Scholarship, loan repayment and forgiveness for veterinary medical student loans

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) offers several scholarships. Be sure to check out all the previous year winners and view a complete listing with applications on the AVMF's Veterinary Scholarship Program page.

Some veterinarians may be interested and may qualify for participation in a federal or state loan repayment program. Not every veterinarian will qualify for these programs.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)
The VMLRP was established by the National Veterinary Medical Services Act on December 6, 2003 and is the only federal program established exclusively for veterinary loan repayment. Veterinarians selected for the program practice for three years in a designated shortage situation in exchange for $25,000 in loan repayment for each year of service.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
This program was established by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. The program discharges the remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. The borrower must have made 120 payments as part of the Direct Loan program in order to obtain this benefit. Only payments made on or after October 1, 2007 count toward the required 120 monthly payments. (Borrowers may consolidate into Direct Lending in order to qualify for this loan forgiveness program starting July 1, 2008. Public service jobs include teachers, first responders, public librarians, social workers, public defenders and prosecutors, and people who work for tax-exempt charitable organizations. It also includes people who work for the government and the military. To learn more about how to qualify for the program call 1-800-433-3243. If your job doesn't qualify for public service loan forgiveness, you can still have the remaining debt forgiven after 25 years in the IBR plan. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness is not taxable under section 108(f) of the Internal Revenue Code because the forgiveness is restricted to borrowers who work in specific occupations.

Army Active Duty Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)
This program repays up to $120,000 over three years to repay veterinary school loans.

Army Specialty Pay
Veterinarians may qualify for up to $2,000 to $5,000 annually through the Diplomate Board Certified Pay program. The Diplomate award in a specialty must be recognized by AVMA.

Armed Forces F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)
Qualifying students receive full tuition at any accredited veterinary, medical, dental, psychology or optometry program, plus a generous monthly stipend of more than $2,000. There is an active duty service obligation to the U.S. Army is one year of service for every year you receive the scholarship.

Federal Faculty Loan Repayment Program (administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
This program will repay up to $40,000 in student loans for eligible health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds including veterinary medical college faculty. Individuals selected to participate in the program agree to serve on the faculty of an accredited health professions college or university for 2 years. Participants should also receive matching funds from their employing educational institution.

State-funded loan repayment programs
Numerous states have passed legislation establishing their own loan repayment or loan forgiveness programs for veterinarians. Contact the state veterinary medical association for more information.