10 Private Medical Schools With the Lowest Price Tags

Delece Smith-Barrow

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Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, admitted his shock at the price tag of medical education in a congressional hearing last year. "My son in medical school recently informed me that he expects to have $400,000 in debt when he graduates from school," he said in front of the House Committee on Financial Services.

That Bernanke, who had an estimated net worth between $850,000 and $1.9 million in 2008, according to the Associated Press, was jolted by the cost of his son's medical education should come as no surprise. These days, even wealthy families can't escape the staggering cost of medical school.

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For the 2012-2013 year, the average total cost for tuition and fees for nonresident, first-year medical students at private schools is $49,897, about $3,600 less than the total for nonresidents of public institutions, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Of the top 10 least expensive private medical schools, Baylor College of Medicine continues to be the cheapest, with out-of-state tuition and fees totaling $30,068 for the 2012-2013 school year. Baylor was one of 47 ranked private schools that reported data to U.S. News in the fall of 2012.

The Medical College of Wisconsin had the highest price tag on the list, $45,179, landing in the No. 10 spot. The School of Medicine at Wake Forest University held this spot last year. Although the total for Wake Forest tuition and fees increased by more than $3,000 since the 2011-2012 school year, it now places ninth on the list.

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The average price for out-of-state tuition plus fees for the 10 least expensive schools is $38,619, almost $10,000 less than the average for all private medical schools. Out of all 47 schools, the School of Medicine at Tufts University was the most expensive, with tuition and fees totaling more than $55,000. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

Below is a list of the 10 least expensive private medical schools based on tuition and required fees.

Medical school (name) (state) Tuition and fees (2012-2013) U.S. News research rank U.S. News primary care rank
Baylor College of Medicine (TX) $30,068 18 24
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA) $30,887 RNP* 62
Mayo Medical School (MN) $35,960 27 19
University of Pikeville (KY) $37,450 RNP RNP
Lincoln Memorial University (DeBusk) (TN) $39,245 RNP RNP
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine--Virginia and Carolinas $39,530 RNP RNP
University of Miami (Miller) $41,415 51 84
Mercer University (GA) $41,757 RNP RNP
Wake Forest University (NC) $44,696 46 19
Medical College of Wisconsin $45,179 51 55

Note: While Baylor College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Medical College of Wisconsin are private programs, these schools offer both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. The programs' in-state tuition rates are lower than the out-of-state rates provided in this article.

(*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of all medical and osteopathic schools. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.)

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find information on tuition, complete rankings and much more.

U.S. News surveyed more than 140 medical schools for our 2012 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The tuition data above are correct as of May 14, 2013.