September 01, 2008


 Senate funds veterinary student debt relief program

Posted Aug. 15, 2008

The Senate agriculture appropriations bill marked up on July 17 included a $5 million appropriation for the National Veterinary Medical Service Act.

The funding proposal follows the June 19 action of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to include a $1 million request for NVMSA in the 2009 appropriations bill. Sixty-four members of the House requested the funding level (see JAVMA, Aug. 1, 2008).

Congress passed NVMSA in 2003 to offer school debt relief to veterinarians who opt to work in underserviced areas, such as rural communities experiencing a lack of large- and mixed-animal practitioners. The Department of Agriculture was given oversight of the program but four years later had yet to implement it.

The farm bill passed by Congress in May 2008 contained language requiring the USDA to write regulations implementing the program within less than a year. The AVMA recently learned that the USDA has begun the rule-making process.