has increased substantially, leaving graduates with massive amounts of debt upon graduation. U.S. News reported that 2010 medical school graduates faced an average of $145,020 in debt. Students who attended private schools faced loans of about $155,000, while those who chose to attend a public university saw a slightly lower number of $138,000.

While students hesitate to apply for admission because they fear crushing student loans upon graduation, medical schools are trying to figure out how to attract students and receive additional funding. Public schools have seen a decrease in state funding, while private schools have also suffered due to fewer donations.

The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine is taking steps to reduce the cost of college. In the school's medicine program, tuition for in-state residents can be as much as $56,591, while nonresidents can expect to pay up to $72,655 per year.

Council President Shade Henien recently proposed a program that he hopes will decrease the cost of obtaining a medical degree at the university. The idea, titled "Invest in a Student's Tuition," would help students pay for school without taking out federal or private bank loans.

The plan details a system in which investors give money to the school, which goes into a fund students use to pay their tuition. Upon graduation, the students would repay the money with a competitive interest rate, and the funds would go back to the investors. The leftover money would stay within the medical program, or be returned into the general fund to assist more students in paying tuition.

Henien told The Daily Iowan that the program specifics still need to be laid out, but the foundation would set a new model for lowering medical school tuition rates.

"If the model works here, it will work everywhere," he said. "At the very least, if this forces banks and it forces the government to decrease their interest rates, we will have succeeded."

Some other officials within the school say the university's plan takes a step in the right direction, as higher education spending continues to increase, and fewer students are willing to take on substantial debt to complete medical school.
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