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DESPITE WELL more than $100 million of federally insured loans distributed in recent years to US students studying at foreign medical schools, very few data are available to assess the quality of education that money is buying.
Some of the best existing data can be found in a report prepared for Congress by the US General Accounting Office (GAO). The report, Student Loans: Millions Loaned Inappropriately to U.S. Nationals at Foreign Medical Schools (GAO, HEHS-94-28, January 1994), received remarkably little public notice when it was released, despite its many disturbing findings.
In 1980 and 1985, the GAO had reported finding serious problems in the way the Department of Education was evaluating offshore medical schools to make sure that federally insured student loans do not support schools that fail to meet standards comparable with those that schools in the United States and Canada must meet.
According to the latest GAO report,
Skolnick AA. Government Report Gives Department of Education and Some Offshore Medical Schools Failing Grades. JAMA. 1995;273(15):1162-1163. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520390014004