AVMA to co-host Economics of Education Summit

Update—February 2016: Travel grant scholarships are available to help students and recent graduates attend the summit.

The stage is set for the Economics of Education Summit that will bring together an expected 200 participants from around the country to tackle the issue of student debt and the many factors that affect the overall economic picture of young veterinary professionals. The summit, which is being organized by the AVMA, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, will be held April 20-22 at Michigan State.EducationCosts

An Economics of Education Workshop was held earlier this month to get the ball rolling and the ideas flowing. The working group suggested that it’s critically important for veterinary stakeholders to collaborate on and commit to a goal that lowers the debt-to-income ratio for veterinarians. Participants, which included deans, associate deans, students, recent graduates, veterinary employers and representatives from federal government agencies, also suggested four strategic areas of focus that could help set priorities for tackling the issues: tuition reduction, value of the veterinary school graduate, debt reduction and practice economics.

The four suggested strategies are now being fine-tuned by smaller groups made up of workshop participants, and these strategies, along with a proposed goal, will be submitted to the summit attendees for their consideration and the development of action items. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

2 thoughts on “AVMA to co-host Economics of Education Summit

  1. 1. Tuition reduction: combined with smaller class sizes; a very tall order.
    2. Value of the veterinary school graduate: more training, fewer new graduates = higher value.
    3. Debt reduction: scholarships, grants, debt forgiveness, financial planning.
    4. Practice economics: think outside the box and/or continued shift to corporate practices.

    There are tough, tough choices ahead. Most of it begins and ends with colleges of veterinary medicine. We can’t keep increasing class sizes with increasing numbers of new veterinarians, and expect the profession to magically produce higher salaries. Primarycare is already becoming a case of the haves and the have-nots. 10% of my clients will spend whatever it takes to treat their animals; 50% are on a budget; the remaining 40% can’t afford to follow sound advice when it comes to routine wellness care. How do we, as a profession, continue to improve the quality of our care, pay our doctors and staff fair salaries, and keep the price affordable for most of our clients? The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different result. We must think outside the box.

  2. Unless we want to address the structural problems of academia (which would be difficult politically) an improved economy is the answer since an economy with healthy growth would raise veterinary profits and veterinary salaries. This of course could be done with reform of the convoluted tax system and reform of the costly regulations in industry, labor markets and finance.
    Unfortunately many will recommend the easy approach….asking the taxpayer to bail out the students, which will only make the problem worse in the long run.