As Business Insider recently noted, going to medical school in Texas can be a real bargain. The state caps in-state tuitions at about 6,650 per year at Texas medical schools. The cap does not cover all expenses, such as books, housing, fees, and travel. However, an aspiring doctor can save a lot of money on student loans by going to medical school in Texas rather than to an institution elsewhere. Many graduates can avoid the six-figure student loan debts that newly-minted doctors have to contend with on average.
The tuition cap was designed to address a broad shortage of doctors in Texas across a wide variety of specialties, as well as general practitioners. Even so, Texas still ranks 47th in the United States on a doctor-to-patient ratio. Texas is recruiting a great many foreign-born doctors and has gone on a medical school building binge.
However, medical school is just the beginning of a doctor's education. A medical school graduate has to spend years of supervised training in a residency at a hospital. Residency spots in Texas have proven to be sparse, causing Texas medical school graduates to often seek positions out of state. The lower student loan debt that the tuition cap results in ironically gives new doctors the opportunity to explore residencies elsewhere.
According to attorney Jake Posey, managing shareholder of The Posey Law Firm, PC, during the last session, the Texas legislature allocated $97 million to support medical residency programs and to expand the number of positions available. The money has allowed the state to finance eight new residency programs. How the increased spending on these programs will retain more doctors to practice in Texas remains to be seen.
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