As news of the University of Phoenix and Kaplan expanding their reach into undergraduate education appeared, it seemed that medical degrees remained safely in the hands of non-profit universities. Until now.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the first for-profit medical school is applying for accreditation to issue MDs. Palm Beach Medical College would open with a class of 100. Tuition would be $50,700 a year.
The organizers have secured an agreement from the University of California to borrow its medical school curriculum and include an emphasis on faculty mentors and technology. Students would gain clinical experience through a partnership with a local hospital, the largest free medical clinic in Palm Beach County.
Opponents of for-profit medical education charge that schools will have the incentive to cut corners in order to pay back their investors. Defenders tend to sidestep the financial issue and mention the need to train more physicians. Palm Beach Medical College hopes to settle the debate when it opens in 2012.