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Medical School Enrollment Reaches Record High

Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine led the nation in medical school registration with a 47.2 percent increase in numbers released. The college's freshman class grew to 150 in August, up from 106 in 2006.

The incoming class' enrollment numbers at MSU and other colleges were included in a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges of 126 U. S. medical schools. Registration at U. S. medical schools is the largest in U. S. history, but the report said that more than half who apply are rejected.

The increase at MSU addresses projected shortages of physicians statewide and nationally, as more doctors face retirement or leave the field, stressed by reimbursement, malpractice suits, bureaucracy and further issues.

MSU will open a satellite campus in Grand Rapids by 2008 to guide 100 students there; the other half of the students will take classes on the school's East Lansing campus.

"The pool applying is stronger and more diverse than ever before," said Dr. Marsha Rappley, dean of the MSU School. Women comprise 53 percent of the MSU program; Michigan residents, 26 percent; and disadvantaged and minority students, 26 percent.

In the next three years, 48 percent of physicians ages 50 to 65 plan to retire, look for non-clinical jobs, work part time, close their practice or decrease the number of patients they see, according to a survey released by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, an Irving, Texas-based physician search firm.

Nationally, 17,800 students began medical school this year, a 2.3 percent increase over 2006. In the meantime, 42,315 people applied a 58 percent rejection rate.

Abdulrahman El-Sayed, 22, a first-year University of Michigan medical student, said he chose the University of Michigan because of the diversity of its programs. The school gave him a complete scholarship.

Annual tuition alone at medical schools is $22,000 at public institutions for in-state tuition and as high as $38,000 at private schools, according to the AAMC. Students typically leave medical school with $130,000 in debt.

The University of Michigan had 5,787 applicants for 170 positions. About 14 percent were granted an interview.

At Wayne State University, 300 first-year students were accepted of the 3,972 who applied.

Oakland University and Beaumont Hospitals expect to start a medical school by 2010 on the university's Rochester campus.



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