SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Medical school students earn more than a degree for their hard work.
They also incur a mountain of debt. But as Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, dozens of students attending a local medical school could have their tuition fully paid — with a catch.
Understanding cardiovascular concerns was the topic of a class on Tuesday at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. But learning about causes and appropriate treatments aren’t all that’s on students’ minds.
“Obviously, it’s a hefty amount of debt that we’re taking on,” said GCSOM first-year medical student Mia Woloszyn of Moscow.
That roughly $200,000 tuition debt could be a thing of the past for dozens of these students thanks to the GCSOM’s new Primary Care Scholars Program. Ms. Woloszyn said, “It would alleviate a lot of students’ worries especially in the future if they don’t have that debt kind of piling on top of them.” Fellow first-year medical student Scott Delenick added, “Paying bills and managing things can be tough so if I have that debt eliminated off my plate it would be huge for myself, my family.”
Tuition relief would be available for up to 40 students per class. Some of the criteria for the Primary Care Scholars Program includes a demonstrated financial need, academic merit, and diversity. In return for free tuition and fees and a $2,000 per month stipend during their schooling, students would be required to work one year in Geisinger’s Health System for every year of tuition relief.
“Well, this is a win for several reasons.” One reason according to GCSOM President/Dean Steven Scheinman, MD is it helps build curriculum around Geisinger’s signature innovations in primary care. “65 Forward, Geisinger At Home, Primary Care Redesign, the Fresh Food Pharmacy all of these are built around the concept of promoting health more than merely managing disease,” said Dr. Scheinman.
Another reason? It helps fill a void of primary care physicians who are paid less than specialists. Mr. Delenick, who’s from Pottsville, has applied and is hopeful. “I do want to work back in the area so I think it’s a win-win,” he said.
The Primary Care Scholars Program is funded through Geisinger’s operating budget. Student recipients have the option of practicing family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics for Geisinger.
The new program takes effect in January.