Two congressmen who are veterinarians, Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.), have introduced federal legislation to help alleviate the cost of additional training for veterinarians.
The AVMA has taken a leadership role in advocating for the bill, which would pause student loan repayment and interest accumulation for veterinary borrowers who are pursuing additional training in veterinary residencies, internships or DVM/Ph.D. programs.
Why is this bill needed?
Currently, veterinarians who enter residencies, internships or Ph.D. programs are required to make payments on their educational loans, and the loans continue to accrue significant interest, during their time spent in training. This can present significant challenges to recruit veterinarians for specialized training. In 2019, for example, the average residency salary was about $34,000.
The VET MED Act (Veterinary Education and Training Minimizes Educational Debt, H.R. 6134) would help address this challenge and ensure the nation has enough highly trained veterinarians. It’s a simple way to eliminate a roadblock facing veterinarians who want to train for specialized fields – such as large and small animal surgery, equine medicine, and oncology.
The VET MED Act is especially important because interest accumulation can escalate quickly for veterinarians. For veterinary students borrowing to cover the cost of education, interest accumulation may range from $27,000 to $40,000. This represents a significant burden added to their repayment before they even graduate, and the prospect of further interest accumulation may discourage veterinarians from entering high-need specialty fields.
Powered by you: Add your voice
The AVMA is working with the bill’s sponsors to champion the VET MED Act, and individual voices can make a big difference to get this bill passed.
Visit AVMA’s Congressional Advocacy Network to use our simple tools to ask your member of Congress to support this important legislation.
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