UNR Ranks High in Affordable Medical School Survey - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

UNR Ranks High in Affordable Medical School Survey

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We have good news for future doctors who need to save on their education and don't want to go far to start their career.  Penny-pinching future doctors…have we got a deal for you.

Summer is a season of decision for students deciding where to pursue a medical degree. The biggest hurdle is the cost. It's a rewarding, but very costly career…too costly for too many. Dr. Thomas Schwenk, Dean of the UNR School of Medicine told us, says it’s a growing concern. As he put it, "It’s very intimidating for students to look at these numbers and say, 'I'm going to finish medical school with a debt of $140,000?'”

Getting a good buy on a medical degree seems impossible, but you won't have to go far to find an affordable education… it's just down the street. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine just got noticed in one of the best possible ways by USA Today. As Dr. Schwenk told us, "Our student debt at graduation is lower than the national average." Getting a degree here will save you about $30,000 that he says you will need after you graduate: "Setting up a practice is very expensive. You have to hire staff and develop a patient population."

According to research compiled by Student Loan Hero, the average U.S. medical student accrues $164,800 in debt. At the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine it's $135,788, making it the 13th most affordable medical school. UNR ranks number 4 for students receiving institutional aid, 9th for lowest in-state tuition and 10th in lowest average medical school debt.

East Carolina Brody School of Medicine, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have the 3 least expensive medical degrees in the country…but cheaper than us? Not when you factor the lower in-state tuition rate for locals. Dr. Schwenk says, "For a Nevada student, this is an incredible deal."

Other colleges have found other ways. U.C. Davis just started a program that fast-tracks primary care doctors to graduate in 3 years instead of 4. They say by making it more intense, and placing students in residencies instead of time spent interviewing.

Whatever can be done to cut the cost is so needed. People are living longer, and too many physicians are retiring with too few young doctors coming in to take their place. The U.S. is expected to face a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians in the next 8 to 10 years. As Dr. Schwenk told us, "There are rural areas that are underserved, but there also urban areas that are under served, and we need to work to get physicians into those areas."

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