What's at stake?
Posted on January 30, 2013
Once again, the AVMA Council on Education was recognized by the Department of Education as the accreditor for U.S. veterinary schools and colleges, despite a handful of detractors arguing for the USDE to revoke this designation. Had the COE lost this designation, however, the following would have occurred:
- Veterinary students would have lost access to loans and scholarships from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Professions. The loss of these programs, which include health professions loans and scholarships for disadvantaged students, would have disproportionately impacted veterinary students with the greatest financial need. For the 2012-2013 academic year, 11.6 percent of U.S. veterinary students were awarded funds from these programs to help pay tuition and living expenses, for a total of more than $5.9 million in assistance.
- The lifetime total amount in federal student loans that veterinary students would be allowed to acquire, currently $224,000, would have been decreased. The aggregate loan limit for students outside the health professions is currently $138,500, and currently enrolled veterinary students would presumably have been held to this lower figure. This is important because in 2012, 1,153, or 43 percent, of students graduated with debt greater than $140,000. The lowered federal debt ceiling would mean students would have to supplement with private financing, which is typically not as competitively priced as federal student loans.
- Veterinary students would no longer be able to participate in the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program or the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment program, because graduation from an accredited veterinary institution is required.
- Veterinary schools and colleges would no longer be eligible for the Health Careers Opportunity Program grants, which support programs such as Michigan State University’s Vetward Bound program, or for the Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program.