Applications now open for federal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

The 2023 application cycle for the federal Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program opened March 1, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

NIFA anticipates approximately $10 million in funding will be available in federal fiscal year 2023 to help mitigate food animal and certain other veterinary service shortages in the United States. The funding amount is a $500,000 increase over previous funding levels, a result of the sustained advocacy efforts by the AVMA.

The VMLRP allows qualifying veterinarians to offset a significant portion of their educational debt in return for serving in high-priority veterinary shortage situations. For this year, the USDA has identified 237 such shortage situations in 47 states.

Female veterinarian and her assistant examining a horse in the field with his owner

The VMLRP seeks to mitigate workforce shortage situations in private veterinary practice as well as public veterinary practice and specialty veterinary disciplines.

VMLRP awardees commit to providing at least three years of food animal or certain other veterinary services in a designated rural veterinary shortage area in return for repayment of up to $25,000 of educational loan debt per year with a maximum of $75,000 for a three-year contract. Program awardees are eligible to reapply to continue to serve their originally awarded shortage situation area in the last year of their contract or one year after their contract ends.

The VMLRP request for applications and the 2023 designated veterinary shortage situations are now available. A new requirement this year is a letter outlining intent to apply. Specific instructions are available on the VMLRP website. The deadline for the letter of intent is April 3, and the application deadline is April 17.

VMLRP staff will host live FAQ sessions from 4-5 p.m. EDT on March 16 and from 4-5 p.m. EDT on March 28. Questions about the VMLRP application process may be emailed to VMLRP [dot] applicationsatUSDA [dot] gov (VMLRP[dot]applications[at]USDA[dot]gov).