Though the American Association of Medical Colleges will fall short of its goal of seeing the number of first-year seats in M.D. programs grow 30 percent by 2015 over 2002 levels, enrollment projections collected from member medical schools and released Monday suggest continued growth toward that goal . Projections suggest that first-year M.D. program enrollments will total 20,281 in 2015, a 23 percent increase over 2002. The association expects to reach the 30 percent goal in 2018. Growth has been steadiest in existing medical schools -- 102 of the 125 institutions accredited prior to 2002 have expanded their enrollments, though some institutions have slowed expansion because of the recession. In 2009, 12 schools announced plans to reduce their enrollments, mostly for financial reasons .
Osteopathic medical schools also continue to grow. Data provided to the AAMC by the American Association of Osteopathic Colleges of Medicine projects that its members' first-year enrollments will total nearly 6,300 in the fall of 2014, more than double what they were in 2002. First-year seats in M.D. and D.O. programs are estimated to total 26,550 by that fall, close to 7,000 more than in 2002. But, the AAMC cautions, that growth will put greater pressure on graduate residency programs, which have grown by only about 1 percent annually.