So, we're still all excited about the COE accreditation of another school outside the US.
You know, we still have the problem that we've lost pharmacy revenue, we've lost spay/neuter and vaccine revenue, and people won't pay what we have to charge for sick work. Addressing oversupply issues won't address those underdemand issues. I don't think stopping foreign accreditation is an effective way to address oversupply. Maybe I'm wrong; I can't know what I don't know. But I think the following sounds plausible...
So, say the USDE does decide, after the Dec 12th hearing to review the COE's standing as a recognized accrediting body, that Title IV funds (which includes most federal student loans) shouldn't be supporting foreign schools just to create more DVMs that can't get a job or pay back their loans. Based on that decision, federal student loans become unavailable to students attending non US schools.
How will that affect supply?
Well, first of all, Title IV funds are for making education accessible to US citizens, which is exactly what happens when US citizens go to an accredited vet school. The fact that the funds are paid to an accredited school outside the US- I don't know if that's within the scope of the USDE's charge or not. I know there are US students attending enough schools outside the US- not just a scattered handful in vet med- that there is an entire section of the US Dept of Ed website dedicated to helping personnel at those schools secure, administer and disburse those loans to those US citizens.
So say the USDE decides to restrict COE's accreditative authority regarding schools outside the US, or decides Title IV funds may not be used to access schools outside the US. All such schools would then not be accredited and students at these schools would not be allowed access to Title IV funding. Or maybe it would be just new schools from then on. While the US DOE has never made changes retroactive to loans already issued, future loans are fair game so students enrolled at non US schools could lose access to future loans, leaving them facing the Concorde fallacy. Then throw in the consideration that the way COE accreditation specifically is currently structured, any change in accreditation status only affects future students. In other words, if your school is placed on provisional or terminal accreditation, you still graduate from an accredited school. I don't know which way the USDE would view that. I could see it either way. Anyway... How will this affect supply in the US? We'll have made at least an incremental change toward decreasing the supply of vets in the US, right?
Maybe not; maybe just the opposite. Unfortunately, this change could affect supply in the wrong direction, as it could lead to a large and permanent expansion in the total number of veterinary seats.
What? Huh?!? HOW??!??! We shut down foreign accreditation! According to the 2011-2012 NAVLE technical report that's a thousand fewer people entering our job market every year! We've cut the supply by a quarter!
But... the first year that those funds aren't available.... what do the 1000 or so students who would've gone overseas do?
I think it's likely they submit applications to US schools. These are not quitters, these thousand willing to go halfway around the world, some after not getting into US schools. Many are people of tremendous determination and life experience who just don't fit the usual metrics. Vet schools have been using the same criteria to pick who gets in for decades: GPA, GRE, work experience, the infamous LOR. Well, the applicant pool they're picking from is different now; the reasons people are in the applicant pool are different; the professional landscape they face coming out is certainly different. The non US schools have historically offered those students an alternate route- everybody gets in, not everybody gets out. That population is not easily dissuaded. Making funding unavailable for seats at overseas schools isn't goign to make that thousand people give up. They will still seek a seat.
Enter Gainful Employment. I've written about GE in a previous post; it is the set of regs that require schools to meet ridiculously low benchmarks for employment and debt repayment of graduates from that program. It only applies to for-profit schools, and it's not currently in force anyway. But the required system for accumulating and retrieving the data already exists and is working.
Since the schools are not required to fulfill the regs, there is no threat of losing eligibility for federal student aid. There is no need to meet the ridiculously low benchmarks called for in the regs. Fulfilling the requirements of the regulations is not the point here. Rather, it is a low cost way to get accurate, real time, objective data that the schools can use to improve their performance. If a given school is in fact doing a better job than other programs of keeping cost to students low, or getting them into higher paying jobs after graduation, they should be able to tout that as a recruiting point. If there are opportunities for improvement, this helps the school identify where those are and gives the school a timely, responsive metric for assessing progress.