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Med Schools Increase First-Year Enrollment

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In 2006, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) called for a 30 percent increase in U.S. medical school enrollment by 2015 in order to offset an anticipated physician shortage.

Findings from the AAMC’s 2011 Medical School Enrollment Survey show that the nation’s medical schools are on track to increase enrollment by 30 percent by 2016.

The report found that 45,266 students applied to allopathic (MD) medical schools in 2012, a 3.1 percent increase from the previous year. Enrollment increased by 1.5 percent from 2011, up to 19,157.

First-year enrollment in medical school is projected to reach 21,376 in 2016-17, a 29.6 percent increase from 2002-03. And also addressing a physician shortage, enrollment in osteopathic (DO) schools, which was not considered in the AAMC goal, is expected to double by 2016, up to 6,179.

Of real concern, however, is the need for new medical residency positions, as the number of slots has been capped since 1997.

Along with higher overall enrollment numbers, allopathic medical schools also saw an increase in the number of minority applicants and enrollees. First-year enrollment of black students and Hispanic students rose to 1,416 and 1,731, respectively.

The survey predicted that 58 percent of overall enrollment growth by 2016 will come from medical schools that were already accredited in 2002, 25 percent will come from schools accredited since 2002, and 17 percent will happen in schools that have not yet been accredited.

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