Graduation Present: MSM Class of ‘18 Receives $800,000 to Ease Education Debt

Graduation is a time to celebrate, reflect on a job well done, and focus on the next steps of one’s career path. Lurking in the back of the minds of many graduates, however, is a nagging concern – how to pay back the often-hefty debt incurred in earning that coveted diploma.

Morehouse School of Medicine is committed to helping its graduates minimize this financial “hangover.” So, when President and Dean Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D., announced during the school’s 34th Commencement on Saturday, May 19, that MSM would be providing more than $800,000 in additional scholarship funding, it came as a great surprise and relief to the newly minted graduates – not to mention their parents.

“To assist in lowering the student indebtedness, MSM will award additional scholarships totaling $815,473 to graduating students,” announced Dr. Montgomery Rice to the cheering audience. “Each eligible graduating senior not receiving full MSM funding for tuition and fees will receive not less than $3,500 that will be applied to reduce their medical school debt.”

A total of 101 MSM graduates will receive some amount of funding.

The cost of medical school in the United States typically totals about $250,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The scholarship funding announced during commencement will help 2018 MSM graduates pay down their debts and free them to pursue practice where they desire, rather than focusing solely on how much they may earn.

Dayna Bowen Matthew, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, delivered the commencement address to the graduating class. She shared the story of Dr. George Simkins, a dentist in segregated Greensboro, N.C. who took fight for justice and equal rights to the Supreme Court.

Bowen Matthew encouraged the graduating class of doctors and medical professionals to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Simkins and fight for causes such as reducing maternal mortality.

“It is your responsibility to eliminate health inequities that are killing our babies, our mothers, our people in this country today,” Bowen Matthew told the Class of 2018.

MSM’s Class of 2018 includes 77 M.D. and seven Ph.D. recipients. Another 46 graduates received their master's degree in fields including public health, medical science and clinical research. Of those granted the Doctor of Medicine degree, 100 percent were successfully placed in residency programs.