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Nebraska Governor and university leaders announce food animal veterinary scholarship program

Christian Fernsby |
Governor Jim Pillen has announced a new scholarship program for Nebraska students aimed at growing the number of veterinarians serving livestock producers across the state.

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The Nebraska Elite 11 Veterinarian Program provides financial support to Nebraska students pursuing degrees in animal science or veterinary science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR).

March 01, was the first day that applications are being accepted for the first cohort of students.

“The need for production animal veterinarians is undeniable. It’s an issue for Nebraska and other state’s as well,” said Governor Pillen. “Through this collaboration with UNL, Nebraska will be a leader in boosting the number of graduates in this field.”

Nebraska’s livestock industry contributes more than $6 billion annually to the state’s economy an impact that is especially significant in rural counties and communities.

Veterinarians play a critical role in keeping livestock healthy, improving herd health, and responding to disease and public health issues, among many other services, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Access to high-quality veterinary care improves profitability for livestock producers and contributes to peace of mind for producers when their animals need care.

But Nebraska and other states across the country are facing a steep shortage of food animal veterinarians.

One reason for this is the cost of veterinary training, according to the USDA. The Elite 11 Program removes the barrier of cost for Nebraska students interested in food animal veterinary medicine.

Up to 25 first-time freshmen will receive the Nebraska Aspiring Animal Production Veterinarians Program Scholarship, which covers 50% of their tuition for the first two years of their study in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

After the second year, up to 13 of the original 25 scholarship recipients will be awarded a continuation scholarship, which covers 100% of tuition for their third and fourth years of study at UNL. Ultimately, 11 students will be selected as part of the Elite 11.

Those students will receive 100% of tuition and fees for UNL’s professional program in veterinary medicine, in which students complete the first two years of veterinary school at UNL, followed by two more years of schooling at the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Students selected into the program will also receive mentoring and professional development throughout their studies.

Graduates of the Elite 11 Program are required to stay in Nebraska and practice as a production-animal veterinarian for eight years. Application instructions for the first cohort of the program are now available at casnr.unl.edu/elite11.

Applications will be accepted through April 12. Scholarship recipients will be notified in late May.


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