Generosity is a priceless gift but for 30-plus UCLA students, a $100-million grant equals a free ride.
UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine is getting a hefty bag of money from the philanthropist and entertainment executive himself through a scholarship fund that will cover the recipients' medical school costs, including tuition, room and board, books and other expenses.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
The gift, which will be announced Thursday, makes Geffen the largest individual donor to UCLA and to any single UC campus. In 2002, Geffen donated $200 million in unrestricted funds to the medical school. At the time, the campus was renamed in his honor.
Geffen, 69, declined to comment but said in a statement that students shouldn't be discouraged by the expense of medical school.
"The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue," he said. "We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same."
More than 85% of medical school students nationwide graduate with some debt. Among those, the average is $170,000, according to the Assn. of American Medical Colleges. That debt often influences graduates' career choices and has contributed to a shortage of primary care doctors, who often earn less than specialists. That shortage will be exacerbated by the aging of the population and the federal expansion of health coverage to the uninsured.
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