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Over the past two years, approximately $104 million worth of state appropriation cuts have affected the nation’s 28 schools and colleges of veterinary medicine.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), revealed that tuition increases and financial belt tightening have helped these veterinary learning institutions stay on course but only partially.
AAVMC and AVMA are now examining economic issues that are affecting veterinary medical education and the institution as a whole. The AAVMC is making strides to publicize and increase loan forgiveness or loan restructuring payment options. Colleges of veterinary medicine officials report that their deans only have limited shared decision-making power over increases in tuition rates.
In his recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama stated that schools cannot continue to “jack up tuition every single year” and that “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers every year will go down.” It is reported that President Obama is targeting Perkins loans, work study jobs, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.
A recent AAVMC survey revealed that of the 28 deans, more than 70 percent reported that state cuts are reducing their particular schools’ ability to hire and maintain faculty. In its 2011 Roadmap for Veterinary Medical Education in the 21st Century: Responsive, Collaborative, Flexible report, compiled by North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC), many colleges of veterinary medicine have laid staff off, reduced the number of faculty, and/or eliminated programs entirely.
“What is most worrisome is that CVMs report that they have been unable to fill a significant number of faculty positions. Some hopefully temporary cost-cutting measures that can help are to hire part-time or adjunct faculty or slightly increase the student-to-faculty ratio, but we don’t want to do that to such a degree that we dilute the quality of the veterinary medical education experience, and we particularly need to manage the size of clinical medical rotations in order to provide a hands-on, individualized educational experience,” said Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, AAVMC president and dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
For more information about the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, visit www.aavmc.org.

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