This section provides insight into the application review process once submitted to NIFA.
Each application will be evaluated in a three-part process. First, NIFA screens each application to ensure that it meets the administrative requirements set forth in the Request for Application (RFA). Second, a technical peer-review process is used to evaluate each application that meets the administrative requirements using a review panel. Third, the loan documentation submitted within your application is reviewed separately to ensure the calculated award amount of your loans is eligible should your application be chosen for funding.
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 technical peer-review panel.
Applications that are incomplete, including those missing supplemental information such as recommendations, as of the applicable deadline will not be considered to move forward to the peer review process.
Peer Review PANEL Process
Once applications pass the Administrative Review phase, those applications will be evaluated by a group of reviewers who are selected based upon training and experience in relevant public and private veterinary practice-related fields.
The primary evaluation criteria are listed in ascending order of consideration with the RFA in Part V. Application Review Requirements, Section B. Evaluation Criteria. The evaluation criteria are used by the panel reviewers to evaluate each application submitted that passes the administrative review in response to the RFA. Please review the RFA for further details regarding each evaluation criterion listed.
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, lending institution account statements and federal student aid summary reports) for each Degree of Veterinary Medicine (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.
Any information related to your loan documents or the amount of your debt will not 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.
Applicants who are selected for award consideration will be notified by email. 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 will result in withdrawal of the award offer.
Conflicts of Interest and Confidentiality
NIFA takes extreme care to prevent any actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may influence the review or evaluation of an application. Names of submitting individuals, as well as application content and peer evaluations, are kept confidential except to those involved in the review process, to the extent permitted by law. In addition, the identities of peer reviewers will remain confidential throughout the entire review process, to the extent permitted by law. Therefore, the names of the reviewers will not be released to applicants.
For further information, contact: VMLRP.