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RUSVM Responds to New York Times Article on Veterinary Education

02/25/13

On February 24th, the New York Times published an article on veterinary medicine and the employment outlook for recent graduates of veterinary schools. Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine was included in the piece, whose author, David Segal, visited our campus and spoke with several faculty, students, and alumni.

RUSVM feels strongly that participating in public debates about veterinary education and workforce issues is a part of our academic and civic mission. We believe it is essential to participate in the process and provide information about RUSVM’s strong academic program, the quality of our students, their outstanding employment prospects, and the school’s long-term vision. While the article asserts that RUSVM’s “educational standards are high and its graduates are impressive,” it raises valid questions about veterinary education, particularly the significant financial burden that many students must assume in order to pursue their dream to become a veterinarian. We would like to offer additional context regarding the issues discussed in the article.

We are confident that we are preparing our graduates for successful careers in veterinary medicine.

  • About 70% of RUSVM graduates who enter practice directly upon graduation go into small animal medicine. We are continually reviewing and enhancing our curriculum to ensure that these students have the training they need to provide relevant care upon entering practice. This includes working with our US clinical affiliates to ensure that these students have adequate exposure to routine small animal practice cases during their clinical year.
  • The current weak economic climate has resulted in an expected decline in the demand for pet care services. In the long term, we expect to see opportunities for business growth in this sector, with greater emphasis being placed on preventative medicine and pet wellness services.
  • Veterinarians have an extensive array of career opportunities beyond the pet care sector. RUSVM graduates have pursued careers in areas such as public health, biomedical research, food animal medicine, global animal health and food security, and the animal pharmaceutical industry. We are continually working to ensure that our students are aware of the potential career paths available to them.
  • We recognize that many of our students have entered RUSVM in order to achieve a lifelong dream to become a veterinarian. Our wish for each graduate is that they build careers that enable them to achieve professional as well as personal satisfaction. A 2012 student self-reported survey of recent RUSVM graduates found that the cohort’s average salary—excluding graduates in internships or seeking advanced education—was around $71,000.

We are committed to educating our students about the responsibilities and risks that accompany their investment in education.

  • The financial burden that a student takes on in pursuit of their dream to become a health professional is of great concern to RUSVM. Therefore we have a strong commitment to providing financial counseling to students prior to their matriculation and throughout their education at RUSVM so that they understand the financial commitment and risks they assume when agreeing to the terms of a student loan.
  • RUSVM has staff dedicated to providing financial counseling in order to promote financial awareness, advise students on repayment and debt forgiveness options, inform students of scholarship opportunities, and encourage responsible borrowing.
  • The two-year and three-year Federal Cohort Default Rates published for RUSVM are both 0.0%.

We recognize that graduating career-ready veterinarians means helping them develop the business acumen they need to have successful and sustainable careers.

  • The RUSVM curriculum provides significant exposure to financial training, starting in the student’s first semester and culminating just prior to the student entering the clinical training phase of the program.
  • In addition to providing instruction focused on debt management and employment contracts, RUSVM provides assistance to help students develop important job placement skills such as interviewing and salary negotiation.
  • Our commitment to this important component of veterinary education is exemplified by the awarding of the top prize of the Simmons Educational Fund (SEF) Business Aptitude Award to two RUSVM students (Brandon Prince, 2013; John Graham, 2011). This annual award recognizes “students who distinguish themselves by demonstrating a keen interest in and aptitude for the pursuit of business excellence in veterinary medicine.”

RUSVM’s mission is to provide students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and service to society. As a quality educational institution, we have a responsibility to ensure that our academic programs and support systems are strong, and that we are providing students with an education that is relevant to the needs of society. We continue to enhance and evolve our institution and our academic program in order to graduate career-ready veterinarians who possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and attributes to develop successful careers.

 

 

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