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Leaders in medical and physician assistant (PA) education are faced with reduced sources of funding, tuition increases, and enrollment expansion, while students compete for the same pool of federal aid. The amount of research on the cost of education for both PA students and education programs is minimal.
This retrospective analysis of Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) data, 2008-2011, examined the relationship between PA program costs and student tuition and fees. Statistical analyses included descriptive and parametric testing.
Analyses suggest that PA programs rely on student tuition and fees as a significant source of program revenue. Statistical significance was found for mean annual comparisons, 2008-2011.
Based on trends in medical education, the burgeoning debt crisis among medical graduates, and rapid changes in the health care environment, it would benefit the PA community to complete additional research on student debt load, cost of education, and allocation of program revenue.