Medical School Students Increasingly Come from Higher-Income Families

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Findings seen for both applicants and matriculants into M.D. programs in the United States from 2014 to 2019

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESSDAY, May 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Medical school applicants coming from higher-income families have a greater likelihood of acceptance than those from low-income families, according to a research letter published online May 11 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mytien Nguyen, from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues examined trends in childhood household income among 232,275 applicants and 93,258 matriculants to medical school in 2014 to 2019 and the likelihood of acceptance by income. Overall, applicants were 50.9 percent male and 52.3 percent White, with a 3.58 median grade point average. The median number of programs applied to was 13.

The researchers found that the percentage of applicants reporting income in the categories >$75,000 increased annually, with the highest increase seen in the category of ≥$200,000 (annual percent change, 0.41 percent). Over time, the percentage of applicants and matriculants reporting income in the categories <$75,000 declined annually. The likelihood of acceptance into an M.D. program increased in a stepwise fashion by income when combining all years. For applicants with income <$50,000, the adjusted rate of acceptance was 24.31 percent compared with 27.57 percent for $50,000 to $74,999, 29.90 percent for $75,000 to $124,999, 33.27 percent for $125,000 to $199,999, and 36.91 percent for ≥$200,000. Applicants reporting income in the category <$50,000 were 48 percent less likely than those reporting income of ≥$200,000 to be accepted into an M.D. program (adjusted relative risk, 0.52).

“These findings reinforce calls for holistic review and medical education debt reform to remove potential barriers to admission among low-income applicants,” the authors write.

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