Historic $1 Billion Gift Paves the Way for Tuition-Free Medical Education at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

In a historic move, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a New York City-based medical school, is set to offer students free tuition, thanks to an unprecedented $1 billion donation from Dr. Ruth Gottesman, the 93-year-old widow of a major Wall Street investor. This transformative gift is considered one of the largest donations ever made to a U.S. school and stands as the largest ever received by a medical school.

A former professor at the Bronx School, Dr. Gottesman, expressed her dedication to providing students with financial relief and expanding access to medical education. The Bronx, New York City’s poorest borough, will particularly benefit from this initiative, as it is ranked as the unhealthiest of New York’s 62 counties.

The dean of the university, Dr. Yaron Yomer, described the donation as “transformational” and stated that it “radically revolutionizes our ability to continue attracting students who are committed to our mission, not just those who can afford it.” Currently, tuition at the school amounts to nearly $59,000 per year, contributing to significant student debt.

As part of the impactful gift, students in their final year will be reimbursed for their spring 2024 tuition, and starting in August, all students, including current enrollees, will benefit from tuition-free education. Dr. Gottesman, who began her tenure at the school in 1968, focused on studying learning disabilities, running literacy programs, and developing widely used screening and evaluation protocols.

Her late husband, founder of a prominent investment house and an early investor in Berkshire Hathaway, David Gottesman, passed away in September 2022 at the age of 96. Expressing her gratitude, Dr. Gottesman emphasized the significant impact that doctors trained at Einstein have on communities, both locally and globally.

She sees this generous donation as a way to support students and ensure they receive free tuition in perpetuity. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Gottesman shared that her late husband had left her a “whole portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock” with instructions to “do whatever you think is right with it.”

Her decision to fund students at Einstein reflects her commitment to providing a lasting legacy of free education in the medical field. About 50% of Einstein’s first-year students are from New York, with around 60% being women.

The school’s diversity statistics show that approximately 48% of its medical students are white, 29% are Asian, 11% are Hispanic, and 5% are black. Dr. Gottesman’s extraordinary act of generosity ensures that aspiring medical professionals will have greater access to education, ultimately benefiting communities and healthcare globally.