Concerns that soaring university tuition fees could change the “shape and direction” of the veterinary profession have prompted the RCVS to establish a group to examine the ramifications of anticipated increases. 

Concerns that soaring university tuition fees could change the “shape and direction” of the veterinary profession have prompted the RCVS to establish a group to examine the ramifications of anticipated increases. 

RCVS councillors approved a “social responsibility working group” after a debate at the college council on March 3. The vet proposing the group said there is a danger of the profession becoming “the exclusive preserve of the children of the wealthy” as a result of the increasing cost of university education.

RCVS council member Richard Stephenson.Last October, the Government announced plans to lift the current £3,290 cap on fees. The cap rises to £9,000 per year in 2012, meaning veterinary degrees could cost up to £54,000 for fees alone, payable by loans.

Presenting the motion to establish the working group, elected councillor Richard Stephenson said: “The aim of this motion is to focus our attention and ignite debate on what I consider to be one of the most urgent problems we [the veterinary profession] are facing. That is the likely effects, on recruitment to the profession and the future of veterinary research, of soaring student debt.

“It’s likely that, ultimately, loans in the range of £80,000 to £100,000 will be the norm rather than the exception by the end of this decade. We also know that veterinary students face particular hardship due to the extra-mural studies requirement of this college, which limits their capacity to work during university holidays.”

The RCVS working group will gather evidence about the impact of rising fees on the social mix entering veterinary schools and determine if the college should take a greater role in supporting undergraduate veterinary education. It will report its findings to RCVS council next February.

 

  • To read the full story, by reporter Joel Dudley, see next week’s edition of Veterinary Times (Vol.41, No.11).
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