The VISION of the Veterinary Debt Initiative is for veterinarians to thrive in rewarding and financially sustainable careers.

The MISSION of the Veterinary Debt Initiative is to educate, advocate and provide leadership to ensure veterinarians can pursue a lifetime of financial success in a personally and professionally rewarding career.

The STRATEGIC PLAN is to raise awareness and provide access to resources that will enable Pre-Veterinary students, veterinary students and veterinarians to make highly informed financial decisions.


 

The Veterinary Debt Initiative has developed a multi-year strategic plan that encompasses the identification of initiative priorities and the objectives that support them. Key action to accomplish the objectives have been mapped out in a timeline. View the Veterinary Debt Initiative Strategic Plan 2018-2021 in a charted format here.





Check out previous articles that have caught the Veterinary Debt Initiative's Attention!



The Veterinary Debt Initiative (VDI) introduced an infographic during the recent AVMA meeting in Washington focused on tuition and the cost of education. The publication is designed to help students and other stakeholders understand some of the forces affecting the cost of veterinary college tuition, how those costs are formulated and share other fiscal and budgetary information.



Download Tuition Infographic

Here’s a sampling of articles and updates that focus on issues relevant to the Veterinary Debt Initiative.
Edition 1.6

 Veterinary Debt Initiative Lead Organizations Finalize Plans for 2019  |   A Census of Veterinarians in the United States | A New Report Suggests Financial Literacy Courses Should Be Mandatory for Students | AVMA Ecomonics Team Provides Primer on Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness | CSU Takes Integrative Approach to Financial Education for DVM Students | My Veterinary Life Podcast Discusses Student Debt | NBER Working Paper Examines Effects of Decline in State Funding for Public Universities | Veterinary Debt Relief Program Receives Make the Difference Award | Survey Respondents Say They Regret Student Loans | Veterinary Debt in the Spotlight: VDI Speaker Events  


Veterinary Debt Initiative Lead Organizations Finalize Plans for 2019

The lead organizations of the Veterinary Debt Initiative (VDI) convened July 11 in Schaumburg, IL for a strategic planning and execution meeting. VDI is led by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives and is focused on helping veterinarians thrive in financially sustainable and rewarding careers. The VDI team plans to continue directing its efforts in advocacy, research and resource development for the remainder for 2019 and support groups in the veterinary profession that need assistance with educational debt immediately. VDI will release its new educational tool at the AVMA Convention August 5.


A Census for Veterinarians in the United States

The July 15 issue of the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association* featured an in-depth analysis of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) electronic membership database, presenting information on 113,394 veterinarians living in the United States in 2018. In addition to demographic and employment-related information, the article briefly discussed the implications of the rapid increase in educational debt new veterinarians face upon graduation. “High educational debt combined with low starting salaries can put high levels of stress on veterinarians,” said Dr. Matthew Salois, Chief Economist of AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Division. The AVMA works closely with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives to lead the Veterinary Debt Initiative.

*Access requires AVMA or SAVMA membership


A New Report Suggests Financial Literacy Courses Should Be Mandatory for Students 

Here’s what Inside Higher Ed recently wrote about a new report from the federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission: “A new report from the federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission says that students lack financial literacy. The fix? Institutions should educate their students in this area via mandatory personal finance courses, the report says. Integrating financial literacy into core curricula, communicating with students about financial topics throughout their studies and using trained peer educators also are recommended.”


AVMA Economics Team Provides Primer on Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program was explained in the recent dvm360 column, “Will the government forgive your veterinary student loan debt?” The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Economics team mapped out PSLP’s criteria for application and explored PSLF’s recent legislative review by Congress.

Related resources:

o   For more information about PSLF, visit AVMA’s PLSF webpage.

o   If you or someone you know was denied from PSLF because you were not in the correct repayment plan, you may be eligible to receive funds under a Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Learn more at studentaid.ed.gov.  

o   The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) wants to hear from veterinarians who would be impacted by cuts to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Share your story here.


CSU Takes Integrative Approach to Financial Education for DVM Students

Research in medical and financial education has suggested that there are three key factors needed for knowledge retention and application: convenient timing, relevant subject matter and individualization. A new integrative approach to financial education incorporating these factors was developed by the Colorado State University (CSU) Financial Education Specialist (FES). The Journal of Veterinary Medical Education recently published the article, Integrating Individual Student Advising into Financial Education to Optimize Financial Literacy in Veterinary Students”* which stated that the FES provides “one-on-one financial advising to DVM students” and “targeted curricular interventions and optional workshops.” The article concluded, “Data from student and alumni surveys suggest that this integrative approach to financial education both improves knowledge and alters behaviors surrounding financial management.” Co-author Chad Jones added, “A lot of these students are financially stressed and we want to make them aware of their financial world and know where their money is going.”

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges also weighed in on the paper:  “We understand how important it is for our students to be as informed as possible about how the financial decisions they make will define their educational journeys and shape their professional careers,” said AAVMC CEO Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “This is valuable and significant work because it examines and describes some of the most effective methods for helping our students do that. I think it also speaks of how important the members of our college communities view this effort. We appreciate their contribution to a critical and emerging body of knowledge.” AAVMC partners with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives to lead the Veterinary Debt Initiative.

*Access requires Journal of Veterinary Medical Education subscription


My Veterinary Life Podcast Discusses Student Debt

The July 9th episode of the American Veterinary Medical Association podcast “My Veterinary Life” featured Drs. Tony Bartels and Audra Fenimore. Besides discussing the benefits of being married to a fellow veterinarian, Veterinary Information Network’s Dr. Bartels gave advice on handling student debt and loan repayment options.

MVL podcast locations:

Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/avma-my-veterinary-life/id1455412037
Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/show/3352022
Google Play (requires account): https://play.google.com/music/m/Ianmcbjle7xcki3kdslhpwgbnfi?t=AVMA_My_Veterinary_Life
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/32fFTGRDD0ZZrKdyzgAPi3


NBER Working Paper Examines Effects of Decline in State Funding for Public Universities
 

A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper “Public Universities: The Supply Side of Building a Skilled Workforce,”* examined the effects of the persistent decline in state funding for public universities. The Chronicle of Higher Education provided commentary on the paper in “‘These Cuts Have Real Consequences’: A New Study Surveys the Damage of State Disinvestment in Public Universities”** and stated that less funding for the universities was “bad news” and “will continue to have, damaging repercussions, suggesting reason to be concerned about the future of public higher education.” The study looked at trends at public universities where higher education funding cuts were most dramatic (Michigan, Wisconsin) and compared them with states where subsidies stayed put (New York, Texas). 

Ralph Johnson, CEO of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE), commented that “The words used by the Chronicle of Higher Education – such as ‘real consequences’ and ‘damaging repercussions’ – provide a sobering assessment of the impact of funding cuts on higher education.  State veterinary medical associations now have evidence of systemic damage from two respected national entities that can be used in dialog with state legislators, coupled with the real-life examples from local veterinarians about the crushing burden of educational debt.  Associating increased funding for higher education with availability of skilled workers, research capacity, and economic growth will resonate with state legislators.” VMAE leads the Veterinary Debt Initiative with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges.

*Access requires specific credentials

**Access requires Chronicle of Higher Education subscription


Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program Receives Make the Difference Award 

Banfield Pet Hospital received a global Make the Difference Award on June 20 from its parent company—Mars, Inc.—for its Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program. Dr. Kirk Breuninger, who was the project manager for Banfield’s Student Debt Relief Program, accepted this award on behalf of the practice. "When I graduated from veterinary school, I had finally achieved a lifelong dream to be part of the profession I loved so much – but it came at a high cost," said Dr. Kirk Breuninger, Director of Strategic Planning, Banfield Pet Hospital. “Like most early career veterinarians, my student debt weighed heavily on me and made financial freedom very challenging. The new student debt benefit shows Banfield is listening to and addressing the needs of its associates."

In 2017, Banfield Pet Hospital launched its Veterinary Student Debt Relief Program, designed to help ease the burden of student debt for its associates. The program includes three options for eligible associates:

1.      A monthly student loan contribution of $150 paid by Banfield directly toward its doctors’ qualifying educational loans (taxes paid)

2.      A one-time $2,500 payment for each qualifying Banfield student program in which a doctor participated before graduating, for a  maximum of $10,000 (taxes paid)

3.      A low-interest refinancing option with supplementary 0.25% interest-rate reduction for all Banfield associates with qualifying loans

In the first year alone, Banfield contributed more than $4 million toward helping its veterinarians pay off their student loans, and enabled more than $10 million in educational debt refinancing for its associates. 


Survey Respondents Say They Regret Student Loans  

Payscale’s recent salary survey showed that a large majority of students with a college degree regret “something about their education.” In “Biggest College Regrets,” Payscale.com reporter Jackson Gruver wrote, “By far the most common regret reported was student loans. No matter how we cut the data, student loans was the number one regret reported.”  He adds, “[These] bleak statistics on the student debt crisis, and the lasting effects such a crisis will have on younger generations, has created a conversation about the true worth of higher education.”


Veterinary Student Debt Initiative in the Spotlight: VDI Speaker Events

The Veterinary Debt Initiative (VDI) is committed to raising awareness and providing access to resources that enable pre-veterinary students, veterinary students and veterinarians to make highly informed financial decisions. Check out how VDI is leading efforts in the student debt crisis at these upcoming VDI-sponsored speaker events:

o   AVMA Convention

8/2/19: The Market for Veterinary Education and How It Affects You! 

 https://avma2019.eventkaddy.net/searchsite?search=bain

8/3/19: Decisions, Decisions: Repayment Strategies for New Veterinarians

https://avma2019.eventkaddy.net/searchsite?search=garrard

8/3/19: Contract Negotiations: Beyond Bargaining Games and Tactics https://avma2019.eventkaddy.net/searchsite?search=cantner

o   AVMA Annual Economic Summit

10/22/19: Veterinary Debt Initiative Update at Summit Dinner

o   Wellbeing Summit

11/19/19: The Collaborative Approach to the Veterinary Debt Initiative

o   Veterinary Leadership Conference

1/9-1/12/20: time and location TBD


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