Schaumburg, IL— The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today announced a partnership with veterinary school leaders to address the future of the profession and the continued emphasis on high standards for veterinary medical education. Nearly 70 leaders, representing AVMA, 35 veterinary medical colleges, and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) met at an economic summit in Orlando, Florida earlier this week to explore solutions to the challenges facing the veterinary medical profession and veterinary medical colleges. Workforce concerns, educational debt, demand for clinical veterinary services and public support of veterinary medical education were discussed and will be among the issues to be addressed in an upcoming series of meetings beginning in March.
"There are a number of economic issues, pressures and stresses impacting the profession, including cuts in state funding to veterinary schools and a decrease in the public's utilization and perceived value of our services," explains Dr. René Carlson, AVMA president. "The challenges before us are complex, yet there are great potential opportunities for increased animal health and welfare if we pursue them. Over the past two years there have been $104 million in state cuts to veterinary medical education and those cuts directly impact the tuition that students pay. As a result, tuitions, on average, have doubled over the past ten years ($9,134 in 2001 for in-state students to $18,326 in 2011). In addition, the true overall cost of attending a veterinary medical program is about $41,000 per year, leaving students with an average debt of more than $140,000.
"I think we need to fight to sustain and garner public support, but we will also have to start looking at alternative funding sources and educational models if we want to maintain quality," says Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, AAVMC president and dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "We also need to work with other stakeholders of academic veterinary medicine to find ways to increase student financial aid."
Progress reports will be released periodically to AVMA and AAVMC membership. For more information about the AVMA, visit www.avma.org.
The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a non-profit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Its members include all 33 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, three veterinary medical education institutions, nine international colleges of veterinary medicine, and five affiliate international colleges of veterinary medicine. On the Web: http://www.aavmc.org