Scholarships make a big difference for medical students who struggle to make ends meet, says Lance McCoy, third-year medical student at the University of Houston’s Fertitta Family College of Medicine.
“Without the investment and generosity of others, receiving a medical education is something that would have been nearly impossible for me,” said Mr. McCoy, one of 52 medical students to receive an award from the Harris County Medical Society (HCMS) Alliance. The group recently gave $42,000 in scholarships to students attending Baylor College of Medicine, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and the University of Houston Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine.
The average cost for first-year medical school tuition, fees, and health insurance while attending a public institution can range from $39,905 to $63,718, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. These costs are comparable through later years of schooling as well.
Scholarships are part of an annual ritual for the alliance chapter, designed to help medical students offset the huge costs of medical school, says James Davis, who is a member of both HCMS Alliance and the Texas Medical Association’s Educational Scholarship, Loan, and Awards Committee.
Mr. Davis and his wife, retired physical rehabilitation specialist Martha Pugh, MD, along with other alliance members, organize in-person presentations to congratulate recipients and encourage students.
“Medical education is so expensive, any benefit they can get is helpful,” he said.
The HCMS Alliance scholarships are open to all third- and fourth-year medical students in good standing at a medical school in Harris County. The awards go to students in the second half of their medical school careers because they are the most likely to graduate and become physicians.
Scholarship funds are forwarded to the financial aid offices at each of the three schools, who then identify students with the most unmet need, Mr. Davis says. This year, Baylor and McGovern Medical School designated $1,000 to 27 students combined. Fertitta Family College of Medicine designated $600 awards to 25 students.
The HCMS Alliance scholarship program is part of the TMA Special Funds Foundation, which supports loan and scholarship programs throughout Texas. Since 1998, HCMS Alliance has awarded over $400,000 to 356 medical students.
Prospective donors to the HCMS Alliance scholarship fund can contact Mr. Davis or Gail Schatte, TMA’s associate vice president for trust fund administration.