Feb. 20, 2019 -- Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, in Pasadena, CA, will waive tuition for all 4 years for the school's first five classes of students, the school announced Tuesday.
The private, nonprofit medical school, which is not affiliated with any university, has received initial accreditation and will begin accepting applications from prospective students in June 2019 for admission to the school's first class in the summer of 2020.
The inaugural class will have 48 students.
Kaiser Permanente is not the first medical school to offer free tuition.
In July 2018, the University of Houston announced that all 30 medical students in the first class of the university's new College of Medicine will receive free tuition when the school opens in the fall of 2020.
In August, New York University (NYU) School of Medicine announced that it, too, would offer free tuition to all current and future students regardless of need or merit. NYU officials said they hoped to attract a more diverse group of students who will no longer have to fear that medical school is out of reach because of high tuition and resulting debt.
Debt is perhaps one of the biggest barriers to entering medical school. The Medscape Residents Salary and Debt Report for 2018 found that more than a quarter of medical residents report having between $200,000 and $300,000 in medical school debt. The Association of American Medical Colleges found that of all American doctors who graduated in 2017, 75% owed money.