Frequently Asked Questions

Program Questions

What is the Regional Contract Program? 

  • The Regional Contract Program is a tuition-savings program offered by the Southern Regional Education Board especially for students in the health professions. If you are qualified, it enables you to pursue a first-professional health degree that is not available in your home state at selected out-of-state institutions, yet pay in-state tuition and fees at public institutions, and reduced tuition at private institutions. 
  • Students who live in a participating state and want to earn a degree in dentistry, medicine, optometry, osteopathic medicine, podiatry and veterinary medicine are eligible to participate.

Which states participate? 

  • At this time, seven of SREB’s member states participate:  Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. SREB also has arrangements with institutions in Illinois and Ohio. The programs and numbers of places available in programs are determined and negotiated by each state. 
  • Find your state’s RCP web page >

What programs are available?

  • SREB’s RCP includes these first-professional degree programs:
    • Dentistry
    • Optometry
    • Osteopathic Medicine
    • Podiatric Medicine
    • Veterinary Medicine

Which colleges and universities participate? What programs do they offer? 

  • Auburn University, AL — Veterinary Medicine
  • Louisiana State University, LA — Veterinary Medicine
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, LA — Dentistry
  • Meharry Medical College, TN — Dentistry
  • Mississippi State University, MS — Veterinary Medicine
  • Northeastern State University, OK – Optometry
  • Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Science, OK — Veterinary Medicine
  • Pikeville University-Kentucky College of Optometry, KY - Optometry
  • Southern College of Optometry, TN — Optometry
  • Texas A&M, Baylor College of Dentistry, TX — Dentistry
  • Tuskegee University, AL — Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL — Optometry
  • University of Georgia, GA — Veterinary Medicine
  • University of Houston, TX — Optometry
  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center, TN — Dentistry

Student Questions

Who qualifies? 

  • To qualify for the Regional Contract Program, you must be a certified legal resident of an SREB member state that participates in the program. You must complete the certification process for your state of residence and be admitted into the participating institution’s program of study.
  • The contracting institutions select the most qualified students to receive RCP status and pay in-state tuition. A limited number of students will be selected by the institution from each of the participating states.

How do I apply? 

  • There are two steps.
    1. If you live in a participating state, first request an application form from your state RCP certification officer. Certification does not admit you to the program — it simply confirms that you are a qualified resident according to the definition established by your state and are eligible for consideration. Generally, you will be required to provide proof of residency (such as copies of your driver’s license, voter registration, state tax return or other documents). To contact your state RCP officer and learn about specific requirements, visit your state’s RCP Web page.  (For your records, please keep a copy of all documents submitted.)
    2. Second, apply for admission to the participating institution for the degree program of your choice. Be sure to notify the admissions office that you have submitted paperwork for participation in the RCP.
  • Upon certification of residency, your state certification officer will confirm you as eligible for participation in the RCP and will send copies of the certificate.
  • Each participating institution then selects and notifies the students who will receive RCP status and pay in-state tuition. Because institutions are limited in the number of RCP students they may select, based upon the monies funded by state appropriations, only a limited number of students will be selected.
  • To avoid the last-minute flood of applications (particularly in July and August), you are encouraged to start the application process early.

Are there any restrictions on program enrollment? 

  • Yes, restrictions can be set at the discretion of the participating college, university or state. For example, after you earn your degree, some states may require you to return to your home state to practice for a specific number of years. Failure to do so may require you to reimburse the state for support. Your state certification officer will provide you with specific details and requirements.

Are spaces limited and competitive? 

  • Yes, participating institutions interview qualified candidates and determine which of the students will receive the RCP tuition reduction. Once the institutions’ RCP allotments are filled, they may notify any additional applicants that participation is unavailable but may be reviewed again if an awarded student does not continue his or her enrollment.

How long does it take to process my application? 

  • While there is no deadline to submit the application to the state certification officer, please allow two-three months for processing.

What are the benefits for participating in the program? 

  • There are two significant benefits for students participating in the RCP. First, by virtue of your home state contracting for a certain number of entering spaces, you can be assured that qualified applicants from your state will be admitted. Secondly, you will pay in-state tuition. With out-of-state tuition rates sometimes double the tuition rate for in-state students, this can be a significant savings over the course of your degree program.

Will participation in the RCP ensure I receive the in-state tuition benefit for the duration of my program of study? 

  • In most cases, you will continue to receive the in-state tuition benefit as long as you remain in good standing and making yearly progress toward your degree. Students who drop out of a program and then seek to return or who take a leave of absence will lose the benefit and may not be eligible for it upon return, since states often fill their allotments with other students.

What if my state is not listed or is not an SREB state? 

What other special initiatives for college students does SREB offer? 

  • The Academic Common Market 

    • The Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition-savings program for college students in the SREB member states who want to pursue degrees in many fields of study that are not offered by their in-state institutions. Qualified students can enroll in out-of-state institutions at in-state tuition rates. Hundreds of undergraduate and graduate programs are available for residents of SREB states. 
    • As with the RCP, applicants must meet state residency and college program requirements. First-professional degree programs, such as law, medicine, dentistry, optometry and pharmacy, are not offered in the ACM and cannot be requested.
  • SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program 
    • More than one-third of America’s college students are people of color. But the percentages of college and university faculty who are members of racial/ethnic minority groups are only small fractions of the total. Nationwide, about 5 percent of faculty are African-American, about 3 percent are Hispanic and about 1 percent are Native American. The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program is working to change that. The program is part of a nationwide initiative, the Compact for Faculty Diversity, to produce more minority Ph.D.s and encourage them to seek faculty positions.