The Academic Performance of Scholarship Students during Medical School
Velho,Paulo Eduardo Neves Ferreira
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AbstractABSTRACT The inclusion, adherence and success of low-income undergraduates are important goals in Brazilian higher education, as well as in other parts of the world, especially in busy and full-time courses such as medicine. This paper analyzes the performance of undergraduate medical students by comparing two groups: those who applied for and received a scholarship during the academic years (scholarship holders) and the others (without scholarship). We analyzed data from 417 medical students who graduated between 2010 and 2013, corresponding to four years of a retrospective cohort at a free public university in Brazil. Statistical analysis was performed using Fisher’s exact test, Student’s t test, Mann-Whitney test, and linear regression to compare the scores of these groups in the sixth and twelfth semesters (middle and final semesters) and in the admission exam for medical residency programs, consisting of: total score, multiple choice test for knowledge assessment, simulated structured clinical assessment, interview and written questions. The independent variable was to receive a scholarship, while the control variables were age, socioeconomic strata, extra gratuities for high school in public institution and self-declaration of race, score in the vestibular entry exam (general and in each area assessed) and parents’ level of education. A total of 243 students (58.2%) received a scholarship, most of them as a scientific initiation grant (217 or 89.3%), while 10.7% received social assistance, the average income per capita was about 16% lower among students who received a scholarship (p = 0.01) compared to those who did not. Scholarship recipients achieved better academic performance in the sixth (p<0.01) and in the twelfth (p<0.01) semester, but not in admission to medical residency programs. Good performance was independent of age, race, receipt of bonuses for admission to medical school, and educational background of their parents. Therefore, we conclude that receiving a scholarship at the undergraduate level was associated tobetter student performance during the undergraduate medical course. It is important to emphasize the importance of reinforcing similar programs, especially to help support students who are most vulnerable socioeconomically.