The VIN Foundation announced Feb. 7 the launch of its Student Debt Center, a resource for all things related to educational debt, in particular, veterinary students' debt. Currently, the debt-to-income ratio among recent veterinary graduates averages around 2:1.
“With veterinarians leaving school having a debt load routinely exceeding two times their salary, and far surpassing the ‘healthy’ debt-to-income ratio of most professions, this is a critical issue impacting the veterinary profession. Veterinary student debt-related stress is taking a toll on individuals and the profession—a toll measured in physical, emotional, and financial stress,” according to a foundation release.
The Student Debt Center is made up of the following sections:
- The Cost of Education Map, which gives a look at the cost of veterinary schools, taking into consideration in-state, out-of-state, and private tuition along with living expenses.
- The Student Loan Repayment Simulator, an interactive program giving detailed repayment cost comparisons based on anticipated income, family information, total loan amount, and repayment plan. A forgiveness planning module also helps those using income-driven repayment plans to understand and plan for the estimated tax consequences of debt forgiveness.
- WikiDebt, a resource library for all things dealing with educational debt specific to veterinary students and veterinarians.
VIN Foundation’s student debt expert, Dr. Tony Bartels, said in the release, “Helping veterinarians understand their borrowing and loan repayment options is key to surviving this crisis. It starts before veterinary school and continues for the duration of loan repayment; this is where the VIN Foundation can help our colleagues climb, survive, and thrive no matter how high their debt load.”
A year ago April, the AVMA, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and Michigan State University hosted the Fix the Debt summit to identify and develop solutions to help ease the financial burdens on students and young veterinarians. Since the summit, the AVMA and AAVMC have been leading a Fix the Debt initiative that involves collaborating with more than 100 volunteers from over 30 organizations, including the VIN Foundation. Strategic working groups have been formed that are focused on two areas—reducing debt and increasing income.
The Student Debt Center is a free resource and is available here. The VIN Foundation, created by members of the Veterinary Information Network in 2005, is a nonprofit providing tools and resources to support veterinary students and veterinarians throughout their careers.
Related JAVMA content: