$1bn donation means students at New York medical school will pay no tuition | New York

A New York City medical school plans to be tuition-free for students after a $1bn donation from a wealthy donor.

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx borough received the sizable donation from Dr Ruth Gottesman, a 93-year-old former professor at the school, the New York Times first reported on Monday.

“I’m happy to share with you that starting in August this year, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine will be tuition free,” Gottesman announced to rapturous applause in a video posted to X on Monday.

While teaching at Einstein, Gottesman developed new diagnostic modalities and treatments for children with learning disabilities. She also ran an adult literacy program.

The donation is among the largest to date for an educational institution in the US, the Times reported.

Gottesman received the money from her late husband, David Gottesman, who went by Sandy, the Times reported.

The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, on Monday. Photograph: Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

Sandy Gottesman made his fortune from investing in Berkshire Hathaway, the multinational conglomerate that was built by the billionaire Warren Buffett.

When Gottesman’s husband died in 2022 at the age of 96, he left her a sizable stock portfolio with instructions to “do whatever you think is right with it”, she said to the Times.

Gottesman told the Times she immediately knew what she wanted to do with the funds.

“I wanted to fund students at Einstein so that they would receive free tuition,” she said.

Half of Einstein’s most recent class of students are New Yorkers, according to the medical school – 59% are women and the majority are people of color. And Einstein’s students graduate with higher amounts of debt than other medical students at New York City schools.

Gottesman told the Times that she hopes her donation will help alleviate the financial burden graduating students face. She said she also hopes that it makes medical school more accessible to those who could not previously afford it.

Dr Philip Ozuah, the president and chief executive of Montefiore Einstein, which oversees Einstein College and the Montefiore Health System, shared news of the donation in a statement.

“I am profoundly grateful to Dr Gottesman for this historic and transformational gift,” Ozuah said. “I believe we can change healthcare history when we recognize that access is the path to excellence.”