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Is Veterinary Medicine as unlucrative as they say it is?

Discussion in 'Veterinary' started by internist88, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. internist88

    internist88 Junior Member
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    I'm wondering if vets are as "poor" so to speak as people say they are. As in, do they really earn less than 150k cuz a surgeon or something can still get sued and stuff, so doesn't their job demand that they earn more to compensate for this and the pressures just like a doctor?
     
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  3. MicheleVet

    MicheleVet DVM c/o 2005
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    Are you serious??

    I have classmates that make less than $50K/yr. Granted there are some that make around $100K/yr.

    As a board certified specialist, yes you can make more...and it really depends on your local market (i.e. supply and demand). But I know specialists who make LESS than some general practicioners.
     
  4. eaglemeag

    eaglemeag Tufts University V'10
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    Let's not forget that vets spend as much on their schooling as human docs do, but yet earn significantly less and therefore are in debt MUCH longer, which obviously significantly reduces disposable income.
     
  5. nksteckler

    nksteckler Junior Member

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    This isn't directed at you, internist88, but I'm starting to get irked by people who discount veterinary medicine as a rewarding profession simply because it's relatively "unlucrative". I find it annoying that people can choose their profession based on how rich it will make them. I've seen people like this 20 to 30 years down the line, and it turns out that expensive cars and social status don't necessarily make for happier people in life.

    Sorry to rant but that's just my 2 cents.

    Natalie
     
  6. Ranger7

    Ranger7 Junior Member
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    Exactly, Natalie. I think JAVMA had a nice heartfelt Q&A with an older veterinarian a few months ago. He said that veterinary medicine is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers out there if money isn't your main concern.
     
  7. eaglemeag

    eaglemeag Tufts University V'10
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    I dunno, I get the opposite reaction most times. I'm sick of telling people I want to be a vet and having their very next comment be, "wow, you're gonna be loaded!"

    1. That's rude. Do you say the same thing to your pre-med friends? Usually not. You're more impressed with the fact that they're saving lives than being rich, so why should it be any different with animals?

    2. Obviously you've never known a veterinarian in any way other than professionally, and you base his income on the bills you're paying at his clinic. And you obviously have no idea how long it's going to take me to pay off my mortgage of an education! [I used to want a beach house as my "material goal" in life. Now my only goal is to not be in debt! :laugh: ]
     
  8. nksteckler

    nksteckler Junior Member

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    I still want a beach house as my material goal, but lately in my mind I've been picturing it as more of a beach rundown shack. :laugh: I keep trying to remind myself that atleast I have instate tuition!
     
  9. eaglemeag

    eaglemeag Tufts University V'10
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    Haha... I had downgraded from "house" to "shack" even BEFORE I got Tufts's bill. Now that the loan paperwork is done, I'm like, "uh, never mind." :laugh:
     
  10. Deli422

    Deli422 Junior Member

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    Maybe some people aren't going to spend their money on expensive cars and social status, but to send their kids to private school, and to be able to buy all the pets they ever wanted. And then they can send their pets to the vet, where the animals will scratch and bight the vet, but come home to you and your beautiful house all happy and ready to cuddle.
     
  11. Quaggi

    Quaggi Member
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    that could be just about the stupidest thing i've ever heard. and, learn how to spell.
     
  12. Azawakh

    Azawakh Junior Member
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    I think it is significantly over-emphasized the "low" income of veterinarians. My experience has been that general practioners can make up to 100K and more 3-5 years out. However you have to be smart, skilled and buisness savvy as in every profession.

    Correlate :A lame lawyer won't make a lot of money.

    If you specialize you can make up to 180k more depending on the specialty and again you have to be smart, skilled and buisness savvy.


    Even a mediocre general practicioner can expect 80k.
     
  13. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    lol...I say/said that sometimes to the pre-pharm students ....they start out of the box at 100+....*very* often, at least at my school, the pre-pharm students were well over dressed and over groomed ($300 hair, $80 nails, prada, blah blah)......it's funny though b/c they're working to change the rules about where and when you need a pharmacist...right now, legally you need one at every store whenever it's open, so everytime you open a grocery store or CVS type place, you need a pharmacist....However, now they want to make it so the pharmacists can be off site, like 5 people that sit in an office and service all the stores for a city....it will be interesting to see how that all pans out if/when that happens.

    lol...my goal has always been, and still is, to actually be able to afford my own horse....I remember when I was about 10 or so this friend and I sat down and figured out how much horse ownership was and basically partitioned out the horse into how much each of its parts would cost. So we'd sit around and be like "I think I can afford an ear right now" "Oh I think I can afford a tail, but it will have to be an appaloosa tail"............I think I've got a good 6+ years of working on others horses before I can afford an eyelash at this point. :mad:
     
  14. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    When I was originally pre-med I sort of thought something like this. (there were numberous other reasons I was med vs vet at the time). Basically, I knew I wanted to do medicine and sort of thought that I could still do a lot for animals by using my money as a human doc to help them...like build/run a shelter type stuff....I knew I wanted to do something to help animals and using my big-doctor bucks probably would have brought about a lot of good, but I'm 100% sure that I'll be doing more good as a vet and that it's the capacity that I'd prefer to be working with and helping animals.

    lol...part of my human vs. vet med choice without a doubt came from the fact that being a bit OCD and a control freak about animal care, I really don't think I could stand just standing there and being clueless everytime something went wrong with one of my pets.
    (as an aside to that, I really get pretty irritated when I go to the doctor and they sort of act like I don't know much and/or I see things that human docs do that I sure know I'd do better if I was in their position. I probably have black stars all over my file :rolleyes: )
     
  15. Deli422

    Deli422 Junior Member

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    You're right, private schools are stupid!
     
  16. Deli422

    Deli422 Junior Member

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    Yeah, I see what you're sayin. It's kinda different for me. After getting my first 4 months of experience at a vet clinic, I realized I would rather specialize. I thought about maybe specializing in small animal surgery, but then that would be more schooling without the salary to pay off the school bills. Also, I was personally always a bit more interested in the human body and the benefits of knowing how to take care of yourself and your family (although it depends on what you specialize in).

    The reason I turned away from being a general small animal vet in the first place is as follows: I like dealing with people, and I love animals, but I don't like the prospect of getting bit or scratched every day, several times a day. As silly as that may seem, I guess I just don't have the heart to work every day with animals that don't like me (and the aggression they show you to go with it).

    I want to have a few pets at my office, so I can still see animals at work, and also be able to treat the people (and people are usually more positive when they're around animals.) My pets will know cool tricks to make my patients smile after they get their bill!
     
  17. ProZackMI

    ProZackMI Psychiatrist/Attorney
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    Ahh, sorry, but MOST vets do NOT do a post grad residency like us "human docs" do. I respect vets, but let's be honest here, don't distort facts, your average vet is done with school at what, 26-27, whereas even the shortest residency for us MDs is 3 years post MD. Plus, we make more money, in general, because we are dealing with human beings, not pets or livestock. :mad:
     
  18. Ladydvm

    Ladydvm Junior Member
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    I don't think anyone was disputing *why* MDs make more than DVMs, that's been established. And I also don't think anything has been distorted- vets starting out make a salary that is significantly less than their MD counterparts. An MD may have a later start to their career, but their salary compensates for it.

    You know what? I love dealing with people too- but I'm still going to be a vet. Know why? Being a vet is just as much about the animals as it is their owners... a small animal vet will spend as much time in appointments talking with owners as they do treating patients. That's the great thing about the profession, I think- you can have it both ways.
    Also, yeah, aggressive animals happen. You don't just find that sort of behavior in the animal world, though- human patients can become just as agitated and unruly. Personally, I'd rather deal with the cat or dog ;)
     
  19. eaglemeag

    eaglemeag Tufts University V'10
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    Thanks, Ladydvm, for making my rebuttal for me.. and in a much more eloquent way than I could have :) Although, I do want to add that this poster assumes all vets go straight to vet school out of undergrad and are done at 26 like all people-doctors, and that's definitely not the case! Most vet students don't come straight out of undergrad, which pushes their actual career-years back; this isn't true for med students, and doctors usually spend more of their years in practice than vets do.

    Agreed. Personally, I get a bit of a thrill from successfully working with an aggressive and/or just-plain-dumb animal, especially when nobody else is willing or capable. I often jump in on those types of cases, but with a bit of caution/discretion, I don't get bitten or scratched very often. :cool: Not so good with the human end, which is definitely something I need to work on!

    ETA: I was bitten twice at work today. That's what I get for bragging. Go me!
     
  20. Bill59

    Bill59 Member
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    We should also point out that veterinarians make less than pharmacists, chiropractors, dentists, podiatrists, and optometrists -- which also usually don't do post-professional degree residencies.

    On the other hand, our patients are much nicer.
     
  21. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    Lol...I'm the same way. I get a big kick out off being able to restrain small-large animals (goats, donkeys, llamas, foals)....but it's one of those things that's great when you're able to do it and really frustrating/annoying when you can't.....(see also...the pony that takes 2 vets, a tech, and the owner to catch and hold it for a vac)
     
  22. MacGyver

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    What the hell are you talking about, thats outright false
     
  23. Azawakh

    Azawakh Junior Member
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    Actually that is not outright false. I can't speak for every veterinary school however I will be paying $36,965 for tuition and if you include room/board, supplies, etc. it works out to approximately $50,000/yr.

    Education is expensive across the board. So nickel and diming veterinary medical schools verses human medical schools is fruitless. It is generally, accepted that veterinarians are underpaid for the education they have and the services they provide. Animals are offered a lot of the same services that humans are provided with (i.e dialysis, chemotherapy, MRI, laproscopy) and there are no comprehensive insurance plans to pay for it. Thus animal owners who are unable to pay for these services do not. Any individual pursuing a career in veterinary medicine where you are required to have a knowledge base far greater than one species is not doing it for the money.

    That being said veterinarians (specialists included) can expect to make anywhere from 70k-300k/year commensurate with experience. Please refer to surveys below. The information is out there.

    http://www.aclam.org/gen_economic_survey.html
    http://www.acvp.org/career/
     
  24. Bill59

    Bill59 Member
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    For 2005-2006, the median tuition and fees at public US medical schools were $19,000 (resident) and $35,000 (nonresident).*

    Tuition and fees for a couple of typical public veterinary school are:
    CSU: $13,000/$39,000
    UCD: $22,000/$34,000

    Both are 4 years and leave out undergraduate, which are similar, and post-graduate internship/residency, which are paid (if you can call it that).

    What are we missing?


    * Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC
     
  25. bubbles525

    bubbles525 Member
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    Let us not forget a few very very important facts.
    One, there are far far fewer scholarships to veterinary school than med school.

    Two there are far far fewer vet schools. The fewer the schools the less options for students and thus many students only get into one school, or two schools and therefore cannot make decisions based on cost.

    Further there are many schools, like Tufts, with virtually no instate tutition break. So, students with no instate school, or no instate tutition difference are stuck paying much much higher prices.

    I have also heard form vet students that the estimated cost of living, and expenses is lower than needed, though that maybe the case for med school too.

    Also, If one does choose to use the Army to pay for vet school, they only pay for three years, not the four they pay for med school.

    I would also like to point out that most schools require many hours working with a vet. That means either really low pay as an assistant or no pay as a volenteer. So in our year or years off we frequently make no real money. And our cost to apply is rediculously high.

    ~Marie

     
  26. PAThbrd

    PAThbrd LA Surgery Resident
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    hmm I wish I was paying $19k a year for instate. Yeah for private schools :laugh:
     
  27. NaughtyGirl999

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    LOL...I hardly ever get bit or scratched:p

    but I bet it's STILL better to get bit or scratched by a dog or a cat than a person!!

    and human docs make more money than vets because of this little regulated industry called insurance....because not too long ago, your GP doc was making about the same as your GP vet, but now you can bill and thereby eleveate charges ....

    as to why I say this...well, my mother was in a hopspital for 3 months and somehow kept getting all these consultation fees adding up into the thousands of dollars on her medicare and BCBS bills....from doctors who NEVER spoke to me about what was going on with her at all. That's some shadiness right there.....:( No one ever did just tell me my mother had congestive heart failure until a week before her death years later. After I was going through vet school and had figured it out myself. And had some doctor trying to talk to me like I was an idiot. And he STILL didn't even know!!!!
     
  28. medtechv79

    medtechv79 Senior Member
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    eeeh...unfortunately that's true. animals are sorta on the lower totem pole of this society and human beings would come first if ever some accident did occur.....I think that's how life works....but in some instances I personally value my pets as much as my human being counterparts and would do almost anything to help them.
    There are residencies for vet school or some post grad specialties but yea I don't think its as long as doctors residencies....plus vets makes less money b/c humans can pay for their medical care while for pets their med. care is dictated by the owners they have.....
     
  29. medtechv79

    medtechv79 Senior Member
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    yeah....doctor's can do some shady stuff! i had a friend who was in the hospital and got billed from a doctor who talked to her for 10 mins! crazy!!!
     
  30. MonkeyJunction

    MonkeyJunction Junior Member
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    Of course I would like to add my 2 cents by saying they will let most anyone in Med School, but since there are so many fewer vet schools they only let the most special of people in!
     
  31. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    Yeah, my goal is to have my loans paid off by the time I retire.

    All I want out of my practice is to be able to drive around in my truck, palpate some dairy cows, do some c-sections and DA's and help save the world, one calf at a time.

    To do all that and put food on the table, pay for my kid's football uniforms, and pitch in a little for the mortgage on the small house would be gravy.

    Food animal/Equine guys-we're lucky to get $60k/yr, depending on what part of the country.

    And the specialists-yeah, they have a lot of income, but running one of those clinics is hella expensive-you have to pay for not only the equipment, but you have to have shi! hot technicians, and those don't come cheap. So, just because they have more income doesn't mean they don't have more overhead.
     
  32. cpw

    cpw It's a boy !!!
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    Don't worry.. ProZack likes to troll the optometry forum too.
     
  33. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    FYI, a cat bite is far more dangerous than a human bite. Dog bite, not so dangerous (unless they hit vital structures)

    Just a tip for the MDs and DOs out there. Cats (and people) have some nasty bad ass stuff growing in their mouths.

    There is not a day that goes by that something doesn't try to bite me, scratch me, kick me, poop on me, or pee on me, or that I don't get shot with anal gland juice or sprayed in the face with some sort of operative goo...yay for PPE, Carhartt, Dickies, and Danner boots.
     
  34. MacGyver

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    You are wrong. The highest paid doctors on a per hour basis are those who have no dealings with insurance (i.e. cosmetic plastic surgeons, dermatologists)

    Dealing with insurance LOWERS your income, it doesnt raise it.
     
  35. UKYWildcat

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    Sorry but studies show that this just isn't true...I don't have the numbers right now but I would think you could find them through NCVEI or something. I know I sure as hell plan on making more than $60K a year in large animal practice.
     
  36. Bill59

    Bill59 Member
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    MacGyver is right, the last thing we want in vet. med. is widespread insurance, HMOs, medicare, etc. Having a 3rd party payer just reduces the money available to doctors because you're now slicing the pie 3 ways instead of 2. And the first thing the insurance companies start doing is trying to tell the doctors how much they can charge (and the clients how much care they can get).

    Look at dentists. With the dramatic increase in cosmetic dentistry they are mostly a cash business. As a consequence, dentist salaries have been increasing substantially the past 10 years, compared to salaries for MD internists, who rely almost exclusively on 3rd party payers.
     
  37. Bill59

    Bill59 Member
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    Base Starting Salary of Graduates who accepted an offer of employment in 2005:
    Mean starting salaries ranged from $49,157 for large animal exclusive practices to $53,796 for small animal exclusive practices. Equine practices offered a mean starting salary of $35,347 in 2005. Mean educational debt among those with debt was $88,077 in 2005.

    Employment, starting salaries, and educational indebtedness of year-2005 graduates of US veterinary medical colleges J Am Vet Med Assoc. October 2005;227(7):1084-6.
     
  38. UKYWildcat

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    Sorry - I wasn't referring to just starting salaries. Here's what the US Dept of Labor has to say:

    Median annual earnings of veterinarians were $66,590 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,420 and $88,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $118,430.

    According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, average starting salaries of veterinary medical college graduates in 2004 varied by type of practice as follows:

    Small animals, predominantly $50,878
    Small animals, exclusively 50,703
    Large animals, exclusively 50,403
    Private clinical practice 49,635
    Large animals, predominantly 48,529
    Mixed animals 47,704
    Equine (horses) 38,628
    The average annual salary for veterinarians in the Federal Government in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was $78,769 in 2005.


    So...if their numbers are correct and accounting for inflation, I don't think it's a rediculous statement to make that a large animal practitioner can make more than 60K and doesn't have to consider themselves "lucky" to make only that much. :)
     
  39. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    Are you smoking crack? The only way you will make more than $60K a year in large animal practice is in the tertiary/referral setting.

    I know, I did my early work in large animal practice and now work in a referral clinic.
     
  40. UKYWildcat

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    No, I'm not smoking anything. It can be done, it is done.

    I *know* too, I've worked both in mixed practice and in academia.
     
  41. HorseyVet

    HorseyVet Senior Member
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    It really really depends. Out of school going into a mixed practice...probably not. If you have 30+ years of xp and own your own or mostly own your own practice, then yeah, BUT it also depends a lot on exactly where you are, the need, and the general client base.

    A lot fo ppl that really want to do cattle are often recruited for a one feedlot/dairy...and they can be paid pretty well. A lot of people don't want to do that and the options that are similar, but otherwise, pay a lot less.

    DVM magazine put new (just out of school vets) I think at 45-60. When I get acess to that particular journal again I'll check (still in boxes). One has to realize that there are people that are paid 300,000+ that work in LA....a lot of those people also teach and/or in their early/mid 50's or later.. so the average is probably really skewed.

    LA can pay, but it really depends. The same though is true for SA, however, the "growth" or following of inflation prices is much faster there.
     
  42. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    I would like to know where all these guys are that are raking in the big bucks so I can move there and make a ton of money, seriously.

    I'm seriously considering going all dairy/beef production medicine-I get people bitching about $12 WNV vaccines and then when they fail to vaccinate bitch and moan about the $5k bill from the university to treat the horse for WNV (helloooo, if you'd just vaccinate your freaking horse you cheapskate you mightn'tve had to pay through the nose for treatment)

    But then you know, we'll just get the guys that wait for 5 days before they call us out on a DA or calving dystocia *sigh*

    perhaps poultry medicine-that's 9-5 m-f, eventually 6 figures (or so Dr S. says) now where'd that textbook go?
     
  43. lilhmbrg

    lilhmbrg SVM UCD 06
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    yup, poultry med, where you START at 6 figs (that was my offer RIGHT AFTER GRADUATION for a job that was rescinded due to budget cuts...) love those chickens!
     
  44. SMW83

    SMW83 Membership Revoked
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    what professional letters after your name originally mean:

    DVM= Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    MD= Medical Doctor
    DO= Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
    ............................

    What they mean to the new recent fresh graduate:

    DVM= Debt Very Massive
    MD= Massive Debt
    DO= Debt Outrageous
    -------------------------------


    I think they all have one thing in common dont you think?:D
     
  45. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    you forgot one (the Penn We's)

    VMD=Veterinary Medical Doctor (or whatever they're calling it now)

    what it really means:

    Very Much in Debt
     
  46. BuckyBoy_DDS

    BuckyBoy_DDS Member
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    You think thats bad!?



    Try shelling out $300k+ for dental school..
     
  47. PAThbrd

    PAThbrd LA Surgery Resident
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    whee! penn we's ;) definately pay for that ivy league education!
     
  48. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen
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    especially the international Penn We's (ok, I've worked with lots of them, and I love them, and I tease them about the "at penn we..." stuff, and they tease me about "the OSU beavers" so we're even) anyway, I had one classmate say that they'd gotten into penn...but when they looked at the first year's bill/cost estimation (whatever it is they send you) they thought it was for all four years-nope, it was for one year-apparently it's um, quite a bit higher if you're not only out of state but say, Canadian or whatever (non-US citizen) anyway, Penn's a fine school, but...you sure do pay for the honour of going there. (And I'm convinced the reason Ohio State is so expensive is you have to pay for all that extra ink they use up printing the "THE" in front of Ohio State University on all the letterhead and diplomas etc)


    Still searching for the mythical land of the rich equine vet that has only A+ clients that do everything he recommends and own well trained cooperative horses....
     
  49. UKYWildcat

    5+ Year Member

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    Nah, I think it's more to support the football program. Forget academics people, it's about what happens on Saturday afternoons at the 'Shoe. Sheesh.

    ;) Go bucks!
     
  50. MissBehavior

    MissBehavior Junior Member
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    Let me know if you ever find that mythical land.:D
     

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