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Application Review Process

This section provides insight into what happens after you submit your application.

Each application will be evaluated in a three-part process.  First, each application will be screened to ensure that it meets the administrative requirements.  Second, applications that meet the administrative requirements will be technically evaluated by a review panel.  The third part is a separate review of your loan documentation, which ensures the eligibility of your loans and calculates your award amount should your application be chosen for funding.

Whether your application is funded or not will be based on the technical evaluation of your application by the review panel.  Your loan documentation will not have an impact on the technical evaluation of your application.

VMLRP applicants will be informed of final funding decisions in September.

Administrative Review

Upon receipt of VMLRP applications, the Program Staff at NIFA reviews each application to ensure administrative requirements are met.

Although an applicant may meet the eligibility criteria, there may exist factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program.  All submitted applications shall be reviewed to ensure administrative compliance and completeness prior to an evaluation by the VMLRP application review panel.

Applications that are incomplete, including those missing supplemental information such as recommendations, as of the applicable deadline will not be considered.

Peer Review Process

After applications are vetted for completeness and eligibility during the Administrative Review phase, applications will be evaluated by a group of reviewers who are selected based upon training and experience in relevant veterinary clinical medicine, veterinary science, or veterinary specialty area fields.

In carrying out its review, the peer review panel will take into account the quality of match between an applicant’s professional training and experience and the circumstances and needs of the designated shortage situation the applicant proposes to fill.  The following evaluation criteria will be considered in the context of the factors and circumstances necessary for 1) most effective mitigation of the specific veterinary shortage situation, 2) prioritizing the relatively more severe shortages and, 3) achieving the highest likelihood that awardees will realize employment satisfaction and professional success during and beyond the term of the VMLRP agreement.  Additional criteria include, but are not limited to, the applicant’s knowledge, skills, and abilities evidenced by:

  • Formal pre-professional educational training

  • Formal training during pursuit of the DVM (or equivalent) degree

  • Formal post-DVM (or equivalent) training and specialization

  • Professional employment experience in private or public veterinary practice, or other relevant work history experiences

  • Specialty short-course certifications, accreditations, or licensures

  • Awards, honors, or special achievements

  • Recommendations

  • Content and quality of applicant’s personal statement

Loan Documentation Review Process

Concurrent with the peer review process, there will be a separate, complete administrative review of each applicant’s loan documents prior to the announcement of awards.  All applicants are required to submit supporting loan documentation (promissory notes and account statements) for each D.V.M. loan.

The applicant may be contacted during the loan documentation review process and asked to provide missing, updated, or additional documentation to confirm a loan’s eligibility for the VMLRP.

No information related to your loan documents or the amount of your debt will be revealed to the peer review panel.  The amount of your debt will not have any impact on the score your application receives from the peer review panel.

Award Process

Peer review of VMLRP applications take place in the summer following application submission.  Applicants who are selected for award consideration:

  • will be notified by email

  • receive a repayment schedule covering the period of participation

  • receive the loan repayment contract

All VMLRP awards are made in September.

Upon email notification of an award offer, applicants have 90 days to secure employment or establish a practice in the designated veterinary shortage situation.  Failure to secure employment or establish a practice in the designated veterinary shortage situation within the given timeframe may result in withdrawal of the award offer.

Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality

During the peer evaluation process, extreme care will be taken to prevent any actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may impact review of evaluation of VMLRP applications.  For the purpose of determining conflicts of interest, the academic and administrative autonomy of an institution shall be determined by reference to the current Higher Education Directory, published by Higher Education Publications, Inc., 6400 Arlington Blvd., Suite 658, Falls Church, VA 22042. Phone: (703) 532-2300. Web site: www.hepinc.com.

Names of individuals, application content, and peer evaluations will be kept confidential, except to those involved in the review process, to the extent permitted by law.  The identities of peer reviewers will remain confidential throughout the review process and will not be released to applicants.

Contact Information

For further information, contact: VMLRP.


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