USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA) helps qualified veterinarians offset a significant portion of the debt incurred in pursuit of their veterinary medicine degrees in return for their service in certain high-priority veterinary shortage situations. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will carry out NVMSA by entering into educational loan repayment agreements with veterinarians who agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations for a determined period of time. If you commit to at least three years to providing veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area, NIFA may repay up to $25,000 of your student loan debt per year. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans you received for the attendance at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or the equivalent.
Be sure to review the eligibility requirements to determine if you and your loans are eligible for the VMLRP.
In January 2003, NVMSA was passed into law adding section 1415A to the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1997. This law established a new Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (7 U.S.C. 3151a) authorizing the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which they agree to provide veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations. Subsequently, Section 7105 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-246, amended section 1415A to revise the determination of veterinarian shortage situations to consider (1) geographical areas that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians; and (2) areas of veterinary practice that the Secretary determines have a shortage of veterinarians, such as food animal medicine, public health, epidemiology, and food safety. This section also added that priority should be given to agreements with veterinarians for the practice of food animal medicine in veterinarian shortage situations.
Federal Register Notices:
- Final Rule for the VMLRP, published April 19, 2010, in the Federal Register
- Applicant Forms and Reporting Requirements, published January 20, 2010, in the Federal Register
- Interim Rule for the VMLRP, published July 9, 2009, in the Federal Register
For further information, email VMLRP.