Get Help Paying for a Veterinary Medical Education
Are you concerned about the potential high cost of a veterinary medical education? Here are some options that could help.
Higher education is a much better investment than almost any other alternative, even for the "Class of the Great Recession," according to an analysis from the Brookings Institutions. And despite the costs of a veterinary medical education, there are new loan repayment and forgiveness options, as well as scholarships, that make obtaining a veterinary medical degree financially achievable for those who desire it.
It helps to plan ahead because veterinary medical salaries can vary greatly. Do you want work as a part-time associate while you raise a family, or do you want to own your own practice? Do you want to compete as a small companion animal business owner, or pursue research? Even those who end up with debt that is typical for medical professionals ($100,000-plus) can minimize the impact of that debt by choosing career paths that either take advantage of loan repayment and forgiveness programs, or that offer more lucrative salaries. Learn more about veterinary salaries here.
In the meantime, this page outlines some loan repayment/forgiveness and scholarship options, but the AAVMC encourages you to explore on your own as well, particularly at the state level, where many attractive but little-known options exist that vary by state, for example, this IFAA Incoming Freshman Winner's Circle Agriculture Scholarship
provided by the Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement (IFAA.) Also, each college has scholarships that prospective students could inquire about and a number have scholarships for dual degree students seeking graduate degrees such as the Ph.D. in discipline-based research programs.
SOME LOAN FORGIVENESS AND REPAYMENT OPTIONS
- Federal Stafford loans are fixed-rate student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least part-time.
- Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, borrowers can have payments forgiven after 10 years in exchange for working full-time in certain public service jobs.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) that will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve for three years in areas where there is a designated shortage of veterinarians.
- Income-based repayment is a new way to make paying your loans more manageable. This site can help you to navigate your options.
- Due to a shortage of food supply veterinarians, many states offer loan repayment programs for veterinarians who practice food supply veterinary medicine. View a list of participating states and get more information.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program encourages promising young researchers and scientists with DVMs or other health professional doctoral degrees to pursue research careers by repaying up to $35, 000 of their qualified student loan debt each year.
Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)
This program repays up to $120,000 over three years to repay veterinary school loans.
Army Specialty Pay Veterinarians may qualify for up to $2,000 to $5,000 annually through the Diplomate Board Certified Pay program. The Diplomate award in a specialty must be recognized by AVMA.
Armed Forces F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) Qualifying students receive full tuition at any accredited veterinary, medical, dental, psychology or optometry program, plus a generous monthly stipend of more than $2,000. There is an active duty service obligation to the U.S. Army is one year of service for every year you receive the scholarship.
Federal Faculty Loan Repayment Program (administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) This program will repay up to $40,000 in student loans for eligible health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds including veterinary medical college faculty. Individuals selected to participate in the program agree to serve on the faculty of an accredited health professions college or university for 2 years. Participants should also receive matching funds from their employing educational institution.
State-funded Loan Repayment Programs A number of states have passed legislation establishing their own loan repayment or loan forgiveness programs for veterinarians. For more information, view the
AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department's Summary Report of State veterinary loan repayment programs.
- On August 5, 2012, the AAVMC Board of Directors received the
Student Debt Initiative Report, a study and recommendations on how AAVMC and its member schools and colleges can help veterinary medical students better manage their educational debt.
SOME SCHOLARSHIP OPTIONS
The AAVMC's work includes ongoing support for both public and private initiatives designed to reduce veterinary student debt through scholarships and loan-forgiveness programs.
- The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps offers a full-tuition scholarship, plus a monthly allowance, in exchange for military training and reserve service. Learn about a veterinarian who benefited from the program.
- The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) offers an Animal Health Student Scholarship Program that focuses on meeting the ongoing needs of the veterinary profession. The AVMF page also lists a number of other scholarships, including corporate-sponsored scholarships from Zoetis and Merck.
- In addition to awarding scholarships to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students attending accredited colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States, the AVMF selects one applicant to receive a scholarship from the Winn Feline Foundation. This $2,500 award is given to a 3rd or 4th year veterinary student who demonstrates a keen interest in cats.
- The Winner's Circle Scholarship Program, sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and The Race for Education, is designed to encourage and support veterinary students intending to enter equine veterinary medicine. The goal of the program is to award one scholarship per year to a deserving student at each of the 36 colleges of veterinary medicine throughout North American and the West Indies that sponsor a national chapter of the Student Chapters of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP). The application is available for download here, however, applications must be processed through local chapters.
- Bayer rolled out the 2014 Bayer Excellence in Communication Award, which awards scholarships totaling $72,500 to veterinary students at 28 schools across North America. The award, which is coordinated through individual schools, is designed to encourage development of effective communication skills among future veterinarians and offers eligible students the chance to compete for one $2,500 scholarship at each participating school by demonstrating strong communication skills with a client in a clinical setting. The national winner receives an additional $2,500.
Do you know of other loan or scholarship options that students should know about? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know.