USU, WSU partnership a go

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The Utah state senate voted March 9 to approve creating a $1.7 million veterinary school partnership between the Utah State University Department of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences and the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine (see JAVMA, Dec. 15, 2010). The legislation, known as H.B. 57, will be sent to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

USU students
Students at Utah State University tend to their horse during a riding class.

The bill was held for weeks in the state legislature because lawmakers wanted to make sure they could find money in the budget before voting on it. The program will use $1.7 million of ongoing annual funding from the state of Utah for the first and second years. Later it will use $3 million of annual ongoing funding, part of which will be used to offset tuition when Utah students are enrolled at Washington State during the third and fourth years of the program.

Part of the reason for the program's feasibility is that most of the heavy lifting has already been done. USU completed a research laboratory building in 2009, and a new College of Agriculture building will be completed in January 2012.

Now that the 2+2 program is approved for funding next year, Utah State could potentially have its first class enter by fall 2012 and move on to Washington State in 2014.

The plan is to accept 20 Utah residents per class plus up to 10 nonresidents into the Utah State arm of the program, depending on WSU's caseloads and ability to continue to provide quality clinical rotations in the students' fourth year.

Right now, WSU accepts three to five Utah students each year.