Med School Enrollment Hits New High
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 01:07 PM

The number of people applying to medical school increased by 6.2% for 2015, which followed a 3.1% jump the previous year, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) announced Thursday.

A total of 52,550 people applied to medical school in 2014 for enrollment in 2015; of those, 38,460 were first-time applicants, an increase of 4.8% from the previous year, the AAMC said.

Medical school enrollment for 2015 was 20,630, an all-time high and an increase of 25% since 2002, the association reported. Just over half of med school students were men (52%), a ratio that was unchanged from the previous year.

In terms of ethnicity, there were nearly 2,000 Hispanic or Latino enrollees, a 6.9% increase. African-American enrollment was up 11.6%, to 1,576; Asian enrollment rose by 6.9%, to 4,617; while enrollment by American Indian and Alaska Natives dropped 3.5%, to 195. Overall, the starting class for 2015 was 57% white, 22% Asian, 10% Hispanic or Latino, and 8% African-American, according to the AAMC.  The average GPA for applicants was 3.5, and their average Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score was 29 out of a possible 45.

Despite the positive enrollment numbers, there is a black cloud hanging over medical schools today -- the residency issue. Federal funding for residency positions has been essentially frozen since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. That means that while medical schools have responded over last decade ... by increasing their class size and increasing diversity efforts, there's a blockage in terms of residency positions.

The AAMC's chief public policy officer, noted that in this year's National Resident Matching Program there were 27,293 residency slots available. "Even though U.S. MD enrollment was 20,630 this year ... DO enrollment was up 3.5%, to 7,025," he said. "So the number of first-year students in U.S. MD or DO programs is now 27,655, as opposed to first-year residency positions available in the match at 27,293."