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Scholarships for Future Physicians

Effort is aimed at increasing support for today’s students, tomorrow’s healthcare leaders

February 2024 – The University of Virginia School of Medicine has announced an initiative to raise $25 million for additional student scholarships as part of the University’s Honor the Future campaign. This vital fundraising initiative reflects a campaign priority: “to attract and support exceptionally talented and diverse students, regardless of economic circumstances.” The ambitious new effort also aligns with UVA Health’s 2022-2032 strategic plan, One Future Together: Health and Hope for All, which acknowledges the importance of UVA’s world-class medical education and training programs in preparing next-generation health professionals to meet our community’s greatest needs.

In 2023, UVA ranked among the top 15% of medical schools for providing scholarship support and its medical students graduate with some of the lowest debt in the country—a primary differentiator among peer institutions. Still, the cost of medical education continues to rise along with student debt, putting pressure on schools to increase need- and merit-based support. This scholarship initiative aims to ensure UVA’s continued ability to offer competitive financial aid packages to aspiring students. 

“Increasing student scholarships is one of our most important goals,” says Melina Kibbe, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine and chief health affairs officer of UVA Health. “Scholarships are vital for recruiting the most promising future physicians regardless of their finances, including those from backgrounds underrepresented in medical school and our medical profession, and empowering them to reach their fullest potential.”

A Growing Challenge for Medical Students

The exponential increase in medical school tuition, which far outpaces inflation, means today’s prospective physicians face a daunting financial commitment. Approximately 80% of UVA medical students rely on a combination of scholarships and loans to cover the cost of their training. For the class of 2023, the average medical education debt per UVA graduate was $156,691. That figure was far below the national average of $250,000 of debt per medical school graduate that year. Still, it represents a heavy financial burden that negatively affects the personal and professional lives of UVA’s medical alumni and may limit their career choices.

“The cost of medical education in the United States is a large factor for many aspiring physicians when determining which schools to apply to and ultimately which school to attend,” says fourth-year medical student and scholarship recipient Jeffrey Bellinger. “The scholarship I received from UVA made my dream medical school also the most affordable medical school, making it an easy decision.”

Continuing a Legacy of Excellence in Medical Education

Additional scholarship funds will ensure that the UVA School of Medicine and its world-renowned faculty and staff can continue to attract and support the exceptional students of today who will become vital physicians, scientists, and healthcare innovators serving our communities tomorrow.

“The value of a UVA School of Medicine education is evident in the success of our extraordinary alumni, who provide skilled, compassionate care to their patients and advance medical treatments and discoveries for the benefit of people worldwide,” says Kibbe.

She adds, “It’s also evident in their culture of giving back to the school and the next generation of healthcare leaders. By contributing to student scholarships, UVA Medical School alumni enable and inspire current and future students to similarly pay it forward.”

Those who are interested in supporting the UVA School of Medicine’s scholarship initiative can contribute to existing scholarship endowments or create new scholarship funds through one-time donations, multi-year pledges, and/or estate planning. To learn more, contact Chris Neal, director of development, UVA School of Medicine, at or 434-466-1832.