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Stephen Watson's story about medical school tuition brings up many important facts about tuition increases in the SUNY schools.

We should all be concerned about the affordability of public education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. If the cost of medical education becomes comparable to that of private medical schools, we will lose qualified and competitive candidates to other schools and to other states. Moreover, we have the potential to lose excellent physicians to these other communities as well.

Prior to this past tuition increase, financially independent medical students were already receiving the maximum amount of government loans. There have been no increases in the amount of subsidized or unsubsidized government loans available to parallel these tuition increases. These increases are hindering less privileged students from becoming physicians. To increase this cost for the fourth year in a row, we are doing our state a great disservice and are not honoring the goals of the SUNY system.

With an average debt of $109,000, many medical students will likely be much more vulnerable to financial influences when choosing a career. Increased tuition strains the flexibility to pursue less lucrative careers in primary care. Since primary care is the gateway to care for underserved communities, these tuition increases may have more deleterious effects than anticipated.

Emily McCourt

Second Year Medical Student, UB

President, UB Medical Student AMA