I recently got the following letter in the mail from my former medical school:
This request irritated me on so many levels. Let me present the following exchange:
Friend: "Hey, I really need $160. Could you help me out?"
Me: "I can't, but..." (reaches into pocket) "...here's 15 cents! That should help ease your burden."
Friend: (throws 15 cents in my face)
Basically, getting a letter from the school complaining about how much they themselves are charging the poor medical students and can't we help them out with some token amount of money is not going to get a donation from me.
I have no idea how the tuition at a state medical school got so high. It was only $11,000 a year when I started, and I only graduated about 10 years ago. The out-of-state tuition they quoted seems impossibly high. I think $80,000 a year might be a bit pricey for medical school.
But still, my sympathy is a little bit limited. When I donate money, I'd rather give it to somebody who really needs it, rather than some medical student I've never met who will probably be making more money than me in 10 years.
My old college hosts a call-round fundraising to alumni for its current students every year. In one horrible and memorable year, I was a bitter young-old graduate, between jobs, back living at my parents' house, busy making fruitless job applications in the height of the recession, and feeling like a failure. So when I heard a message for me requesting a ring back, I clung to hope. Was it a job lead? Eagerly I dialled...ReplyDelete
A perky voiced young undergrad enthused down the phone about whether I'd like to make a donation to their travel fund, which had recently enabled him, for instance, to go abroad on some life-affirming life-changing totally awesome study venture in his second year for absolutely free!
"I don't have a job," I said.
"Oh, but any amount you can give will be fantastic! No matter how small!"
Long silence as I felt incredibly poor and failed, AND now cheap.
"I mean your undergrad degree must have taken you to some great places already! Wouldn't it be amazing to give something back!"
"Well, I did a good Masters after..." I mumbled, thinking, -and I'd have been better off keeping the money...-
"Any amount will be-"
I hung up. -You'll get to where I am, kid, very soon-
That's sickening. Reminds me of my dentist.Delete
The annual fund for my school called me while I was STILL ATTENDING THAT UNIVERSITY! ughhDelete
As a current third year med student at an in-state school, the tuition is 48k/year (in-state), and the cost of attendance is about 62k. This puts me at about $250k in debt over the four years.ReplyDelete
Part of that "cost of attendance" is buying books and "equipment," including a stethoscope.
With the wide variety of options for stethoscopes available, I don't think I would want the school to get a bunch of them just to hand out. I would like to choose a color and have it engraved to help reduce the chance of it walking away. Can you imagine how easy it would be to have it walk away if the whole class of students all have the same model and color of equipment?
Besides, med schools will only charge what the federal government will allow in student loans. If the loan ceiling goes up, guess what happens to tuition. One theory is that the government wants a generation of physicians that are wage slaves to the system because of the student loan burden. If you need the job to pay the loan you won't try to buck the system as much.
The available evidence suggests that you are correct, the guaranteed availability of loans, rather than making education affordable for everyone, has made it unaffordable for everyone.Delete
My state school tuition started out at 22k and increased to 26k by 4th year. Private school nearby (no better education or caché, just private) cost ~45k.ReplyDelete
Medical device companies take advantage of pre-clinical medical students. Most students will never need their own otoscope, yet everyone at my school bought one. Some models cost $700! I got a cheap model and never used mine since they were available at every rotation site.
And there is no need for most students to own a stethoscope during the pre-clinical years. Students use these infrequently when not on rotations and they should be able to borrow one from their school for physical exam classes and when they train with a preceptor.
Better to decide which one to buy after they've tried a few different models. I got a Littmann Cardiology III my first year and although I do like it, it's heavy and not a ton better for hearing murmurs than some of the lighter models I've borrowed over the years.
Medical school tuition rates at state schools have increased dramatically because more and more state governments are not funding public higher education with tax dollars like they used to a decade ago. When state schools get shrinking allocations from the state, the shortages are made up with tuition dollars. That said, tuition and fees for an in-state student at a public institution are still less than what they would have to fork out at a private school.ReplyDelete
I got the SAME exact request from my state med school for my 10 year reunion this year. I'm bitter that I never got a freaking stethoscope when I started. Also in my mind I had to pay for a white coat, but I can't believe that's right (I'm just bitter lol).ReplyDelete
We got stethoscopes as a graduation present. I thought it was a pretty stupid present since presumably we had all been using stethoscopes for the 2 years leading up to graduation. Also, I was going in to ortho so I used the stupid thing to do abdominal exams on postop spine patients and that was about it. I would have rather had the money.ReplyDelete
We got free white coats. It was a nice touch of the admin to at least give something symbolic of entering the profession.ReplyDelete
I agree stethoscopes for everyone isn't ideal for reasons listed above, better to take whatever is generated off the outrageous tuition.
I feel like a better use of alumni donations would be to provide tuition assistance for students with financial need rather than buying a stethoscope for everyone.ReplyDelete
I think they should buy current students their own models to study. Some brains, arms, hands, feet, lungs. All the good stuff. The best ones I found by far are here.ReplyDelete
My nursing school pulled the same trick by asking alumni to purchase a pin for a graduate. I always thought pins were earned and not bought and sold like a commodity.ReplyDelete
I pay $54K for my tuition. It's killing me. My school gave me a stethoscope for my first day, but I also know that they have plenty of money and could have paid for it out of my thousands of student fees, and it's a cheap model and I prefer the one I had from before. And I understand your sentiment, med school treats me like trash, they are not getting a dime out of me post-graduation. But I also really doubt I'll ever earn that much more than you, as a person planning on going into primary, with a much larger debt and interest and uncertain future of physician compensation.ReplyDelete
Back then we bought our own white coats but Eli Lilly gave us a stethoscope and a black bag (which I'm sure is no longer allowed in holier than thou ivory tower land). The stethoscope walked away in 3rd year but I still have the black bag.ReplyDelete
The tuition at my state school is 40k/year and we don't even get a stethoscope!ReplyDelete
I love the way that medical school tuition is justified because we are the ones making this choice and we are making an investment that will be worthwhile in the end … and then same general commentators of the world express total shock when we all decide to be dermatologists, gastroenterologists, etc. It's not, frankly, just the fact that some of us do need to pay off huge debts (a factor for me, for sure). There is also an unacknowledged moral/psychic issue. Society is telling us 'screw you, your education is on you.' How would we feel, what choices would we make if society was actually training us to serve it? … Well I can tell you some of the answer to that. … I go to a school that includes students from rural states who receive funding from their home institutions. Some rural states require us to return or re-pay what has been paid for us (fair enough). Other participating states do not. Guess what? The states that pay on our behalf, that do not even require that we return, have HIGHER rates of returning students who come to practice medicine back in those rural states. … We all discuss the numbers and the logic of how we fund medical education. There is truly enough to think about there. But it's more than that. If we want doctors that serve their community, lets choose them from that community and lets fund them. Because it is absolutely true that any field I will realistically go into (some pay 200k, maybe 250k) that I will make less money than had I stayed in my past profession and not taken on years of debt without income or retirement savings, etc.ReplyDelete