Funds Available from USDA for Veterinary Loan Repayment

If veterinarians work in places lacking veterinary resources, they can earn up to $25,000 each year to pay their school loans.

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Like working with large animals and looking to repay your school loans?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  announced $4.4 million in available funding to help repay veterinary school loans if veterinarians will serve in areas lacking sufficient veterinary resources. The funding is available through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“Veterinarians are critical to America’s food safety and security, as well as to the health and well-being of both animals and humans,” said Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, the NIFA administrator. “There are significant shortages of veterinarians in areas of this country, and a leading cause is the heavy cost of four years of professional veterinary medical training, which leaves current graduates of veterinary colleges with an average debt of more than $135,000.”

The VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians.

Recipients are required to commit to three years of veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage situation. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received while attending an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a DVM degree or the equivalent.

Participants are required to serve in one of three types of shortage situations: 

  • Awardees filling Type 1 shortages areas must dedicate at least 80 percent of their time to provision of food animal veterinary services. 
  • Type 2 shortages are rural areas in which awardees are obligated to provide food animal veterinary services at least 30 percent of their time. 
  • Type 3 shortage areas are dedicated to public practice and awardees must commit at least 49 percent of their time.

A map is available online describing each shortage area for FY 2016. Applications are due May 20, 2016. Please see the request for applications for more information.

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In fiscal year 2015, NIFA received 137 applications and made 49 awards.

For more information, go to NIFA website.

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