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South Dakota State University Plans Rural Veterinary Medical Education Program with University of Minnesota

BROOKINGS, SD – Earlier this year, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill allowing South Dakota State University and University of Minnesota (UMN) administrators to plan a Rural Veterinary Medical Education program. The two institutions are finalizing an operating agreement that will allow students to complete the first two years of veterinary courses at South Dakota State, and the final two years at UMN’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul. The first 20-student cohort would begin classes on the SDSU campus in Brookings in August, 2021.

The new collaborative program will help address a shortage of veterinarians, create additional opportunities for South Dakota students to pursue veterinary careers, supports a growing agriculture industry in the region, and addresses the concern of student debt in veterinary education. Students participating in the new program would pay tuition and fees based on in-state rates, realizing an anticipated savings approaching $100,000 per student for their veterinary education, according to John Killefer, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

“Land-grant universities serve states and regions through academic programs, research and outreach, and this professional degree certainly addresses the need for more veterinarians in South Dakota and adjoining states, particularly those who work with food animals,” Killefer says. “As dean, I look forward to working with faculty at both universities to implement a veterinary medicine curriculum that will complement several existing programs and research strengths within the SDSU College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.”

The Rural Veterinary Medical Education program will replace a program, in place since 1993, under which the state of South Dakota has provided funding to buy down Iowa State University tuition for six students each year to reflect the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition. The program will remain in place until current South Dakota students attending Iowa State University have completed their training in 2023.

“This new program makes sense for students, for the agricultural industry across South Dakota and Minnesota, and for both universities,” says Dennis Hedge, South Dakota State University provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Most notably, faculty and administrators have created a financial model that reduces the costs of education for veterinary medicine students, many of whom pay full out-of-state tuition rates and fees to complete their doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degrees at accredited veterinary colleges.”

For more information about the new Rural Veterinary Medical Education program, contact the SDSU Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at 605/688-5171.

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