You studied, you worked hard, and you made sacrifices to follow your dream, and you've been rewarded with admission to veterinary school. You're prepared for all the study and work associated with veterinary school, but are you prepared to handle the financial burdens that come with it?
The harsh reality is that the average educational debt for 2016 veterinary school graduates including those with zero debt was $143,757.82. The average for only those 2016 veterinary school graduates with debt is $167,534.89 and over 20% has at least $200,000 in debt.1 There are factors beyond your control, such as rising tuition, that contribute to the increasing debt load. However, you should take charge of your financial future and make reasonable decisions that will contribute to your long-term future and stability. The AVMA, the Association of American Veterinary Colleges, and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives have joined together to address the issue of student debt through the Veterinary Debt Initiative. You can also view the AVMA's advocacy efforts related to federal student debt.
Managing your educational debt requires organization, common sense and responsibility. We've provided some resources for you in this section and we are developing additional resources to help veterinarians manage their debt without sacrificing their quality of life.
1. Data on average veterinary educational debt and other economic trends in the veterinary profession are published by the AVMA Veterinary Economics Division and will be available to access in March 2017.