To The Editor:
The Janet Lorin article on Caribbean medical schools (Senator Durbin to Secretary Duncan: Time to Crack Down on For-Profit Medical Schools That Use Offshore Loophole) contains many mischaracterizations about our institutions, but perhaps the most egregious is an outright omission of a critical academic outcome: the 96% first-time pass rate achieved by students at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and Ross University School of Medicine on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam in 2012. This is the same rate posted by US schools.
Another glaring omission concerns student debt. Lorin implies that students at our schools are a high financial risk, but the numbers say otherwise. The three-year cohort default rates for the schools are 1.6% at AUC and 0.8% at Ross, showing that graduates are securing employment and paying down their loans.
Further, the article states that AUC and Ross are “not accredited by the body that approves medical programs in the US,” implying that our schools are not accredited at all. In fact, there is no US accrediting body that reviews and accredits international medical schools. The US Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) reviews the standards used by foreign countries to accredit medical schools and determines whether those standards are comparable to standards used to accredit medical schools in the US. NCFMEA has reviewed the standards set by our schools’ accreditors and deemed them to be comparable to those used to accredit US schools. That’s why AUC and Ross students are eligible for Title IV – because we’ve met high academic standards – not due to a “loophole.”
Ross and AUC graduates are practicing in every state in the US, many of them in areas of critical need like primary care. For example, in Texas, 59% of AUC graduates practice in primary care specialties, the type of physicians most desperately needed in that state. With growing healthcare needs across the US, international schools like AUC and Ross will be critical to the success of our medical system.
President and CEO