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The Future of Veterinary Medicine

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.

Higher education is a much better investment than almost any other alternative, even for the "Class of the Great Recession," according to an analysis from the Brookings Institutions. And despite the costs of a veterinary medical education, there are new loan repayment and forgiveness options, as well as scholarships, that make obtaining a veterinary medical degree financially achievable for those who desire it.

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 here.

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, for example, this IFAA Incoming Freshman Winner's Circle Agriculture Scholarship
provided by the Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement (IFAA.) 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.

  • 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 2015 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.
  • The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) awards scholarships to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students attending accredited colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States. Students are encouraged to consider both traditional and non-traditional careers as they move forward in their education to understand the many options that the veterinary profession offers.
  • In addition to awarding scholarships to students attending accredited colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States, the AVMF selects one applicant to receive a scholarship from the Winn Feline Foundation. This $2,500 award is given to a 3rd or 4th year veterinary student who demonstrates a keen interest in cats.
  • 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.
  • Bayer rolled out the 2014 Bayer Excellence in Communication Award, which 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.
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. Do you know of other loan or scholarship options that students should know about? If so, please email and let us know.

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