Midwestern Chicago College of Pharmacy Downers Grove IL-Pharmacist Review

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Jan 1, 2024
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A Midwest graduate here, completing the four-year program a few years back with an initial cost of around $30,000 plus their yearly 3% bump. Midwestern might want you to brush off my viewpoint, labeling me as disgruntled among their thousands of students. Yet, they spent years teaching that pharmacy is a small world, hinting that speaking up about concerns might not be good for your career, eerily similar to an abuser's mentality: "Don't talk if you know what's good for you." So, here I am, spilling the tea. You can learn from others' mistakes or from your own, but one comes at a higher cost than the other.

1-Costs Figure 1, 2 & 3 Fig1.pngfig2.pngfig3.png
Midwestern's costs place it among the 20 schools collectively responsible for 20% of the entire student loan debt in the USA.
What Schools Create the Most Student Loans in the U.S.?

When it comes to student loans, here's a simplified breakdown:
  • Each year, the tuition/money you are loaned starts gathering interest.
  • For the first year's tuition, interest keeps adding up for three years.
  • The second year's tuition accrues interest for two years, and the third year's for just one year.
  • At the end, all the tuition and the interest gets added together, creating a new total called the Principal; a process known as Interest Capitalization.
  • The new principal has its own interest running, and you are expected to pay this back.
Cost as of 2023/2024
3-4% yearly increase per MW
1st year2nd year + 3% increase=
(1st yr amt + 3% increase)
3rd year + 3% increase=
(2nd yr amt + 3% interest)
Interest A=P(1+r)^years Fixed at 7.05% as of 23-24=69,109(1+0.0705)^3=
31,229 Total interest for 3 yrs
Real tuition Cost84,78081,57278,485
Total for 3 years of tuition alone = 244,837; (not 3x69,109)
Monthly payments for 10 year @ 5.5% for example2,657 per month and an extra 74,018 in interest (avg. mortgage payment 2,823)
True total = 244,837+ 74,018 = 318,855
Monthly payments for 25 year @ 5.5% for example1,504 per month and an extra 226,217 in interest
True total = 224,837 + 226,217 = 451,054

When you add up the interest, the real cost of your first year of tuition is $84,710. Midwestern wants you to feel like going into debt is a good idea by thinking about the difference between a 3-year and a 4-year program. Also, if you're thinking, "I'll make $140k a year," wrong, income is after taxes. Check out this calculator to see how much you'll actually take home after taxes in your state.
Free Paycheck Calculator: Hourly & Salary Take Home After Taxes

2-Risk of Accreditation loss.
Midwestern's transition from a four-year to a three-year program wasn't prompted by a shortage of pharmacists but rather by a significant number of students failing the Naplex exam. In the past, class sizes at Midwestern were over 200 students, and the low Naplex pass rate indicated that a single class could have more than 40 students failing the board exam. Being told by the PharmD accreditation board of accreditation loss, the Midwestern was forced to reduce the class size to 100, concurrently raising tuition to offset lost revenue.

3-Naplex Passing Rate. Figure 4fig4.png
Which other school proudly boasts about their students ability to pass their classes and not the Naplex? Midwestern now provides the entire class with RxPrep and makes you take pre-Naplex tests during rotations. If you fail too many, you end up with an extra quarter of school/tuition.

4-Other Changes
  • Midwestern being a 3-year school now, promotes doing residency. They strongly encourage it because it boosts their ranking, which is currently really low. The idea that you can complete both school and residency in 4 years instead of 5, by attending Midwestern, is emotionally compelling.
  • Midwestern is actively pursuing high-caliber students, to the point where individuals who were not accepted into their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Veterinary, and Dental schools are now encouraged to apply to the pharmacy program. Absolutely, free of charge, how considerate. Low key, it's kinda shady to direct students to their underperforming pharmacy programs. Figure 5
  • fig5.png
  • Midwestern's rotations “appear” rigged. They claim you can choose where to go before you attend, but if you reject their pre-selected options, you're told to find your own. Even if you manage to find one, you will be denied. Shout out to the rotation master for mentioning that if the site demands too much of your tuition, your attendance will be denied. It seems Midwestern has deals with sites to pay sites the least from your tuition, and these sites profit when they get a steady flow of students.
  • Rumors swirl that your relationship with the rotation master, being in the top 20% of your class, and holding leadership positions matter a lot. However, I found out that many in the top 20% cheated their way through, unless Midwestern has an explanation for how a student with a near-perfect GPA, gets their first picks for rotations sites and still fail the Naplex happens.
  • Lastly, when Midwestern shifted from a 4-year to a 3-year program, they strategically set their students' graduation date ahead of other pharmacy schools. The intention was for their graduates to sit for, pass the Naplex and secure job offers before students from other schools graduated. Midwestern then uses this artificially created statistic as a selling point, stating, "Our graduates have a job acceptance rate of..." It's a cunning tactic.
If, despite all these considerations, you're willing to put yourself into more debt for a profession that doesn't pay more than the debt you've taken on and has a 3% growth rate according to government labor statistics, and you still choose to attend, bless your heart. Midwestern (both IL/AZ Campuses) is the right place for you.

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