March 4, 2000

 

To:††††††††††††††††† Montana Board of Regents

 

From:††††††††††††† Joyce A. Scott, Deputy Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs

 

Re: †††††††††††††††† Montana State Dental Education Needs

 

††††††††††† Staff in the Office of the Commissioner has received several inquiries about the status of dental education in Montana and has been invited to participate in a Montana Dental Access Coalition. Laurie Tobol has attended Coalition meetings and is our primary liaison. To brief the Regents on this issue, Laurie has prepared a historical overview ofdental education and access in Montana which I include.

 

Problem:Concern has arisen about the number of dentists in practice in the state, the current shortages of dental practitioners in rural communities and the prospect that these shortages could become even more widespread as more dentists reach retirement.

†††††††††††

Fiscal Note: Montana pays $14,300 per year per dental school slot in WICHE and at the University of Minnesota.This rate will increase to $14,700 in 2001.Rod Sundsted suggests there is likely to be a modest tuition increase each year: planning for the next biennium should take that into account.There are consistently two dental school slots per year at Minnesota.With WICHE, we are budgeted for one slot but have exercised some flexibility to increase to twoslots for this year.

 

MONTANA DENTAL APPLICANT HISTORY

 

 

Academic Year

Certified Applicants

 

Acceptances

 

MN Supported

WICHE Supported

 

Unsupported

1989-1990

5

4

1

3

0

1990-1991

8

7

2

4

1

1991-1992

4

3

1

2

0

1992-1993

4

4

2

2

0

1993-1994

5

4

1

2

1

1994-1995

6

2

1

1

0

1995-1996

10

2

1

1

0

1996-1997

15

5

2

1

2

1997-1998

19

5

2

2

1

1998-1999

17

3

1

2

0

1999-2000

18

9

2

2

5

TOTAL

111

48

16

22

10

 

This table shows that, until this last year, we have supported most of the accepted dental students overall.

 

The next table shows the original number of beginning dental slots appropriated by the

legislature vs. the number of studentís actually funded for each academic year.††††

 

 

 

Academic Year

 

Number of Slots

Appropriated

Number of Students

Supported Thru WICHE/MN

Number Supported

Over (Under)

Appropriation

1989/1990

4

4

0

1990/1991

6

6

0

1991/1992

4

3

(1)

1992/1993

4

4

0

1993/1994

3

3

0

1994/1995

3

2

(1)

1995/1996

3

2

(1)

1996/1997

3

3

0

1997/1998

3

4

1

1998/1999

3

3

0

1999/2000

3

4

1

Total

39

38

(1)

 

The actual number of dental students funded each year has remained close to the legislative

appropriation.Over the last 11 years, an average of less than one dental student per year went unsupported whereas in other professional fields there was an average of nine medical students, two and one-half optometry students, and three occupational therapy students, who went unsupported each year over the same period.

 

We expect to continue to see increases in both the number of certified applicants and the number of Montana students receiving acceptances each year, not only in dentistry but also in other professional fields. The current slot appropriation levels will probably be insufficient to maintain the funding balance we have had the past several years, but it is difficult to project the funding required because of the constantly changing applicant pool. Based on last yearís numbers, we could have used funding for five additional dental students.Previously, our fundingwas sufficient to support the number of students accepted.

 

Through WICHE, Montana can send as many students as we want if our students receive WICHE offers and there is enough funding to support them.In this case, there is no need to request additional slots: we simply need to secure additional funding.

 

With regard to the Minnesota contract, however, we have inquired about the availability of additional slots.Here, we would need to negotiate for the additional spaces and secure additional funding. Both North and South Dakota have posed the same question to Minnesota as these states are also dealing with dental shortage issues.Our request, along with those of the other states, is currently under review with the Dean of the Dental School at the University of Minnesota.