The MMA Foundation (MMAF) provides four-year partial scholarships to ten medical students at Mayo Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Medicine - Duluth and Twin Cities campuses. Scholarships are awarded to outstanding medical students from underserved rural and urban communities.Working through the Mayo Foundation and the University’s Minnesota Medical Foundation (MMF), MMAF scholarships total $40,000 annually.
Medical students apply through the regular student aid programs at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and Mayo Medical School.
Transition from Student Loans to Scholarships
In 2006, MMAF awarded its first scholarships. That same year, MMAF ended its longstanding program of educational loans for medical students.
MMAF was founded by leaders who recognized the importance of ensuring that medical students had the financial resources to make it through medical school without having to worry about making the rent or buying groceries. So, throughout MMAF’s early decades, the foundation provided educational loans that could be paid off after the young physician began to practice. That way, the foundation could provide assistance to many medical students and still maintain the pool of funding for future medical students.
By the middle of this decade, a number of factors emerged that led to changes in the way MMAF helps medical students. Medical school tuition had climbed steadily and by 2005 had exceeded $100,000 for four years of tuition alone. MMAF loans of just $2,000 - $3,000 a year were not enough to make a real impact. Besides, MMAF loans had become redundant with the commercial marketplace that was providing much of the financing for medical education.
The increase in tuition over the years came with consequences. One of the most concerning was the increase in educational debt that medical students accumulated. At least one estimate in June of 2008 put the average debt of a graduating medical student at $180,000. The critical shortage of primary care physicians is being exacerbated as this unprecedented debt load becomes an increasingly important consideration in medical students’ choice of specialty.
Because of that and other concerns, the MMAF turned its support for medical students toward scholarships. Scholarships provide a host of benefits. Scholarships reduce student debt, there is no accumulating interest to pay off later and scholarships allow recipients more freedom of choice as they consider a specialty. For the foundation, there is no need to manage the selection process as recipients are selected by the medical schools using MMAF criteria. There are no ongoing loan management costs. Finally, scholarship criteria can be adjusted to address important issues in medicine such as the crises in primary care and in rural medicine and the need for more physicians from diverse cultural communities.
By the fall of 2010, medical school tuition at the University of Minnesota reached $138,000 for four years and average educational debt for graduating physicians reached $180,000! MMAF scholarships are making a difference.
You can make a difference for a medical student at the U of M or Mayo Medical School. Give to MMAF’s scholarship fund today. Click here and designate a gift to Medical Student Financial Assistance.