The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


Director of Development
UI College of Medicine/UIHC
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973

Release: Dec. 19, 2000

UI College of Medicine event celebrates financial aid for medical students

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Medicine, which trains half of the state's physicians, is prescribing a healthy dose of scholarships to attract medical students to the UI and keep them in school. Amid growing national concern that the country's best medical students will find burgeoning education costs too big a pill to swallow, officials attending the college's second annual Student Scholarship Awards Luncheon renewed the college's commitment to expand endowed student support. The awards luncheon, held recently at the UI's Levitt Center for University Advancement, successfully brought together scores of students and contributors to celebrate a shared interest in helping others.

Co-sponsored by the College of Medicine and the University of Iowa Foundation, the event was attended by 65 UI medical students who have received privately funded scholarships for the 2000-2001 academic year and several contributors from around Iowa and the Midwest for whom the scholarships are named.

Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, reported that fund-raising efforts and gifts to more than 50 student aid funds have produced earnings of nearly $600,000 in annual awards for the current year, up from roughly $230,000 just a few years ago.

"We've made tremendous progress, due in large part to leadership gifts from contributors whose commitment to the college is admirable and greatly appreciated," he said.

Kelch noted that while the financial burden on Iowa students is significantly less than indebtedness at peer institutions nationwide, in 2000 the average educational debt incurred by a UI graduating medical student is $76,000, up from $48,000 in 1995. Nine out of 10 medical students face significant debt after graduation. "The best way to correct this trend is through efforts like increased scholarship support," he said.

Alleviating the pressure of debt on Iowa medical students is a priority, Kelch said. Among its campaign goals within the UI's planned comprehensive campaign, the College of Medicine will target efforts to raise $20 million toward endowed scholarships for medical students. Dennis L. Boatman, UI clinical associate professor of urology and lead volunteer for the scholarship initiative, said this plan will have payoffs for students as well as society.

"When indebtedness influences our brightest students to pursue careers away from medicine, it becomes a major problem for all of us," Boatman said. "When we're recovering from illness or injury, we want the 'best-of-the-best' taking care of us."

Ivy Andersen, a third-year medical student from Algona, Iowa, whose husband, J.J., is also enrolled in the College of Medicine, paid tribute to scholarship contributors by noting their gifts provide UI students benefits beyond monetary assistance.

"My scholarship has greatly boosted my confidence and confirmed my choice to pursue a career in medicine," she said. "It's wonderful knowing someone is watching out for me, trusting that I have what it takes to become successful in the medical profession. Some day my husband and I hope to return the favor to future medical students."

The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends to generate funds for scholarships, professorships, facilities improvements, equipment purchases, research and other UI initiatives.