K-State adds two new students to rural vet training program

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 2:09 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas State University has added two new students to its rural veterinarian training program.

Kansas State University says that recent legislative changes in the Kansas Statehouse have bolstered a long-running, successful program in its College of Veterinary Medicine.

K-State indicated that increased funds from the States starting in Fiscal Year 2023 allow for the selection of additional Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas loan recipients and an increase in aid to all students already in the program.

The University noted that new additional Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas Scholars include:

  • Jayden Hanna, Elkhart,
  • Violet Biggs, Pittsburg.

K-State said they will join:

  • Chelsey Bieberle, Bushton;
  • Emma McClure, Hugoton;
  • Bryant Karlin, Manhattan;
  • Chandler Rogers, Topeka.

“We are excited to be able to add Violet and Jayden to the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas,” said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This program is fulfilling a critical mission to provide veterinary care and service in rural areas of Kansas. We are grateful to the Kansas legislature for recognizing the impact of this program and for committing to its growth and allowing us to train more students than before.”

K-State indicated that the program was originally passed by the state Legislature in 2006 and offers a financial incentive to future veterinarians committed to rural care in Kansas. When they complete their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, it said each student is required to work at a full-time veterinary practice in one of 92 counties with less than 40,000 residents.

For each year a student works in rural Kansas, K-State noted that they receive up to $25,000 in student loan forgiveness over a 4-year period.

To date, the University said 96% of graduates have completed their loan obligation through service. Graduates who do not complete service are required to repay the loan. It said the funds are then reinvested through the addition of students to the program.

K-State also said that 93% of previous graduates who completed their 4-year obligation remain in a qualifying county. It said 70% remain in the original practice and community they entered after graduation.

“The Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas helps retain some of the brightest and best veterinary students in Kansas,” Rush said. “The participants — past, present and future — join a unique community of supportive colleagues and represent the future of rural veterinary practice in Kansas.”

K-State noted that part of the required training includes completing a food animal veterinary certificate. Scholars also spend time during summer breaks to learn about foreign animal disease preparedness, natural disaster response, rural sociology, small business management and public health. During their senior year, it said they will spend three weeks in rural bet practice applying the principles of small business management to rural veterinary practice.

“We appreciate the guidance and input from our new advisory board,” Rush said. “In the spring semester, we plan to choose seven students for the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas for the class of 2026, so we are also thankful to the members of the selection committee for their efforts in choosing these new students.

K-State indicated that additional changes to the program include the creation of an advisory board made up of two representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture, two members of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner and two representatives from the College of Veterinary Medicine. It said a subgroup of the board now serves as the selection committee for the program participants.