Posted Sept. 3, 2014
The AVMA House of Delegates voted July 25 to approve a resolution recommending that the AVMA actively pursue passage of legislation to reduce the interest rate on veterinary students’ federal loans.
As Congress is working to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the AVMA Governmental Relations Division already had been seeking to reduce the gap in interest rates between federal student loans for undergraduate students and for graduate and professional students
The California VMA submitted the resolution on the issue. The statement about the resolution notes that the interest rate from 2006-2013 on the federal Stafford Loan was 6.8 percent for graduate and professional loans but only 3.86 percent for undergraduate loans. The statement cites a 2013 survey conducted by the California VMA as finding that 28 percent of respondents said they might not have become veterinarians if they had known the debt-to-earnings ratio.
The California VMA believes that “a strong effort to pursue lowering the veterinary debt load will greatly impact the future of the veterinary profession.”
Gina Luke, assistant director of the AVMA Governmental Relations Division, said the AVMA’s policies seek to improve the terms and conditions of federal student loans. Among other efforts, the AVMA has been urging Congress to reinstate the in-school interest subsidy for federal student loan money borrowed by graduate and professional students. She said the AVMA will continue to evaluate every bill relating to federal student aid and the accreditation of higher education.