Bay Area real estate developer pledges $55M to alleviate medical students' debt at Stanford | News | Almanac Online |


Bay Area real estate developer pledges $55M to alleviate medical students' debt at Stanford

School of Medicine plans to match contribution for a total $90M in scholarships

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.

Stanford University alumnus and Bay Area real estate developer John Arrillaga has pledged $55 million towards the Stanford School of Medicine to help cover tuition costs for qualified students, the university announced Wednesday.

"I hope this gift will attract a diverse group of the best and brightest students from every socioeconomic background to the university and bring a Stanford Medical School education within reach for any student who may not have been able to consider it otherwise," Arrillaga said in a news release. "I believe that focusing aid on students with established need is what is best from an equity and opportunity standpoint."

With the School of Medicine planning to match Arrillaga's contribution through other donations and "increased institutional support," $90 million in scholarships is expected to go towards medical students' debt over the next decade.

To determine qualified students, the university will consider the total cost of attendance, which includes tuition and living costs, and subtract from it the student's "available family contribution."

According to the university, last year's graduating class of medical students came out of school with a median debt of just over $89,000 — significantly lower than the 2019 national median debt of $200,000 reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges. That same year, more than two-thirds of Stanford medical students qualified for financial support.

With Arrillaga's donation, the university is expected to double the available assistance provided to qualified incoming students. The gift will also help the medical school provide financial aid through a more holistic approach to determining need, according to university leaders.

"Our hope is to address the rising cost of medical school by eliminating the financial pressure for those students who feel it most," said Dr. Lloyd Minor, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann dean of the School of Medicine. "Also, because we live in an area with such a high overall cost of living, we appreciate that tuition-free does not necessarily mean debt-free."

By removing the burden of debt, Stanford also hopes that it will encourage medical students to seek "less lucrative specialties" as well as careers in academic research or teaching.

This is not the first donation to Stanford from the billionaire landowner. Arrillaga, who received financial aid as a Stanford student, made one of the largest donations to the university in 2013 with $151 million.

His surname has been attached to several buildings on campus, including one of the university's dining halls, the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons.

He has also made large contributions to the city of Menlo Park for major building projects, and a number of buildings in the city's civic center bear his name.

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?


There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay up to date on local coronavirus coverage with our daily news digest email.

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide
By Laura Stec | 11 comments | 29,513 views

These local restaurants are donating meals to Bay Area residents in need. Here's how to help.
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 10,803 views

Coronavirus: Plan ahead now for a big outbreak
By Diana Diamond | 18 comments | 3,887 views

Will the Coronavirus Save Lives?
By Sherry Listgarten | 28 comments | 3,715 views

The first few seconds after awakening; before I remember the virus
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 780 views



The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

View Details