Student Sean Gadson with Lucy the dog.
DVM student Sean Gadson has benefitted from the scholarships and student aid offered by UC Davis.

New Data Shows UC Davis to be the Best Value in Veterinary Schools

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently released the 2019 Economic State of the Veterinary Profession. The guide includes data on veterinary schools, including information regarding the debt loads of recent DVM graduates. The report is free to AVMA members and available to anyone else at a cost.

In the report, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine was found to:

  • Have the highest median starting salary of graduates of any of the 30 U.S. veterinary schools included in the data. (Pages 18-19)
  • Place second for the most optimal debt-to-income ratio of all 30 schools. (Page 25)
  • Have the third-least median debt of any of the 30 schools. (Page 19)

The debt load of UC Davis DVM graduates is actually going down. In the most recent figures available, our student debt declined 9% by median and 5% by mean when comparing 2017 to 2018 UC Davis graduates. Student debt for these new graduates came in at a median of $120,250 and a mean of $101,328*.

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is ranked #1 in the nation by both organizations that rank veterinary schools, QS and US News & World Report. With its leading educational experience and excellent financial outcomes, UC Davis is the best value in veterinary education.

How does UC Davis graduate veterinarians with lower debt than almost any other veterinary school?

UC Davis uses a combination of return to aid and philanthropy to keep costs low for its veterinary students. In addition, the price to attend the school has not increased significantly for California residents since 2011-12. The stability in price combined with the increases in aid have contributed to decreased debt for graduates.

The school annually awards hundreds of scholarships, provides externship funds to 4th year students with financial need, and returns millions to aid in the form of grants to all students paying tuition and fees. 

  • Return to aid. Most students at minimum receive return-to-aid fee grants of approximately $7,000 per year plus $500 in a one-time computer technology grant which equates to approximately $28,500 over the course of four years. Resident tuition and fees are $32,102 – so we cover almost one-year with return-to-aid alone – not even considering any donor-funded scholarships.  
  • Scholarships. Donors to the school have generously supported scholarship funds that provide approximately $2.7 million annually to DVM students (and rising).
  • Additional aid. The school provides funds for 4th-year externships and other educational activities.

In total, UC Davis provides approximately $7 million annually in financial assistance to its approximately 560 DVM students.

Why is lower student debt important? 

UC Davis is committed to keep veterinary school affordable, which provides benefits to society.  Graduates with low debt have greater flexibility to:

  • Pursue advanced scientific or clinical training, which leads to better patient care and scientific and medical breakthroughs.
  • Pursue public service careers, which generally pay lower salaries than the private sector.
  • Focus their professional work on the less common veterinary specialties or underserved geographic areas.
  • Give back to the profession and provide leadership/mentorship to address mental health issues in the veterinary community. Financial stress leads to reduced mental wellbeing. 

To learn more about student aid, please visit our admissions information page

To make a donation to support students, please visit our giving page or contact Hnouzong Her at or (530) 752-7024.

*The calculations of mean and median student debt include all students, not just students with debt, which is the common method for presenting the data.

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