NEW YORK (AP) -- New York University is offering free tuition for all of its medical students.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday the move is a first among major U.S. medical schools.
Rising tuition and six-figure loans have been pushing new doctors into higher-paying fields and contributing to a shortage of researchers and primary care physicians.
The associate dean for admissions and financial aid, Dr. Rafael Rivera, says there's a "moral imperative" to reduce debt.
"Our full-tuition scholarships make it possible for aspiring physicians to choose a specialty based on their talent and inclinations to better serve the communities who need it most, and to more easily pursue scientific breakthroughs that improve how we care for patients," NYU School of Medicine said on its website.
Tuition had been set at about $55,000 for the coming year.
Most medical students will still need to pay about $29,000 for annual room and board and other living expenses.
The university will provide full-tuition scholarships for 93 first-year students — another nine are already covered through an M.D./PhD program — as well as 350 students already partly through the M.D.-only degree program, the Wall Street Journal said.
NYU estimates it will need about $600 million to fund the tuition package in perpetuity. It has raised more than $450 million.