The goal of the new Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas is to benefit veterinary students and rural communities.
The program will allow veterinary students at Kansas State University to receive $20,000 for educational expenses in exchange for each year they spend working in the rural Kansas community after graduation. The state's legislature and governor recently approved a new law and funding to establish the program.
Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of Kansas State's College of Veterinary Medicine, said the program will provide an incentive and opportunity for graduates to practice in rural communities and serve the livestock industry.
Dr. Richardson said many reports reveal shortages of large animal veterinarians, even though many graduates would like to practice in a rural setting. One reason for not pursuing rural practice is an inability to earn enough income to repay educational debt, he said, but the new program might help remove that stumbling block.
The program will accept a maximum of five students each year, starting in their first year of veterinary college. Each student will receive $20,000 annually for up to four years to cover tuition and training expenses. For debt forgiveness, graduates must spend the same number of years practicing veterinary medicine full time in any Kansas county with a population of 35,000 or less.