Utah Regents to vote on new veterinary medical program

The Utah State Board of Regents is set to vote Friday afternoon on a proposal to allow Utah State University to offer education in veterinary medicine. If passed, students could enroll in the new veterinary medical program in 2012. As proposed by university leaders, USU would accept 30 veterinary students — 20 state residents and 10 non-residents — for a two-year program. Those students would complete their final two years of veterinary medical education, including clinically oriented studies, at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. WSU has a veterinary teaching hospital on campus, unlike USU, so students would have to split their time between the two universities. USU already has a large pre-veterinary program. Supporters of establishing a DVM program in Utah believe it could lead to increased numbers of practitioners in a state that reports areas underserved by large animal veterinarians. The USU Board of Trustees approved plans for USU to offer veterinary medical program in October. It has been green-lighted by a Board of Regents committee as well as William A. Sederburg, Utah’s commissioner of higher education. So far, leaders within the USU system appear optimistic that the program will move ahead. “I expect it to pass,” said Dr. Kenneth White, dean of USU’s Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences. If the 18-member Board of Regents approves the plan, the proposal will go to the Utah Legislature for funding. USU is asking for $2.1 million from the state in the first year and $1.7 million in subsequent years, according to Sederburg’s report to the Regents. The Legislature also would have to commit to cover the $1.3 million out-of-state tuition costs that WSU would charge, White said. That money would not apply to the non-Utah residents in the program, he added.

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