For-profit Caribbean medical schools use federal funds loophole

Tim Goral's picture

For-profit Caribbean medical schools that don’t have access to U.S. federal loans are finding a way around the rules: Encouraging some students to enroll simultaneously in online master’s programs at U.S. universities.

At least nine of about three dozen island medical schools ally with U.S. colleges, making available a financial-aid loophole that lets online students receive loans for living expenses. Some medical students are using funds from their Web-based programs to support themselves in the Caribbean.

The loans help students afford Caribbean schools, which accept thousands of U.S. applicants who fail to win a spot stateside. Since 2000, 24 medical schools opened in the region, according to a 2010 report in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Only four Caribbean schools qualify for federal loans. The partnerships also benefit the U.S. universities by boosting online revenue.

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