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Application Guide

The following information is a step-by-step guide to preparing and submitting an application to the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).

All eligible veterinarians are encouraged to apply for loan repayment. NIFA has a strong commitment to diversity and encourages women, individuals from underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria to apply. Please be sure to review the eligibility criteria before you submit an application for a service agreement with the VMLRP.

The current VMLRP application cycle opened on April 21, 2014.  Individuals may submit only one application each cycle.

In addition to completing the application forms, the applicant must provide loan documentation, including a promissory note and a current account statement for each loan prior to the application deadline.

Awards will be announced in September 2014.

The application is composed of eight forms:

  1. Applicant Information Form (NIFA-01-10)
  2. Personal Statement (NIFA-02-10)
  3. List of Recommenders (NIFA-03-10)
  4. Loan Information Form (NIFA-04-10)
  5. Contract (NIFA-05-10)
  6. Certifications for Application (NIFA-06-10)
  7. Intent of Employment (NIFA-07-10)
  8. Recommendations (NIFA-08-10)

Applicants are also required to include a Curriculum Vitae and an official transcript from the applicant’s professional veterinary degree program.

Please pay special attention to the Loan Information forms, which request details of all qualified loans you wish to be considered for repayment.  If you have more than one loan, complete a separate form for each individual loan.  It is important that you submit all Loan Information forms along with your application as no additional forms will be accepted once an award is approved.

Please type your answers and add your full name (Last, First, Middle) on the upper right corner of all pages.  Handwritten answers in your application will not be accepted.

Complete all sections of each application form and review the information carefully before submitting.  Mail the original forms (keep a copy for your records) and any required documentation to:

Regular mail
VMLRP Applications
Division of Animal Systems (Attn: Lisa Stephens)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
STOP 2240
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2220

Special Delivery or Overnight Mail
VMLRP Applications
Division of Animal Systems (Attn: Lisa Stephens)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
Room 3331, Waterfront Centre
800 9th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

It is expected that VMLRP applicants will propose in their application to provide professional veterinary services that 1) correspond to the shortage situations described in the nomination, and 2) serve all areas (e.g. counties, regions, clientele, etc.) described or listed in the nomination form.  If the applicant wishes to make a case for modification of 1) the species served, 2) professional activities provided, and/or 3) the approximate geographic boundaries of the service area(s) covered, as described in the nomination, a strong case should be made within the application for such modifications.

In considering such factors, applicants are encouraged to engage in prior consultation with, and receive concurrence from, the animal health official who prepared the nomination (using contact information provided for the nominator on the nomination form), and the NIFA National Program Leader serving as VMLRP manager.  Except for extenuating circumstances, applicants may not propose modifications that substantially deviate from the NIFA-designated shortage situations described in the approved nominations.

How to Complete the VMLRP Application

Please type your answers and include your full name on the upper right corner of all pages.  Handwritten answers in your application will not be accepted.

A checklist is also provided to assist you with the submission of your application.  NIFA reserves the right to contact you to request additional documentation.

Applicant Information Form (NIFA-01-10)

The Applicant Information Form collects relevant identifying, contact, and employment information from the applicant. The applicant also authorizes on this form the disclosure of information that confirms the applicant is not under a service obligation (as defined below) or has a Federal judgment lien against his/her property.

Section 1 – Provide your full legal name, including other names you may have used in the past. You also need to enter the five-digit Shortage Identification Code for the shortage situation you intend to fill. The code entered on this form must match the code entered on the Intent of Employment form (NIFA-07-10). You may apply to fill only ONE shortage situation.

Section 2 – Provide your full address, including apartment number if applicable.  Enter your home phone number, including area code. Most communication by VMLRP staff is done by email, so be sure to provide a valid email address that you check frequently (at least once a week).

Section 3 – Provide your address at work, if applicable.  Be sure to include any apartment, room, or mail stop numbers.  Also enter your work phone number and email address.

Section 4 – Provide details on your educational and practice experience, if applicable.  Information covered includes education, training, practice experience, and licensing.  If any line does not apply to you, write “NA” (for “not applicable”) on that line and go on to the next line.

Section 5 – Provide information on any existing service obligations you might have.  A service obligation is defined as required employment for a period of time in exchange for a loan-related benefit (e.g., repayment or forgiveness). If you have an existing service obligation as defined here, check YES and complete this section. If you do not have an existing service obligation, check NO and go to Section 6.

Section 6 – Providing information in this section is completely voluntary.  Failure to answer these questions will have no effect on your application.

Section 7 – Certify whether you have a judgment lien against your property or are delinquent on any debt to the United States by placing a checkmark in the appropriate boxes.  Also certify the accuracy of the information provided on this form by checking the box in the second paragraph.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

The Curriculum Vitae provides a summary of your academic and work history. The body of the CV should be limited to two pages with an optional page to list publications, patents, etc., if applicable.

Transcript

An official transcript from your professional veterinary degree program must be included in the submission of the application package. If you attended more than one school during your DVM studies, an official transcript from each school must be provided.

Personal Statement (NIFA-02-10)

The Personal Statement includes a discussion of applicant knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience relative to the shortage situation applied for.  This document must include a description of the applicant’s short-term and long-term career objectives in veterinary medicine, a plan to achieve these objectives, relevant knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience, practice plans and logistics to address the specific shortage situation to which the applicant is applying. This information should be prepared on only one side of a standard size (8 ½” x 11”) white paper with one-inch margins, typed or word processed using no type smaller than 12 point font, and double spaced.  Use an easily readable font (e.g., Geneva, Helvetica, Times New Roman).

The Personal Statement shall not exceed five double-spaced, typed pages.  This limit has been established to ensure fair and equitable competition.  The applicant’s name, page number, and the date must be included in the header of each page of the document.

List of Recommenders (NIFA-03-10) 

The List of Recommenders form identifies colleagues who can speak to the applicant’s capability to fulfill program obligations.  The name, email address, and phone number must be provided for the individuals who will be asked by the applicant to submit a recommendation on the applicant’s behalf.

Section 1 – Provide the pertinent contact information for three recommenders.

Section 2 – The applicant’s signature in this section verifies the applicant’s understanding that he/she will not have access to the recommendations that are submitted on his/her behalf.

Three separate recommendations are required for each application. 

Loan Information Form (NIFA-04-10)

This form requests information on qualified loans you want considered for the VMLRP.  If you have qualified loans with different loan servicers, complete this form for each loan servicer.  For example, if you have two loans with Sallie Mae and six loans with ECSI, you should complete two Loan Information Forms, one for Sallie Mae and one for ECSI.

For each group of loans, you need to provide promissory note(s), account statement, and a report from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). These documents should have the following identifying information: SSN, name, and address.

Section 1 – Provide the name and address of the loan servicing agency for the loan(s) you wish to be considered for repayment.  Also enter your Social Security Number (SSN). Your SSN will be used to verify your identity and determine your eligibility for loan repayment.

Section 2 – Provide details on your loan including the original loan amount (at time loan was originated), date of loan (mm/dd/yyyy), payoff information (current balance of your loan and the date of the balance), and the current interest rate of your loan. Also provide details on the current repayment status of your loan.  Include the loan type (e.g., Stafford, Perkins, Consolidated, Private, etc.). If you are completing the form for a group of loans, enter the total amount and the earliest date (first loan) where appropriate.

Section 3 – The applicant’s signature in this section provides authorization to lenders and their collection agents to disclose information on the applicant’s loans, including the loans’ repayment status.

Section 4 – This section asks your lender to sign to certify the accuracy of the information provided in Sections 1-3 of this form.  This section must be completed by an authorized representative of the institution currently servicing the loan(s). The Federal Tax Identification Number (or EIN) is also required prior to the disbursement of the first payment to this lender on behalf of the participant (successful applicant).

Sections 1-3 must be completed prior to the application deadline.

Note that the VMLRP will only repay debt incurred at an institution that is accredited at the time of attendance and graduation. If an institution received full accreditation status during the participating individual’s attendance at said institution, only the portion of veterinary school loans that were disbursed subsequent to the institution’s date of accreditation shall be repaid by the VMLRP.  This includes any scenario involving an individual transferring from a non-accredited institution to an accredited institution.  Applicants with a degree from an institution that was not accredited at the time the degree was earned remain ineligible for award.  This is regardless of the fact that the applicant may have attended an accredited institution prior to transferring to a non-accredited institution from which they received their DVM.

IMPORTANT:  Loan Document Tutorial

Please read our Loan Document Tutorial to obtain a better understanding of what is required of you in terms of providing the appropriate supporting loan documentation.

IMPORTANT:  Loan Consolidation

If you consolidated your loans, it is important that you visit our Loan Consolidation section to learn more about how a loan consolidation affects your eligibility and award level for the VMLRP.

Contract (NIFA-05-10)

The VMLRP Contract is a legal agreement that binds the selected applicant and the Secretary of USDA and/or NIFA Director to the terms and conditions for participation in the VMLRP, including obligations of both parties.  The contract must be signed by the applicant and the Secretary before the agreement can become effective.

You will receive an official copy of the contract to sign and return if you are selected for an award.  Please read the sample contract thoroughly so that you fully understand the terms and conditions.  If you have questions regarding the contract, email us at vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov.

Certifications for Application (NIFA-06-10)

Section 1 – The applicant’s signature in this section validates the contractual agreement for loan repayment. By signing this section, the applicant also authorizes the release of information about the applicant’s loans by the lending institution, servicing agent, and/or institutional program named in the application.

Section 2 – The applicant’s signature in this section certifies the accuracy of information provided in the application. The signature also confirms the applicant understands the consequences that may be imposed on the applicant in the event of false, fictitious, or fraudulent information being provided in the application.

Section 3 – The applicant’s signature in this section certifies the applicant’s request for confidential recommendations to be included in the application and used to determine the applicant’s merit as a prospective participant in the program.

Intent of Employment (NIFA-07-10)

A list of designated veterinary shortage situations will be posted on the VMLRP web site prior to the opening of the VMLRP application period.  An applicant may apply for only one shortage situation.

Section 1 – Provide information on the shortage situation the applicant intends to fill upon receipt of a VMLRP award.  The applicant must identify the designated veterinary shortage situation he/she intends to fill by entering the five-digit Shortage Identification Code.  The code is provided in the list of designated veterinary shortage situations. Additonally, provide contact information for the prospective employer/hiring offical. 

Section 2 – This section must be completed by the hiring offical. The hiring official’s signature certifies the applicant’s ability to secure an offer of employment or establish and/or maintain a practice in a veterinary shortage situation.

Recommendations (NIFA-08-10)

The Recommendation form is to be completed and submitted by colleagues identified by the applicant on Form NIFA-03-10.  The form includes ratings and short answers designed to allow reviewers to assess the applicant’s capabilities to satisfy the veterinary services component of the agreement.  The short answers should be prepared on only one side of a standard size (8 1/2” x 11”) white paper with one-inch margins, typed or word processed using no type smaller than 12 point font, and double spaced.  Use an easily readable font face (e.g., Geneva, Helvetica, Times New Roman).

Section 1 – Provide information on the recommender’s identity, position, organization, and contact information.

Section 2 – Identify the applicant the recommendation is being submitted on behalf of, including the type and length of relationship between the recommender and the applicant.

Section 3 – Select the rating of the applicant in different categories and provide short answers about the applicant on a range of subjects covering strengths and weaknesses, practice plans and logistics, and overall assessment of the applicant.

Section 4 – The recommender’s signature certifies the integrity and authenticity of the information provided about the applicant on this form.

Three separate recommendations are required.

Recommenders may send the completed recommendation form (NIFA-08-10) to the applicant for inclusion in the application package.  Alternatively, recommenders may fax the form to (202) 720-6486, e-mail the form as an attachment to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov, or mail the form to one of the following addresses provided below.

Submit Application

Applications must be mailed to the following address:

Regular mail

VMLRP Applications
Division of Animal Systems (Attn: Lisa Stephens)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
STOP 2240
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2240

Special Delivery or Overnight Mail

VMLRP Applications
Division of Animal Systems (Attn: Lisa Stephens)
USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture
United States Department of Agriculture
Room 3331, Waterfront Centre
800 9th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Applications must be received by the published deadline. Applications received after this deadline will normally not be considered for funding, even if the postmark is prior to the deadline.

Correspondence regarding submitted applications will be sent via e-mail or regular mail.  Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide accurate mailing or e-mail addresses on the Applicant Information (NIFA-01-10) form.

Please be sure to retain a copy of the entire application for your personal records.

Contact Information
For further information, contact: VMLRP.

 

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