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U.S. Medical School Enrollment Continues to Climb

Washington, D.C., October 18, 2006 - The number of U. S. medical students rose for the second year in a row, according to new data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). First-time enrollees in the 2006 entering class totaled almost 17,400, a 2.2 percent increase over last year.

The number of applications also increased for the fourth consecutive year. More than 39,000 individuals applied to attend medical school this fall, a 4.6 percent increase over last year's total of 37,373. The grade point averages and MCAT scores of this year's applicant pool were the highest in more than a decade.

"These latest figures clearly indicate that medicine remains a compelling career option for more and more well-qualified students," said AAMC President Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. "With the looming doctor shortage, these results are good news indeed, and we hope this encouraging trend continues."

Medical schools in all regions of the U.S. continued to expand enrollment this year. In 28 of the 125 U.S. medical schools that grant M.D. degrees, the number of students grew by 5 percent or more. Nine schools boosted first-year enrollment by 10 percent or more:

  • Florida State University College of Medicine - 36 percent
    Tallahassee, Florida
  • Brown Medical School - 25 percent
    Providence, Rhode Island
  • Boston University School of Medicine - 15 percent
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Saint Louis University School of Medicine - 15 percent
    St. Louis, Missouri
  • Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine - 13 percent
    Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • Wayne State University School of Medicine - 11 percent
    Detroit, Michigan
  • West Virginia University School of Medicine - 11 percent
    Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Drexel University College of Medicine - 10 percent
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine - 10 percent
    Birmingham, Alabama

The AAMC believes a 30 percent increase in total medical school enrollment can be achieved to prevent a future shortage of physicians by increasing class sizes in existing schools as well as building new medical schools.

Analysis of the 2006 applicant data also shows continued gains in medical student diversity. Applications from Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans rose by more than 8 and 6 percent, respectively. In addition, the number of accepted black applicants increased by almost 9 percent, and the number of black enrollees rose by 8 percent, to more than 1,100.

For the second year in a row, men were a modest majority of medical school applicants, with 19,812 male applicants compared to 19,297 female applicants. More men (8,924) than women (8,446) also enrolled in medical school for the 2006 entering class.


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