Ohio State University (OSU) has a long history of paving the way for veterinary education, clinical practice and medical research. As one of the oldest vet schools in the country, it’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program consistently ranks in the top five programs in North America.
While the program is highly regarded, other factors like cost of attendance and the amount of student loan debt in your future should be at the forefront of your decision-making process.
Although OSU vet school costs more than other top-ranking programs, it’s graduates carry relatively the same amount of debt as other veterinarian grads.
If you’re originally from Ohio, Ohio State vet school may be worth the cost. However, if you don’t qualify for in-state residency for tuition purposes, you’re better off choosing a different university to avoid burying yourself in unnecessary veterinary student debt. Let’s look at the specifics.
OSU vet school tuition and cost of attendance
OSU’s DVM program is a four-year professional program that accepts 162 new students annually. Each academic year consists of two semesters (August — May), but the fourth year consists of three semesters (May — May). So naturally, your final year will cost more.
|Tuition||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
Non-residents aren’t as fortunate. They are charged a non-resident fee on top of the standard tuition that everyone pays. Ohio taxpayers fund a tuition subsidy for Ohio residents only, which means out-of-state students don’t qualify for the subsidized rate. If you aren’t an Ohio resident, you can expect to pay a whopping total of roughly $325,000 for your degree. Ohio residents can expect to pay around $150,000 for tuition and fees over the duration of their DVM degree.
To avoid paying these outrageous non-resident fees, you could file for residency once you’ve settled in and confirmed your desire to finish out the program in Ohio. Otherwise, the steep non-resident fee may be reason enough to choose a different vet school with a more reasonable tuition.
Don’t forget about miscellaneous costs
But wait, there’s more! You’ll need to factor in the cost of living expenses and other necessary expenditures. OSU estimates the cost of rent, food, transportation, supplies, immunizations and other related costs to be around $20,000 a year. Keep in mind you’ll have an extra bump in expenses during your final year to account for the extra term.
There are ways to cut these costs, such as renting books and finding roommates. But OSU’s estimate gives you a realistic starting point to determine the true cost of attendance.
Assuming you maintain an average lifestyle and complete the program within four years, you can expect your total indirect cost of attendance to be around $90,000, considering your last year is an extended term.
Estimated Ohio State vet school student debt
So where does that put you in terms of estimated student loan debt? Let’s quickly recap the estimated numbers for an OSU DVM degree:
- In-state resident: $150,000 for tuition + $90,000 for indirect costs = $240,000
- Non-resident: $325,000 for tuition + $90,000 for indirect costs = $415,000 (assuming you don’t become a resident at any time during your studies)
If you weren’t able to qualify for scholarships, grants, or gain access to other financial sources, like family contributions, you could be signing up for nearly a quarter-million dollars in student debt. And if you’re not from Ohio, your student debt could be capping out at closer to half-a-million.
Those projections border on worst case scenario, so don’t let it scare you off immediately. According to College Scorecard’s 2019 debt report, the debt mean for OSU veterinary medicine program graduates was $178,777. While this is still a shocking number, it is less than previous estimates and lines up with equivalent programs across the country.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimated that 83% of vet grads in 2018 took on student loan debt to finance their degrees, with a debt mean of $183,014. So as long as you borrow student loans responsibly or as a last resort, you’ll likely be in a similar position as your peers.
Is an OSU veterinary degree worth the student debt?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the median salary for veterinarians in 2018 was $93,830. This is a great target salary, but vet salaries vary greatly based on the state where they practice and if the position is in the public or private sector. The BLS also reported:
- The highest 10 percent earned more than $162,450.
- The lowest 10 percent made less than $56,540.
- The veterinary profession is projected to grow by 18% (much faster than average) by 2028.
Depending on the job and salary you secure after graduation, you could find yourself struggling to pay off six-figures worth of debt. If you’re passionate about becoming a veterinarian, attending Ohio State may be worth it — but only if you’re eligible for in-state tuition.
If you’re stuck paying out-of-state OSU vet school tuition, check out how much you could save by pursuing a degree at another top-ranking university. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates for tuition and fees only.
*Source: College Scorecard’s 2019 debt report
Repayment options for OSU vet school students with student loan debt
If you’re an OSU graduate with student loans, you have several options for paying off your debt. Start by exploring these federal and state loan forgiveness programs.
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s VMLRP will repay up to $25,000 each year toward eligible student loans if you agree to serve in a high-priority veterinarian shortage area for three years. Be aware this program is highly competitive.
Ohio Veterinary Student Loan Repayment Program
The Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board will repay up to $20,000 (maximum $10,000 per year) in exchange for providing large animal services or protecting public health in a vet resource shortage area.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work in a nonprofit or government role, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) after making 120 qualifying payments under an income-driven repayment plan. However, many veterinarians aren’t eligible for PSLF because they choose to go into the private sector, due to an increase in pay and job satisfaction.
If you’re in the early stages of your career and have significant student loan debt, it may be worth finding a position with a tax-exempt animal clinic or shelter even if the pay ends up being less than with a private entity.
Income-driven repayment or refinancing
Once you’ve exhausted federal and state loan forgiveness programs, your next step is to explore selecting an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. You can also look into refinancing your existing student loans.
- If you owe more than 1.5 times your annual salary, an IDR plan can help you lower your monthly payments. Your remaining balance will be discharged after 20 or 25-years, depending on your plan.
- If you owe less than 1.5 times your annual salary, refinancing may give you a lower interest rate and save you a substantial amount of money over the life of your loan.
If refinancing might be in your future, use one of Student Loan Planner’s top 5 lender referral links to earn a cash bonus.