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Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons this week announced that it would eliminate student loans with scholarships for all students who qualify for financial aid. Roughly half of the students who are currently enrolled at the college receive some form of aid. The college said 50 percent of its students will receive scholarships to cover part of their tuition under the program, which begins in August, with 20 percent receiving full-tuition scholarships.

Citing data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, Columbia said about 73 percent of all medical students at private medical colleges in the U.S. graduate with debt. The median debt load for these graduates is $190,000. Medical students who qualify for financial aid at Columbia currently take out $30,000 or more in loans each year.

Columbia's medical college will be the first in the nation to meet all financial need, according to a news release from the college. The scholarship program will be funded with a $150 million donation the university received last year.