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Frequently Asked Questions: Veterinary Services Grant Program

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) are based on questions the program has received over the past few years since 2016. 

Specific questions for Education, Extension and Training projects, Rural Practice Enhancement projects, and for Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment applicants, recipients, and employers are provided as attachments after the general questions.

Please note these FAQs are a tool. They are not a substitute for reading and carefully following all of the instructions in the Request for Applications (RFA).


Who can apply?

For Education, Extension, and Training Program Area:​

  • a State, national, allied, or regional veterinary organization or specialty board recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); a college or school of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA;
  • a university research foundation or veterinary medical foundation;
  • a department of veterinary science or department of comparative medicine accredited by the Department of Education;
  • a State agricultural experiment station; or
  • a State, local, or tribal government agency.

For Rural Practice Enhancement Program Area:

  • a for-profit or nonprofit entity located in the United States that, or individual who, operates a veterinary clinic providing veterinary services, (i) in a rural area, as defined in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)), AND (ii) in a veterinarian shortage situation designated under the VMLRP. Please read the VSGP RFA Part II C Rural Practice Enhancement Grants “Other Program Area Requirements” to determine the complete list of shortage situations available for VSGP in the current year.

What types of projects/activities can be supported?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of competitive grants supported. For both grant types, applicants must propose to substantially relieve veterinarian shortage situations, or facilitate or support veterinary practices engaged in public health activities in the U.S.

Education, Extension and Training (EET) grants will support expenses of attending training programs in food safety or food animal medicine; establishing or expanding veterinary residency, fellowship, internship or externship programs; continuing education and extension including telemedicine and other distance-based education to strengthen veterinary programs and enhance food safety. See Part II C of the RFA for further details. Only qualified entities described in the FAQ above are eligible to apply for EET grants.

Rural Practice Enhancement (RPE) grants are for establishing or expanding veterinary practices by equipping veterinary offices; sharing in overhead costs; and/or establishing mobile veterinary facilities in which a portion of the facilities will address education or extension needs. See Part II C of the RFA for further details. Only qualified entities described in FAQ above are eligible to apply for RPE grants.

Will these be renewable grants?

RPE grants will not be renewable. However, EET grants may be subject to competitive renewal in future years depending on Congressional appropriations.

How are veterinarian shortage situations defined? 

Each year, NIFA designates veterinarian shortage situations through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). Applicants for RPE grants may propose to provide services in rural VMLRP-designated veterinary shortage situations designated for the current fiscal year. These situations, along with a map and related information, can be found on the VMLRP Shortage Situations web page.

Certain veterinary shortage situations identified by VMLRP in prior fiscal years may also be available to VSGP applicants. Please read the VSGP Request for Applications (RFA) Part II C Rural Practice Enhancement Grants “Other Program Area Requirements” to determine the complete list of shortage situations available for VSGP.

Additionally, for VSGP a shortage situation must qualify as rural (as defined in Section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)). By definition, VMLRP type II shortage situations are rural. For Type I shortage situations, you can use the USDA-Rural Development’s Business Program’s Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) map to assess rural eligibility. The map can be found at the USDA Income and Property Eligibility Site. To determine if a location is considered rural, select business programs under Property Eligibility on the left, then the link for RCDI, accept the disclaimer and zoom into the area of interest.

Are both project types limited to the veterinarian shortage situations?

Recipients of RPE grants must provide services in rural shortage situations (although the physical location of the practice need not be located in the rural shortage situation). However, an applicant does not need to be practicing in the rural shortage situation at the time of application submission.

Applicants for EET grants need not be located in a shortage situation, but the proposed project must be designed to alleviate veterinarian shortage situations in the U.S.

Do all projects have a service requirement?

No, only RPE grants have a three-year service requirement.

Does the preference for coordination apply to all projects?

No, this preference applies only to EET grants.

What is the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) or Authorized Representative (AR)?

The AOR and AR are the different terms for the same person and used interchangeably by NIFA. This person is the President or Chief Executive Officer of the applicant organization or the official, designee who has the authority to commit the resources of the organization to the project. For a veterinary practice likely this is the owner or whomever the owner designates.

Their name is associated with the DUNS and SAM account and thus the registration needs to be in their name as well to ensure everything matches. Thus if you are applying as the project director or principle investigator (PD/PI) and are not the AR you should work with your AR to get the application submitted. If you are an individual or a sole proprietor business you are the AR.

Additional project or applicant specific FAQs

​Please reference the VSGP FAQ pages.

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