Long Island University veterinary college is accredited

Program to admit 100 students by fall 2020

October 21, 2019 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Image courtesy of Long Island University
An artist's rendering depicts the veterinary college at Long Island University's Post campus in Brookville, New York. The program, accredited Oct. 16 by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education, plans to open its doors in August to 100 students.

Long Island University announced today that it received the Council on Education's consent to open a veterinary college on its campus in Brookville, New York.

The program at the private institution is the second to be approved this fall by the COE, the nation's only accrediting body for veterinary education, and part of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The University of Arizona, a public university in Tucson, announced last week that it had received approval from the COE for a veterinary school. Specifically, the programs at UA and LIU received "reasonable assurance," a first step that indicates a new program is on the path to becoming fully accredited. The designation allows new programs to enroll students and provide them with access to government loans under Title VII of the U.S. Public Health Service Act.

LIU, like UA, plans to admit an inaugural class of 100 students in fall 2020. That is a year later than LIU originally anticipated. The two new programs will bring the number of U.S. veterinary colleges to 32.

Tuition at LIU Post will be $55,000 a year for the four-year program, making it among the nation's most expensive. That doesn't include the cost of living, which in the New York City area is among the nation's highest. Across all U.S. veterinary programs, median annual tuition is $50,123 for out-of-state students and $23,664 for in-state students, according to updated statistics from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

While tuition proposed at UA is comparable — $45,000 a year for residents and $68,000 for non-residents — the program is designed to be completed in three years, summers included, to make it more affordable. "Our program is structured to be completed in three calendar years, meaning you will graduate sooner and get to work one year earlier than you would in most other DVM programs," the UA website says.  

Dr. Carmen Fuentealba, founding dean of the LIU veterinary college, said in a news release that faculty are prepared to offer the "highest-quality education to the next generation of globally competent, practice-ready and entrepreneurial veterinarians."

Officials have no plans to build an on-site teaching hospital. Instead, the program will employ a distributive model of clinical education that sends veterinary students through 27 affiliate practices for clinical training that include the Animal Medical Center in New York City, Bronx Zoo and Long Island Veterinary Specialists. 

"With our extensive network of research and clinical partners — including pet hospitals, zoos and animal rescues — the entire region has been enthusiastically anticipating approval of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program," Fuentealba added.

The veterinary school's capital budget is around $40 million. Thus far, the program has received at least $13 million in promised state support: $750,000 in capital funds secured last year by New York State Sen. Carl Marcellino and $12 million in seed money intended for economic development in the region. 

Officials with the veterinary college have not updated a timeline on plans to construct a new 47,000-square-foot facility on the LIU Post campus, intended for completion in 2020. According to Tim Dougherty, an administrator with the Village of Brookville, LIU's plans must go through his office for approval before construction can begin. "We have not heard back from the architect since August. There is no building permit issued as of yet," he said. 

The LIU program has not been universally embraced. LIU reportedly is embroiled in a battle with conservationists over historic farmland in Commack, Long Island, about a 45-minute drive from the Post campus, where the veterinary school is headquartered. According to the proposal, 6.5 acres would be leased to the program.

There also has been opposition by LIU faculty members, many of whom believe that the university doesn't have the resources to open a veterinary school by 2020, amid enrollment and programming cuts.

Whether LIU will ask the state Legislature to help fund the prospective veterinary college's ongoing operations is unclear. If it does, that could mean competing for funds with the veterinary college at Cornell University. Cornell is a private Ivy League institution but serves as the state's land-grant university. As such, it operates as a public-private hybrid. The state allocates some $34 million a year to the veterinary college, a figure that comprises 21% of the program's operating budget.

Although located upstate, in Ithaca, Cornell has a presence in the New York City region, where LIU is based: It has a diagnostic laboratory satellite and an equine specialty practice in Elmont, also on Long Island; and a small animal emergency and referral practice in Stamford, Connecticut, just across the Long Island Sound.

Editor's note: This article was amended to include new information about tuition at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. 

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