STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State University is working to fix deficiencies in its veterinary college after its accreditation status was lowered.

Three years of declining state funding that landed the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences in financial trouble led to the status change in September, The Oklahoman reported. State appropriations for the college had declined more than 25 percent since 2015.

The Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association placed the college on probationary accreditation after a site visit in the spring. The council cited major deficiencies in standards for finances, faculty and students.

“Major deficiencies have more than minimal impact on student learning or safety” said council chairman Dr. Patrick Farrell. “These deficiencies must be corrected in two years.”

Interim dean of the college, Chris Ross, said the college began addressing the funding issue two years ago by seeking to enroll more nonresident students. Those students pay higher tuition and fees. The college doubled the number of nonresident students admitted from 24 to 48 in the fall.

The fall is class is the largest in the nearly 70-year-old veterinary medicine program’s history.

Ross said that amid a bad budget year the school also lost faculty who retired or left for another job. He said those positions were held open to help offset lost fund. However, that impacted the faculty-student ratio.

The university will now be providing the college with $600,000 in new revenue each year to support hiring new faculty, Ross said.

“There is urgency to try to replace faculty we lost,” Ross said. “We’ve undertaken an aggressive hiring program to rebuild faculty numbers.”

The college has filled 10 positions since 2016.

The veterinary college is producing successful graduates, according to Ross. He said the class of 2017 had a 100 percent pass rate on the board exam. Those graduates started working with a starting salary $6,000 more than the national average, Ross said.

Information from: The Oklahoman,