institutions tend to focus on providing access to higher education for lower-income and minority students. Because of this they tend to be institutions that focus on teaching rather than research and tend to charge lower tuition. One consequence is that they do not have the kind of research infrastructure that a more research-intensive institution could provide. This creates a certain tension because the research experience is critical to the success of the T34 U*STAR program and developing an interest among students in scientific research. NIGMS recognizes this problem and has, since the inception of the T34 U*STAR program, required recipient institutions to develop opportunities for extramural research projects for their trainees. This is mandatory for the summer research experience and may also be developed as necessary for research projects during the academic year. Whether recipient institutions are providing a high-quality research experience under these arrangements should be investigated further by NIGMS.
Student Career Goals. A perennial issue, more pertinent to T34 U*STAR than to T34 COR, is whether a student who goes on to earn an M.D. degree should be considered a success for the program. One T34 U*STAR administrator indicated that they screen out students who plan to go to medical school. Another has each trainee sign an agreement to drop out of the program if he or she decided to go to medical school. However, although no T34 U*STAR respondents had yet earned a M.D., more than one-fifth said they planned to. This percentage is similar to the nearly one-quarter of MARC Honors graduates who reported later earning the M.D. degree.