More Students Going to Medical School Than Ever Before

Posted on 11/04/2014

Contact: Jamila Vernon

202-828-0959

[email protected]

Association of American Medical Colleges

For Immediate Release


More Students Going to Medical School Than Ever Before
Enrollment Increases Urgency to Lift Federal Cap on Residency Training Positions

Washington, D.C., October 29, 2014—The number of students who enrolled in the nation’s medical schools for the first time in 2014 has reached a new high, totaling 20,343, according to data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). The total number of applicants to medical school also rose by 3.1 percent, to a record 49,480. First-time applicants—an important indicator of interest in medicine—increased by 2.7 percent to 36,697. 

“In spite of the ongoing partisan debate around the nation’s health care system, it is gratifying to see that increasing numbers of students want to become physicians. However, these results show that our nation must act without delay to ensure an adequate number of residency training positions for these aspiring doctors so they will be able to care for our growing and aging population,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. “As we face a worsening shortage of both primary and specialty physicians over the next two decades, Congress must increase federal support for residency training by lifting the 17-year-old cap on residency training positions imposed under the Balanced Budget Act.”

The diversity of the nation’s medical students showed signs of progress again this year. The number of Hispanic or Latino enrollees increased by 1.8 percent to 1,859 in 2014, with the number of applicants increasing by 9.7 percent to 4,386. African American enrollees rose 1.1 percent to 1,412, while the number of applicants increased by 3.2 percent to a total of 3,990. Gains in enrollment among African Americans are attributable to a 3.1 percent increase in male enrollees. In addition, American Indian and Alaska Native enrollees showed notable growth, increasing almost 17 percent, from 173 enrollees the previous year to 202 in 2014. The number of applicants from these groups increased by 5.6 percent (from 425 in 2013 to 449 in 2014).

As in prior years, males enrolling in medical school accounted for approximately 52 percent of students in 2014, while females accounted for nearly 48 percent of enrolled students. Among first-time applicants, the number of women rose by 3.3 percent to 17,625 compared to a 2.1 percent increase in first-time male applicants (19,066) this year.

“Medical schools understand that an effective physician workforce is a diverse workforce,” said Kirch. “In addition to schools using new, innovative admissions practices that look at attributes and experiences in addition to grades and test scores, they also are working to strengthen the K-12 pipeline. The gains we are seeing show that we are making progress, but there still needs to be more work done to diversify the talent pool.”

The gains in the numbers of overall applicants and enrollees are being driven by the expansion of the nation’s medical school capacity, which the AAMC called for in 2006 to address the projected physician shortage. Since 2002, enrollment at the nation’s medical schools has increased by 23.4 percent, and 17 new medical schools have been established.

Charts containing this year’s data are attached and available online.

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The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association representing all 141 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and nearly 90 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 148,000 faculty members, 83,000 medical students, and 110,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at www.aamc.org/newsroom.