WICHE's Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) enables students in 10 Western states and the CNMI to enroll in selected out-of-state professional healthcare programs and pay reduced tuition. States typically fund students to enroll through PSEP if a professional healthcare program is not available at one of their in-state public institutions. The following professional degree studies are supported through PSEP: Dentistry (DDS or DMD); allopathic medicine (MD); occupational therapy (MOT); optometry (OD); osteopathic medicine (DO); pharmacy (PharmD); physical therapy (DPT); physician assistant (degrees vary); podiatry (DPM); and veterinary medicine (DVM). Applicants must be certified as residents of their home states; application process varies by state.
Health professionals are in high demand, especially in underserved rural areas of the West. Educating more students for careers in healthcare is crucial. But it doesn’t make fiscal sense for less populous states to create their own programs in every health care field. With out-of-state tuition for some health care programs often exceeding resident tuition by over 300 percent, this can be daunting for tomorrow’s health professionals. It may saddle them in debt, force them to leave their community for more lucrative opportunities, or discourage them from pursuing a passion to heal.