Get Help Paying for a Veterinary Medical Education
Are you concerned about the potential high cost of a veterinary medical education? Here are some options that could help.
There are a variety of scholarships and loan repayment programs that make obtaining a veterinary medical education achievable.
It helps to plan ahead because veterinary medical salaries can vary greatly. Do you want work as a part-time associate while you raise a family, or do you want to own your own practice? Do you want to compete as a small companion animal business owner, or pursue research? Even those who end up with debt that is typical for medical professionals ($100,000-plus) can minimize the impact of that debt by choosing career paths that either take advantage of loan repayment and forgiveness programs, or that offer more lucrative salaries. Learn more about veterinary salaries
In the meantime, this page outlines some loan repayment/forgiveness and scholarship options, but the AAVMC encourages you to explore on your own as well, particularly at the state level, where many attractive but little-known options exist that vary by state.
Also, each college has scholarships that prospective students could inquire about and a number have scholarships for dual degree students seeking graduate degrees such as the Ph.D. in discipline-based research programs.
SOME LOAN FORGIVENESS AND REPAYMENT OPTIONS
- Federal Stafford loans are fixed-rate student loans for undergraduate and graduate students attending college at least part-time.
- Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, borrowers can have payments forgiven after 10 years in exchange for working full-time in certain public service jobs.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) that will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve for three years in areas where there is a designated shortage of veterinarians.
- Income-based repayment is a way to make paying your loans more manageable. This site can help you to navigate your options.
- Due to a shortage of food supply veterinarians, many states offer loan repayment programs for veterinarians who practice food supply veterinary medicine. View a list of participating states and get more information.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Program encourages promising young researchers and scientists with DVMs or other health professional doctoral degrees to pursue research careers by repaying up to $35,000 of their qualified student loan debt each year.
- Army Specialty Pay veterinarians may qualify for up to $2,000 to $5,000 annually through the Diplomate Board Certified Pay program. The Diplomate award in a specialty must be recognized by AVMA.
- Armed Forces F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) Qualifying students receive full tuition at any accredited veterinary, medical, dental, psychology or optometry program, plus a generous monthly stipend of more than $2,000. There is an active duty service obligation to the U.S. Army is one year of service for every year you receive the scholarship.
- Federal Faculty Loan Repayment Program (administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) This program will repay up to $40,000 in student loans for eligible health professions faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds including veterinary medical college faculty. Individuals selected to participate in the program agree to serve on the faculty of an accredited health professions college or university for 2 years. Participants should also receive matching funds from their employing educational institution.
State-funded Loan Repayment Programs A number of states have passed legislation establishing their own loan repayment or loan forgiveness programs for veterinarians. For more information, view the AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department's Summary Report of State veterinary loan repayment programs.
SOME SCHOLARSHIP OPTIONS
The AAVMC's work includes ongoing support for both public and private initiatives designed to reduce veterinary student debt through scholarships and loan-forgiveness programs.
- The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps offers a full-tuition scholarship, plus a monthly allowance, in exchange for military training and reserve service. Learn about a veterinarian who benefited from the program.
- Zoetis and the AAVMC invite second- and third-year veterinary students to apply for the
Zoetis/AAVMC Veterinary Student Scholarship Program. Each scholarship is $2,000 and eligibility criteria include academic excellence, financial need, diversity, sustainability, leadership and career path. Over the first five years of this scholarship program, Zoetis has awarded scholarships to over 2,700 exceptional veterinary students. Applications are available at Vetvance.
- The Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program is among the scholarships offered through the American Veterinary Medical Foundations. The scholarship awards $5,000 to qualifying second- and third-year veterinary students. Students attending international schools with 5- and 6-year programs should contact their administrative office to determine the school's eligibility requirement.
- The American Veterinary Medical Foundation offers other scholarships as well. Learn more about the 2nd Opportunity Research Scholarship, the AVMA/AVMF Scholarship for Veterans and more here.
- The Winner's Circle Scholarship Program, sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and The Race for Education, is designed to encourage and support veterinary students intending to enter equine veterinary medicine. The goal of the program is to award one scholarship per year to a deserving student at each of the 36 colleges of veterinary medicine throughout North American and the West Indies that sponsor a national chapter of the Student Chapters of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP). The application is available for download here, however, applications must be processed through local chapters.
- The Bayer Excellence in Communication Award awards scholarships totaling $72,500 to veterinary students at 28 schools across North America. The award, which is coordinated through individual schools, is designed to encourage development of effective communication skills among future veterinarians and offers eligible students the chance to compete for one $2,500 scholarship at each participating school by demonstrating strong communication skills with a client in a clinical setting. The national winner receives an additional $2,500.
Do you know of other loan or scholarship options that students should know about? If so, please email
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