Veterinary School Tuition: Why the Sticker Price Is Only Part of the Problem

August 22, 2016
VMD Staff

The cost of a veterinary medical education has increased significantly, but the price tag isn't the whole story.

Mike Chaddock, DVM, EML, associate dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, discusses why veterinary students are paying more for their education.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability).

"The cost of veterinary medical education in the United States is rising, I would say, with the normal amount of inflation. Now let me explain that: when you look at the actual cost out of the pocket to a student or to a parent, yes, absolutely it’s rising. And I’ll tell you why. I’ll give you the 80/20 rule, and I’ll talk primarily about state-supported institutions. When I went to school, 80% of my education at Michigan State University was paid for by the State of Michigan—the taxpayers, thorough taxes—paid the money that then was given to Michigan State University from our state legislature. Twenty percent [of the cost of my education] was paid by my family. In today’s world, it’s just the opposite. Only about 20%, give or take, is paid for by the State of Michigan in the amount coming in from taxes, coming through to the university. Eighty percent is paid for by the students or the students’ families.

So when you look at that, and you certainly as a parent or a student say, 'Oh my goodness!', absolutely the cost out of their pocket has risen [and] continues to rise. So when you look at that total amount, absolutely the amount of money coming out of the parent’s pocket or the student’s pocket is rising. The only other couple of sources of money for veterinary medical education is philanthropy, or certainly scholarships. So what we’re looking at, and many, many schools are looking at, is how do we increase the scholarships to those students. That’s going to help them. But when you look at the actual cost of veterinary medical education over the past say 20-25 years, sure it’s risen. It’s risen with inflation just like anything else has. But the formula is totally different."