This Section:

Inside OME


AACOM Releases New Reports on Student Debt, Attrition Rates, Applicant Trends, and More

April 30, 2019
AACOM has recently published a series of research reports pertaining to attrition rates, and longitudinal applicant trends by race/ethnicity and gender. A summary of key findings is outlined below. To view the report data in full, visit AACOM's reports page

Entering Student Survey Summary Report

Each year, AACOM asks the nation's COMs to conduct the Entering Student Survey, which queries first-year students on a variety of topics. This data is compiled into comprehensive snapshot of osteopathic medical education debt, graduate medical education plans, and future specialty and practice plans. A total of 7,027 students from 34 COMs participated in the 2018-2019 Entering Student Survey. The preliminary count of first-year new matriculants for 2018 is 8,124; the response rate for the Entering Student Survey is approximately 86 percent.

According to the collected data, from 2017 to 2018, mean expected medical education debt has increased by 5.1 percent, from $175,392 to $184,283. Eighty-four percent of entering students expect to have medical education debt on graduation. Entering students attending private osteopathic medical schools expected medical education debt is $189,536, 20.3 percent more compared to students attending public schools expected medical education debt, $154,592. In addition, the overall median expected debt for the class entering in 2018 is $190,000—up $14,000 or 8 percent over 2017. Median expected debt for entering students at private COMs is $200,000 compared to public COMs at $160,000—a difference of $40,000 or 22.2 percent.

A full copy of the entering student survey report is also available online.

Attrition Summary Report

AACOM's attrition summary report provides data on the percentage of first- through fourth-year osteopathic medical students who take a leave of absence or withdraw from their medical school as reported in the Annual Osteopathic Medical School Questionnaire. The new attrition report presents data from the 2009-2010 through 2018-2019 academic years. 

Overall, the attrition rate for all colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) ranged from a low of 2.63 percent (2009-10) to a high of 3.59 percent (2012-13), with an average of 3.03 percent attrition rate from 2009-10 through 2018-19. First- and third-year students had a higher rate of attrition than their second- and fourth-year counterparts, which is expected, given the struggles first-year students experience when dealing with the rigor of medical school and the COMLEX being administered to third-year students.

Full details on attrition rates by COM, who are deidentified, can be found in the full report online.

Applicant Trend Reports

AACOM's applicant longitudinal reports by race/ethnicity and gender, both the aggregate and COM versions, were recently updated using the data found in the 2018 applicant report published in November. Overall, the results show a small decrease in the percent underrepresented minorities (URM) applicants, down to 16.4 percent from 16.8 percent. By COM, the lowest percent URM applicants was 10.1 percent and the highest was 21.9 percent. The average percent URM applicants across all the COMs was 14.7 percent. 

A full listing of applicant data can be found in AACOM's Latest Reports page.


Vol. 3, No. 7
May 2, 2019