December 15, 2013


 USDA awards $4 million for veterinarians in shortage areas

Posted Dec. 4, 2013  

The Department of Agriculture announced Nov. 12 that it offered awards totaling $4 million to nearly 50 veterinarians toward repayment of veterinary student loans in return for service in shortage areas.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture offered the awards through the federal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Recipients must commit to three years of service in a designated veterinary shortage area in food animal practice or public practice.

This is the first year that the USDA has made renewal awards through the ongoing loan repayment program. Previous awardees with educational debt exceeding $75,000, the maximum award amount, were eligible to apply for a renewal award.

Following is a breakdown of the awards:
  • The USDA offered 46 awards totaling $4,053,280, comprising loan and tax payments. The mean award was $88,115, comprising loan and tax payments.
  • The mean eligible debt for repayment on new awards was $115,793. Seventy-nine percent of new recipients received the maximum loan payment of $25,000 per year, plus tax payments.
  • Fifty-nine percent of new awards went to veterinarians who earned a veterinary degree within the past three years.
  • The awards are for service in veterinary shortage areas in 18 states. These shortage areas include four in Iowa and three each in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
  • Thirteen awards were for type 1 shortages, at least 80 percent food animal practice. Twenty-seven awards were for type 2 shortages, at least 30 percent food animal practice in rural areas. Six awards were for type 3 shortages, at least 49 percent public practice.

Additional information about the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, including the 2014 application timeline, is available here.