So Many New Students, So Few Clinical Spots

It has come to our attention that Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) has admitted an unprecedented number of students begin their first semester of the veterinary program in fall 2011.

The number of new students this semester comes to 165. Those students hope to finish their seventh semester at Ross in fall 2013, at which time they would proceed to the clinical year at a veterinary school in the United States.

However, at the present time there is only space in the U.S. cinical programs for 90 Ross students from each class. That means that 75 students–or 45 percent of the fall 2013 class–must fail out of Ross’s program.

Attending any professional school is a taxing experience, be it human medicine, veterinary medicine, or another kind. Ross prides itself on offering students an alternative to U.S. veterinary programs, whether those students had a “less competitive” application or the U.S. schools simply weren’t right for them.

Either way, students who go to Ross do so under the impression that, if they work hard enough, they will be able to graduate and get a DVM degree. Yet that’s clearly not the reality of the situation if 45 percent of the incoming class literally cannot proceed to the clinical year.

We’ve heard reports of “weeding” practices occurring not just in vet-prep or first semester, but in many semesters afterwards. Additionally, while students at U.S. vet schools would be allowed to repeat a semester as many times as necessary, Ross students are dismissed from the program if they fail more than a single class in a semester, or if they fail a semester more than once.

This doesn’t even take into account the extremely taxing nature of living on the island of St. Kitts, and the minimal information that incoming students are given about it (we’ll have further reports about this topic in the coming months).

Those who do fail out are left with a portion of the more than $200,000 USD in loans than it costs to complete the veterinary program at RUSVM–except they have no career to pay off that debt. Most of those loans originate from the U.S. government and remain with Ross faculty and the parent company, DeVry University. When these details are considered together, the whole operation starts to feel like a loan mill.

We’ll be following up on this subject as we gather more information. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below. Alternatively, you can send us an email at eyeonstkitts[at]gmail[dot]com.

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28 Responses to So Many New Students, So Few Clinical Spots

  1. Anonymous says:

    I just want to say that no matter how many students are in the seventh semester class, there’s generally a space for all of them. Current 8th and 9th semesters (first and second semester clinicals) have 99 and 108 students, respectively. Current 7th class is 104. Yes unfortunately students fail, but no matter what, they will have a spot in clinics.

    • eyeonstkitts says:

      So let’s say 105 students from the current class complete all seven semesters of the program. That leaves 60 students out. If they complete an average of two semesters (that’s a guess), at about $40,000 per semester, that means the university made $4,800,000 (that’s $4.8 million) off of those students. Hence, this is a significant issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        Out of those 60 students, some may transfer, some decide to take a semester off, or fail. If they fail one class, they are able to repeat. Fail again or fail more than one semester, then you’re out. As for the 40K a semester, that’s absurd. The loans per semester don’t even get that high. http://www.rossu.edu/veterinary-school/documents/VetRates1112.pdf in case you want to see how much it costs. Loans generally are around $25,000 IF you take out the maximum amount. The school only gets the cost of attendance. The student gets the rest (roughly $10K).

  2. Vetstudent says:

    I think you need to get your facts straight before posting anything like this. Where did you get your numbers from anyway regarding the 90 spots? Also, 165 includes students from vet prep and the students that are repeating first semester. I agree that it is way too many students for the campus, but it is absurd for you to make accusations of the school based on no actual facts.

    • eyeonstkitts says:

      At any university in the U.S. this information would be made public in official statements on a regular basis, and then reported on in a student publication or professional newspaper to be reviewed by students and citizens in the surrounding area. It’s not our fault that Ross doesn’t do this. We’ll be happy to adjust our figures if other information comes to light.

      • anon. says:

        Well, who ever attends Ross needs to realize they are at a PRIVATE institution in a foreign country. Deal with it or leave

      • Chris says:

        So what you are saying is that there is no actual fact behind your statement. I agree that there are things that need changed and things that students need/deserve to know that they are not told. However from what I have I read you are trying to scare people with opinion rather than inform them with fact.

        • eyeonstkitts says:

          It sounds like what you are saying, Chris, is that you dislike our editorial interpretation of the situation. It has nothing to do with the basic facts; it’s not just about how many students graduate vs. how many fail. We find the overall nature of the situation to be unacceptable. We’re not sure what about this article would come off as intended to scare anyone, least of all the students and their friends/family. You’re entitled to your own opinion on the matter, as is everyone else.

          • Chris says:

            Seeing as how the title of the article is “So many new students, so few clinical spots” and you have yet to say where you get the numbers for said article that is why I feel you are trying to scare people. In your article you wrote “Either way, students who go to Ross do so under the impression that, if they work hard enough, they will be able to graduate and get a DVM degree. Yet that’s clearly not the reality of the situation if 45 percent of the incoming class literally cannot proceed to the clinical year.” Seeing as how RUSVM has NEVER failed to place a student who passed all 7 semesters here I don’t understand what you are trying to say or how you can justify saying that this article is about how difficult the school is. If you wish to talk about how difficult the school is I will agree with you. However difficult this school is, RUSVM give an opportunity to people who otherwise would not get a chance at all to get their DVM.

  3. akfsjlkajf says:

    Ross gives all of us a CHANCE to become a veterinarian– a chance we did not have in the United States. In reality, the truth in this issue is that some people do not have what it takes to become a veterinarian; this is why they fail. Since Ross has a higher acceptance rate than US schools, the passing and failing standards MUST BE more rigorous than those found at a US school. DVM degrees cannot just be handed out…

    • eyeonstkitts says:

      That’s a rationalization of the situation. Yes, DVMs “cannot just be handed out.” So then why not make the admissions process more comprehensive and selective? And why not make the program more geared towards learning and retaining material, instead of making it like a 2.5-year gauntlet designed to cut the class down to a certain size?

  4. While I appreciate your attempt to address issues that are important, please remember that journalist credibility is based on consistant accuracy in fact reporting. These numbers are not correct and Ross has always been able to place every student in clinics that meets the requirements for both Ross and the cooresponding institution. Ross does not admit more students than they can place.
    This school does admit students that may or may not be successful in the program. In fact it is part of the mission statement of the school, giving students a chance that may not otherwise have an opportunity to try to become a veterinarian. I am grateful for that opportunity as well as the experience that was very tough at times; I know that I made it through a rigerous program that more than adequately prepared me to become a good veterinarian and I believe that still exists here at Ross.
    It is always good to discuss things that affect us and the school; please, as you do so, continue to validate your facts so we can have a good discussion about how to address these issues.
    Dr. Lindsay Moffatt

  5. John Selden says:

    Can you tell us where you got the information that there are only 90 clinical spots per class?

  6. Student says:

    “So then why not make the admissions process more comprehensive and selective?”
    This is what so many US schools have done, and in doing so have limited opportunities for so many great students who deserve a chance. Ross gives us that chance, and many of us succeed in living out our dream.

    “And why not make the program more geared towards learning and retaining material…”
    The truth of the matter is that Ross produces better veterinarians not in spite of, but because of the intense, demanding, and rigorous program. We work harder, have sacrificed more, and in the end have a greater sense of accomplishment. Of course there is a strong emphasis on learning and retaining material, that is why Ross students do so well in clinics. As for US students being allowed to repeat classes as many times as needed – in my opinion, that is a problem. I would not want a doctor who had to repeat surgery class 3-4 times to spay my dog.

    And lastly, as others have pointed out, your numbers are all wrong. Many student will transfer out, get sick, have personal emergencies causing them to leaving the island, as well as fail. The high number of incoming students accounts for these losses. And yes, some do fail, some do not make it. But it is absurd to assume the school sets out to fail students. All the faculty at Ross work hard to help us succeed, and consistently, more students pass than fail. Any student who successfully completes the 7 semesters, is guaranteed a seat at a clinical school.

  7. eyeonstkitts says:

    For those who are not familiar with journalism ethics, let it be known that no journalist in the U.S. can be 100% certain about the details of a story before publication — especially an article on a sensitive issue that must employ anonymous sources. Not only is this protected by the First Amendment, but it’s built into the very nature of news reporting. Every publication makes corrections as needed after the fact.

    It changes nothing that Ross is in a foreign country. DeVry is a U.S. company, the loans come mostly from the U.S. government, the majority of Ross students come from the U.S., and this website is hosted in the U.S.

    Much fuss had been made over the exact number of students proceeding to clinicals, or the exact cost of loans — when actually those are minor details that don’t change the essential nature of the dilemma at hand. If you’re happy at Ross or you’ve already graduated, that’s great! It seems that the majority of comments so far have come from people in that category. Sadly not everyone has that same experience. We’re obligated to cover all sides of the story.

    • Julie says:

      But you’ve said: “We’ll be happy to adjust our figures if other information comes to light.”

      Which is clearly not true because it *has* come to light that there are well over 90 students currently placed in clinics and yet here you are backpeddling and moving the goalposts instead of editing your original claim. Your inaccuracy regarding the number of clinical spots and cost of loans isn’t the point? That’s interesting, given that it’s the entire premise of your article.

      Journalistic integrity and intellectual honesty are things that clearly fall far down on your priority pole.

    • Joe Anybody says:

      You do realize that your publishing something in a different country where the 1st amendments really don’t apply because your on foreign soil? oh is that your expert journalism skills hard at work again?

  8. Rick Flairh says:

    How many years has Ross been open? And in that time how many students have Not been placed in a U.S school ?

  9. Kelly says:

    “For those who are not familiar with journalism ethics, let it be known that no journalist in the U.S. can be 100% certain about the details of a story before publication — especially an article on a sensitive issue that must employ anonymous sources.”
    What a ridiculous statement! Have you heard of libel? Journalistic ethics is precisely the opposite. You must have your facts checked before you go to print. Unless you work for National Enquirer.
    You’re starting to sound kinda defensive here…

    • eyeonstkitts says:

      Yes, we’re very familiar with libel law. Thanks for asking. Even if we were to write that Ross was a purely corrupt institution — which we have not — it still would not be libel. We have stated our opinions on a situation. Opinion is not libel. The contents of the article that do not fall under opinion were published in the most truthful manner possible at the present time.

      Our intentions were not to do harm to any person or organization, but to create a healthier culture of information for ANYONE living on the island of St. Kitts. If this information does cause harm, it’s not the fault of the person presenting the information (i.e. – “the messenger”).

      Almost all commenters have hinged their arguments on the single fact that whoever is left at the end of 7th semester will have a spot found for them at a U.S. school for clinicals. Our opinions on the situation stand regardless of that, because our initial argument had nothing to do with that point. The issue is much more complicated.

      If we sound defensive, it’s because most of the comments have been posted with a tone of attack. From our perspective it seems very clear that the only ones who feel safe posting a comment are the ones who fully support the current system (i.e. – “the patriots”). We, on the other hand, will not be intimidated.

      • Julie says:

        “Almost all commenters have hinged their arguments on the single fact that whoever is left at the end of 7th semester will have a spot found for them at a U.S. school for clinicals. Our opinions on the situation stand regardless of that, because our initial argument had nothing to do with that point.”

        Bull****. It was the entire premise of this article. Hell, it’s the damn *title* of this article. You are so transparently backpeddling it’s pathetic to witness.

  10. Maggie C says:

    I know the issue’s already been argued over, but just to reassure potential students one more time who may happen upon this article: It’s make public knowledge to us (students) that there will ALWAYS be enough clinical spots in the states (they can’t say this enough at informational meetings). And yes the class size will be greatly reduced by 7th semester, but as someone already said, those are not all “fail-outs”. The majority are repeating students (who no longer have to pay full tuition for a repeated semester) and a good number leave for personal reasons or transfer. The fact is that Ross admits more people than US schools, giving us a chance, and has a very difficult program that only prepares us that much more for our clinical year and practice there-after.

  11. Anonymous says:

    First of all I have to say, much respect for starting a discussion. I’m going to hopefully piss you off by dissecting your logic in this article and then I hope to motivate you to report on some issues I actually care about. Here are a few quotes…

    ‘It sounds like what you are saying, Chris, is that you dislike our editorial interpretation of the situation.’
    What this guy and I really dislike is the assumption you pulled out of your ass and presented as fact.

    ‘We are not at liberty to reveal our sources at the present time’ Does your ass have a name
    ?
    It’d help lend credibility to your story.

    ‘no journalist in the U.S. can be 100% certain about the details of a story before publication — especially an article on a sensitive issue that must employ anonymous sources. Not only is this protected by the First Amendment, but it’s built into the very nature of news reporting. Every publication makes corrections as needed after the fact.’
    I understand you may not be able to name your source. Unless you’re willing to expand on the credibility of that source I will assume you pulled a hunk of shit out of your neighbors ass. Are you just looking for something to write about? I can help direct your efforts, i’ll get to that below. The first amendment has nothing to do with St. Kitts. I gather you’re from the U.S., the U.S. constitution doesn’t apply down here. It’s time to back peddle, correct your story, or lend some more clarification. What you suggest may be true but unless you’re prepared to present some believable proof, you are no better than the national enquirer. If that’s all you’d like to be, you’re there considering the number of comments on this story.

    ‘Our intentions were not to do harm to any person or organization, but to create a healthier culture of information for ANYONE living on the island of St. Kitts. If this information does cause harm, it’s not the fault of the person presenting the information (i.e. – “the messenger”)’ Listen dude, sometimes when I go out to pick up the newspaper, I slip on a banana and bust my face open. You assume here that you are presenting information. I suggest you’re presenting a theory which probably was theorized after a drunken night talking to a few students who are having trouble passing their classes. You made a mistake or a rookie error. Fix it, admit it.

    You get an A- for effort. There are some things on this island I’d like you to report about.

    – Discrimination between locals and foreign students.
    This is important. You suggest Devry is to blame for some of the issues down here. They are. I have a problem with RUSVM staff who should be working diligently to represent the best interest of the students. The head security guy (lynell?) and RUSVM housing staff are some people that come to mind. It seems they operate considering their own priorities. They are paid here to protect and assist the students that are funneling hundreds of thousands of foreign dollars into the pockets of this nation. Intimidating and blaming students for issues is unacceptable. They should all be fired or at least reminded about where their paycheck comes from and what their responsibilities should be.

    I’ve heard of security folks blaming students for their issues. For example. A student who was assaulted wasn’t taken seriously by local pd. Even though assailant left his phone number with the young female student, the cops wanted her to set the guy up to reenact the attack before they would do anything.

    I suspect RUSVM housing staff of manipulating local landlords and inflating rent prices. Does this money go directly into their dirty pockets? or is this a policy Devry supports? Go find some facts and expose that.

    We dump a ton of U.S. backed student loans into this country. This country has a ton of problems. If you want to be a respectable reporter, report on how some of these local citizens and local RUSVM employees are taking advantage of U.S. taxpayer educational loans.

    RUSVM isn’t a diploma mill. RUSVM graduates are respected. Devry may have it’s issues but there are so many more issues unique to RUSVM and foreign students. Report on some issues that Devry may care about so they can pay attention to and fix those issues.

    What about ‘white prices’. Lets face it, things sometimes cost more for ‘white’ students than for locals. Locals are ripping of Uncle Sam when they should be kissing our countries great ass for helping us attempt to fulfill our dreams to become vets.

  12. Julie says:

    “I suspect RUSVM housing staff of manipulating local landlords and inflating rent prices.”

    When my landlord tried to hike up the rent $100 than what the price on the housing website said when we went to sign the lease, MAC told me absolutely not, don’t sign anything, and sent her an email essentially tearing her a new one and threatening to never let her advertise through Ross again if she tried to pull that crap on another student. That hardly sounds like they’re in a rent inflation scheme to me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ella I have read all the comment of all past students. I All so read mr. eyeonstkitts comments.I have researched many university regardless weather its ross university Texas AM vet school etc. In reality, it becomes the student responsibility to do the proper research into all the vet school university, and to understand rules and regulation of each school, weather its in the US. or in another country.Yes there is a lot to digest when selecting a university that meets your expectation.Yes student will fail for what ever circumstances each student may encounter, during there studies while at ross university . Plus there are many,. students who become homesick, and are not mentally ready and may not have all the resourses needed to complete the 7 semester course that are required at Ross university. It,s a reality in all school or university, Its takes a strong minded student to survive, and the student that do there research, and do understand what is expected of them there at the university will prevail,I understand for me to attend and complete 7 semesters 28 months can be challenging and rewarding and at the end. i need to put my hard earned money due to i am a private pay and thus compleating my goal to become a DVN.,Yes there is crime every where, So we must be diligent ,and be cautious of our surroundings, and always be with a friend when going off campus, or any where that could. place you in danger , Remember S t kitts is like no other island, trust no one and be wise and cautious while at St kitts Island. With my family support and friends i look forward in attending Ross university and meeting my carrier goals.

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