Updated January 2009
340.335. Loan payment program for veterinary graduates--fund created
1. Sections 340.335 to 340.350 establish a loan repayment program for graduates of approved veterinary medical schools who practice in areas of defined need and shall be known as the "Large Animal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program".
2. The "Large Animal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Fund" is hereby created in the state treasury. All funds recovered from an individual pursuant to section 340.347 and all funds generated by loan repayments and penalties received pursuant to section 340.347 shall be credited to the fund. The moneys in the fund shall be used by the department of agriculture to provide loan repayments pursuant to section 340.343 in accordance with sections 340.335 to 340.350.
As used in sections 340.335 to 340.405, the following terms shall mean:
(1) "Areas of defined need", areas designated by the department pursuant to section 340.339, when services of a large animal veterinarian are needed to improve the veterinarian-patient ratio in the area, or to contribute professional veterinary services to an area of economic impact;
(2) " College", the college of veterinary medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia;
(3) "Department", the Missouri department of agriculture;
(4) "Director", director of the Missouri department of agriculture;
(5) "Eligible student", a resident who has been accepted as a full-time student at the University of Missouri-Columbia enrolled in the doctor of veterinary medicine degree program at the college of veterinary medicine;
(6) "Large animal veterinarian", veterinarians licensed pursuant to this chapter, engaged in general or large animal practice as their primary focus of practice, and who have a substantial portion of their practice devoted to large animal veterinary medicine;
(7) "Qualified applicant", an eligible student approved by the department for participation in the large animal veterinary student loan program established by sections 340.375 to 340.405;
(8) "Qualified employment", employment as a large animal veterinarian and where a substantial portion of business involves the treatment of large animals on a full-time basis in Missouri located in an area of need as determined by the department of agriculture. Qualified employment shall not include employment with a large-scale agribusiness enterprise, corporation, or entity. Any forgiveness of such principal and interest for any qualified applicant engaged in qualified employment on a less than full-time basis may be prorated to reflect the amounts provided in this section;
(9) "Resident", any person who has lived in this state for one or more years for any purpose other than the attending of an educational institution located within this state.
340.339. Designation as area of defined need
The department shall designate counties, communities or sections of rural areas as areas of defined need as determined by the department by rule.
340.341. Rules and regulations
1. The department shall adopt and promulgate rules establishing standards for determining eligible persons for loan repayment pursuant to sections 340.335 to 340.350. Such standards shall include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) Citizenship or permanent residency in the United States;
(2) Residence in the state of Missouri;
(3) Enrollment as a full-time veterinary medical student in the final year of a course of study offered by an approved educational institution in Missouri;
(4) Application for loan repayment.
2. The department shall not grant repayment for more than six veterinarians each year.
340.343. Contract for repayment of educational loans; provisions
1. The department shall enter into a contract with each individual qualifying for repayment of educational loans. The written contract between the department and an individual shall contain, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) An agreement that the state agrees to pay on behalf of the individual, loans in accordance with section 340.345 and the individual agrees to serve for a time period equal to four years, or such longer period as the individual may agree to, in an area of defined need, such service period to begin within one year of graduation by the individual with a degree of doctor of veterinary medicine;
(2) A provision that any financial obligations arising out of a contract entered into and any obligation of the individual which is conditioned thereon is contingent upon funds being appropriated for loan repayments;
(3) The area of defined need where the person will practice;
(4) A statement of the damages to which the state is entitled for the individual's breach of the contract;
(5) Such other statements of the rights and liabilities of the department and of the individual not inconsistent with sections 340.335 to 340.350.
2. The department may stipulate specific practice sites contingent upon department-generated large animal veterinarian need priorities where applicants shall agree to practice for the duration of their participation in the program.
340.345. Loan repayment program requirements; department contribution; repayment schedule
1. A loan payment provided for an individual pursuant to a written contract under the large animal veterinary medicine loan repayment program shall consist of payment on behalf of the individual of the principal, interest and related expenses on government and commercial loans received by the individual for tuition, fees, books, laboratory and living expenses incurred by the individual.
2. For each year of obligated services that an individual contracts to serve in an area of defined need, the department may pay up to twenty thousand dollars on behalf of the individual for loans described in subsection 1 of this section.
3. The department may enter into an agreement with the holder of the loans for which repayments are made under the large animal veterinary medicine loan repayment program to establish a schedule for the making of such payments if the establishment of such a schedule would result in reducing the costs to the state.
4. Any qualifying communities providing a portion of a loan repayment shall be considered first for placement.
1. An individual who has entered into a written contract with the department or an individual who is enrolled at the college and fails to maintain an acceptable level of academic standing or voluntarily terminates such enrollment or is dismissed before completion of such course of study or fails to become licensed pursuant to this chapter within one year after graduation shall be liable to the state for the amount which has been paid on such individual's behalf pursuant to the contract.
2. If an individual breaches the written contract of the individual by failing either to begin such individual's service obligation or to complete such service obligation, the state shall be entitled to recover from the individual an amount equal to the sum of:
(1) The total of the amounts paid by the state on behalf of the individual, including interest; and
(2) An amount equal to the unserved obligation penalty, which is the total number of months of obligated service which were not completed by an individual, multiplied by five hundred dollars.
3. The department may act on behalf of a qualified community to recover from an individual described in subsections 1 and 2 of this section the portion of a loan repayment paid by such community for such individual.
340.350. Effectiveness provision
No rule or portion of a rule promulgated pursuant to the authority of sections 340.335 to 340.350 shall become effective unless it has been promulgated pursuant to the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo.
Large Animal Veterinary Student Loan Program
340.375. Program implementation--advisory panel, members--rules and regulations
1. The department of agriculture shall implement and administer the large animal veterinary student loan program established under sections 340.375 to 340.405, and the large animal veterinary medicine loan repayment program established under sections 340.335 to 340.350.
2. An advisory panel of not more than five members shall be appointed by the director. The panel shall consist of three licensed large animal veterinarians, the dean of the college or his or her designee, and one public member from the agricultural sector. The panel shall make recommendations to the director on the content of any rules, regulations or guidelines under sections 340.335 to 340.405 prior to their promulgation. The panel may make recommendations to the director regarding fund allocations for loans and loan repayment based on current veterinarian shortage needs.
3. The department of agriculture shall promulgate reasonable rules and regulations for the administration of sections 340.375 to 340.405, including but not limited to rules for disbursements and repayment of loans. It shall prescribe the form, the time and method of filing applications and supervise the proceedings thereof. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010, RSMo, that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536, RSMo, and, if applicable, section 536.028, RSMo. This section and chapter 536, RSMo, are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536, RSMo, to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2007, shall be invalid and void.
340.381. Veterinary student loan payment fund created, use of funds
There is hereby created in the state treasury the "Veterinary Student Loan Payment Fund", which shall consist of general revenue appropriated to the large animal veterinary student loan program, voluntary contributions to support or match program activities, money collected under section 340.396, and funds received from the federal government. The state treasurer shall be custodian of the fund and shall approve disbursements from the fund in accordance with sections 30.170 and 30.180, RSMo. Upon appropriation, money in the fund shall be used solely for the administration of sections 340.375 to 340.405. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 33.080, RSMo, to the contrary, any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium shall not revert to the credit of the general revenue fund. The state treasurer shall invest moneys in the fund in the same manner as other funds are invested. Any interest and moneys earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund.
340.384. Contract for repayment
The department of agriculture shall enter into a contract with each qualified applicant receiving financial assistance under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405 for repayment of the principal and interest.
340.387. Application for financial assistance--contingent upon college acceptance
Eligible students may apply to the department for financial assistance under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405. If, at the time of application for a loan, a student has formally applied for acceptance at the college, receipt of financial assistance is contingent upon acceptance and continued enrollment at the college. A qualified applicant may receive financial assistance for each academic year he or she remains a student in good standing at the college.
340.390. Awarding of loans, amount, priority
Up to six qualified applicants per academic year may be awarded loans of up to eighty thousand dollars per applicant under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405. Priority for loans shall be given to eligible students who have established financial need. All financial assistance shall be made from funds credited to the veterinary student loan payment fund.
340.393. Schedules for repayment--interest, amount--interest and principal forgiven through qualified employment
The department shall establish schedules for repayment of the principal and interest on any financial assistance made under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405. Interest at the rate of nine and one-half percent per annum shall be charged on all financial assistance made under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405, but the interest and principal of the total financial assistance granted to a qualified applicant at the time of the successful completion of a doctor of veterinary medicine degree program shall be forgiven through qualified employment.
340.396. Repayment, begins when--recipients who cease study before completion of degree or graduation
The financial assistance recipient shall repay the financial assistance principal and interest beginning not more than one year after completion of the degree for which the financial assistance was made in accordance with the repayment contract. If an eligible student ceases his or her study prior to successful completion of a degree or graduation from the college, interest at the rate specified in section 340.393 shall be charged on the amount of financial assistance received from the state under the provisions of sections 340.375 to 340.405, and repayment, in accordance with the repayment contract, shall begin within ninety days of the date the financial aid recipient ceased to be an eligible student. All funds repaid by recipients of financial assistance to the department shall be deposited in the veterinary student loan payment fund for use pursuant to sections 340. 375 to 340.405.
340.399. Deferral of payments, when, review
The department shall grant a deferral of interest and principal payments to a financial assistance recipient who is pursuing a post-degree training program, or upon special conditions established by the department. The deferral shall not exceed four years. The status of each deferral shall be reviewed annually by the department to ensure compliance with the intent of this section.
340.402. Actions to recover amount due
When necessary to protect the interest of the state in any financial assistance transaction under sections 340.375 to 340.405, the department may institute any action to recover any amount due.
340.405. Department not obligated to enter into contracts--availability of funds--expiration
1. Sections 340.375 to 340.405 shall not be construed to require the department to enter into contracts with individuals who qualify for education loans or loan repayment programs when federal, state and local funds are not available for such purposes.
2. Sections 340.375 to 340.405 shall not be subject to the provisions of sections 23.250 to 23.298, RSMo.
3. Sections 340.375 to 340.405 shall expire on June 30, 2013.