This year, the first cohort of participants in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program – which forgives student debt for individuals who have worked ten years in a qualifying nonprofit or government position – is slated to receive their loan forgiveness. Unfortunately, the future of this program is in danger because some lawmakers are pushing to eliminate or reduce the program.
While current reporting requirements make it difficult for us to determine the exact number of veterinarians who are planning to participate in the program, we’ve heard from many of you that this program is key to your career plans. We know that some of you have chosen careers based on this program, and that some of you have made crucial financial choices based on the promise of PSLF. Because PSLF is so important to veterinarians, the AVMA is working aggressively to protect and preserve this program.
As part of our work to preserve this program, the AVMA is regularly communicating with lawmakers to express our concerns. We’ve also joined a diverse advocacy coalition to amplify our efforts to save PSLF.
Many AVMA members have asked us what they can do to protect the future of this crucial program. One of the most effective things you can do is to tell us why the program is important to you so we can share your stories with Congress and the public. Hearing real-life stories from impacted veterinarians is a valuable tool for educating Congress and the public about the importance of this program and the important roles of public service veterinarians – like overseeing meat packing plants to keep our food supply safe, preventing the spread of dangerous zoonotic diseases like avian influenza, and performing groundbreaking research that improves the lives of animals and humans alike.
If you’re willing to share your PSLF story, you can email the AVMA’s avmacanavma [dot] org (Governmental Relations Division). We’ll contact you before sharing details of your story publicly.
Another great way to protect PSLF is to visit the AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network and send a letter to your members of Congress in support of PSLF. The AVMA has a pre-written letter available, so all you need to do is fill in your information. It takes less than five minutes!
The good news is that some lawmakers have stepped up their commitment to protecting PSLF. On Aug. 8, Congressmen Brendan F. Boyle (D-Pa.) and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) launched a Public Service Loan Forgiveness Caucus for House members. We applaud this effort, and we’re encouraging other members of Congress to join this caucus.
The AVMA will continue to support PSLF and other policies aimed at alleviating veterinary student debt. You can visit our website for more information.