According to the AskRoss FAQ Database, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) “typically enrolls between 100 and 120 students in each incoming class.” However, for this fall semester, the school has enrolled 165 students — more than ever before.
Aside from the limited facilities and resources on the RUSVM campus, there’s also concern that the school — a private institution owned by DeVry University, which itself is a proprietary, for-profit company — might be prioritizing net profit over the well-being of students.
Our previous post on the issue brought many comments arguing that all students remaining at the end of 7th semester will have a clinical spot found for them at a U.S. school. So while there are only about 90 established spots for RUSVM students to proceed into clinicals, we’ve heard that up to 108 have received a clinical placement in recent semesters.
RUSVM doesn’t publish an attrition rate, so most people — including current and prospective students — cannot be certain how many people actually make it through all 7 semesters.
But the school does publish the cost of tuition and fees to enroll as a veterinary student. The total charges per student, from vet prep to 7th semester, range from $16,190 to $16,614 USD per semester at RUSVM. If a student makes it through 7 semesters (without repeating any semesters), they will have spent about $113,330 USD.
And that’s fine, granted that they graduate and proceed onto a career, which would (hopefully) allow them to pay off all those loans. But not all students make it to the end of 7th semester.
If someone doesn’t proceed past 2nd semester, they will have spent $32,380 USD (usually from federal loans) but will then have no way of paying off the debt. If they stop at 4th semester, they will have paid $64,760 USD. If it’s 6th semester they don’t get past, the amount paid will have been about $97,140 USD. (These amounts don’t even include living expenses on St. Kitts — only tuition and fees.)
At this point some argue that this is the nature of professional school. Not everyone graduates. It has to be tough so that the school produces competitive veterinarians.
But all of this is undermined by a glance at just how much money RUSVM has made on this fall class. A class of 120 students would bring about $1,942,800 USD to the school each semester. A class of 165 students, like the current fall class, would bring the total closer to $2,671,350 USD. That’s about $728,550 USD, or 3/4 of a million dollars, more per semester.
If RUSVM published an attrition rate, it would be possible to evaluate exactly how much profit they gain from each new class. The school should make it clear to prospective and current students (and their families) how many students fail, repeat, or leave the program each semester — as well as how many Ross students enter and complete the clinical year at a U.S. school. They should also publish the number of RUSVM graduates who go on to get jobs as veterinarians.
Then we could tell whether RUSVM’s facilities, faculty, and other resources are adequate for the size of the student body, or whether they’re more concerned with making a profit than producing skilled veterinarians.