Student Loan Forgiveness for Vets – Forbes Advisor

Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.

Your love for animals inspired you to pursue a career as a veterinarian. But you’re less excited about your student loans, which are increasingly common among those working in veterinary medicine.

Outstanding student loans are growing 4.5 times faster than the earnings of new vet school graduates, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The average salary for all students was $157,146, while the average starting salary was $90,722.

If you’re struggling with your student loan debt, you may qualify for veterinary loan forgiveness programs that can reduce or even eliminate your loans.

How does student loan forgiveness for vets work?

Student loan forgiveness programs for veterinarians generally operate as incentive programs. For example, in exchange for a commitment to work in areas that lack licensed veterinarians, some of your loans are forgiven.

Veterinarians may receive student loan forgiveness from the federal government, state agencies, and individual states.

Although requirements vary by program, you generally need to have:

  • Eligible student debt: Typically, this means federal or private student loans from banks or credit unions. Other forms of debt, such as credit card balances, personal loans, or home equity loans used to cover education costs, are not eligible for veterinary forgiveness programs.
  • A Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree: Your DVM degree must be from an AVMA-accredited school.

Federal loan relief for veterinarians

People with federal student loans may be eligible for a federal loan forgiveness program. You can qualify for these programs even if you leave the field of veterinary medicine to pursue another career.

Veterinarians often face intense stress and burnout and decide to move on to another industry, so taking advantage of these programs could reduce some of these stressors. There are two federal student loan forgiveness programs:

Income Oriented Repayment

Eligible loans: Federal Student Loans

If you have federal loans, one option is to enroll in an income contingent repayment (IDR) plan. With an IDR plan, the government recalculates your payments based on a longer loan term. Your new payment is determined by your family size and your discretionary income. Depending on your situation, your payments may be significantly lower than what you are currently paying.

If you have a balance at the end of your new loan term, either 20 or 25 years, depending on the IDR plan, the remaining loan balance is forgiven. You can enroll in an IDR plan by contacting your loan officer or submitting an application online.

Cancellation of civil service loans

Some vets may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), but it depends on the type of loan you have and your employer.

You may qualify for the PSLF if you have direct federal student loans and work for a qualifying nonprofit or government agency full-time for 10 years while making 120 qualifying monthly payments. According to PSLF rules, payments made under IDR plans count towards the required 120 payments.

As a veterinarian, you may qualify for the PSLF if you work for a nonprofit animal welfare organization, shelter, or government agency like the Department of Agriculture. Veterinarians in private practice or those working for for-profit companies are not eligible.

Point: Use the federal PSLF Helper Tool to find out if your loans and your employer are eligible for the PSLF.

National Reimbursement Programs for Veterinarians

National repayment programs operate separately from federal loan forgiveness programs. They generally require a service commitment of one to five years and can provide assistance in the form of private loans.

The three national student loan repayment programs are available from government agencies:

Active Duty Medical Professionals Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)

Eligible loans: Federal Student Loans

Veterinarians who have enlisted in the military may be part of the Veterinary Corps, a division that provides care for military working dogs, ceremonial horses, and pets.

Under the ADHPLRP, eligible veterinarians can receive up to $40,000 in loan repayment assistance for each year of participation, to a maximum of $120,000. The active service obligation is three years.

Teacher Loan Repayment Program

Eligible loans: Federal and private student loans

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Faculty Loan Repayment Program offers eligible participants up to $40,000 in student loan repayment assistance in exchange for a two-year service commitment .

To be eligible, you must:

  • Work for a qualifying school as a full-time or part-time faculty member
  • Come from an economically or environmentally disadvantaged background (for example, be from a low-income household or be the first in the family to attend university)
  • Have a DVM degree
  • Have an official agreement from your employer that they will participate in the program

Both federal and private student loans are eligible for repayment assistance under this program. However, this does not apply to parent PLUS loans.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

Eligible loans: Federal and private student loans

Through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), you could receive up to $25,000 per year to cover eligible veterinary student loan debt. In return, you must agree to work in a designated vet shortage area for at least three years.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Work in a designated shortage area and spend part of your time practicing food supply veterinary medicine or public practice
  • Have a DVM degree
  • Have at least $15,000 of eligible student debt

State-Based Veterinary Loan Waiver

Eligible loans: Varies by program

Many states are experiencing veterinarian shortages, so some states operate their own loan repayment assistance programs to encourage licensed veterinarians to live and work in shortage areas. Here are some examples of state programs:

  • North Dakota State Veterinary Loan Repayment Program: In North Dakota, food animal veterinarians can receive up to $80,000 in student loan repayment assistance in exchange for working in a high-need rural area. To get the full amount, you must work four years for an eligible employer. The program can help veterinarians with federal and private student loans.
  • Minnesota Rural Veterinary Loan Repayment Program: In exchange for a five-year commitment to work full-time in disadvantaged rural areas of Minnesota, eligible veterinarians can get up to $75,000 in student loan repayment assistance over five years.

Not all states offer loan repayment programs for veterinarians, but many do. You can find out if your state has a similar program by visiting your national association of veterinary surgeons Where national education agency.

Comments are closed.