Devoting part or all of your career to public service, non-profit work, or rural practice can be a strategy to manage student debt. If these career paths interest you, there are government-funded programs you should know about.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining debt on eligible loans for borrowers who have worked at least 10 years in public service or the nonprofit sector. It's a powerful resource for veterinarians working in public health, public service, or private nonprofits.
To qualify for and use PSLF, there are important rules you'll want to follow. We've broken those down for you: Making PSLF work for you.
Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) pays up to $25,000 a year toward qualified student loans of eligible veterinarians who work in areas designated by the federal government as having veterinary shortages. Qualifying veterinarians agree to serve in these areas for at least three years. Learn more about VMLRP and how to apply on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
Some states offer their own loan repayment or forgiveness programs for veterinarians. See what’s available in your state.
Income-driven repayment plans
Income-driven repayment plans (IDRs) are available to borrowers with direct federal student loans based on income level. They offer debt forgiveness, but they differ greatly from Public Service Loan Forgiveness and other programs because the borrower has to pay taxes on the amount of debt that’s forgiven at the end. Learn about PAYE, REPAYE and other income-driven repayment plans in these learning modules about loan repayment strategies on My Veterinary Life.
AVMA supports these programs
AVMA is a leading supporter of federal legislation and policies that improve rural America's access to livestock and public health veterinarians through student loan support, federal grants, and other programs. In fact, rural veterinary care is one of our key advocacy priorities.