Loan Repayment Program for Rural Veterinarians

Loan Repayment Program for Rural Veterinarians

Veterinarian with horse. Veterinarian with horse.

April 20, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) You’ve heard of the rural health care shortage, but there's also a shortage of veterinarians in rural areas. It's a problem the National Institute of Food and Ag hopes to solve through its loan repayment program. As veterinary students cross the stage to graduate, many face approximately $137,000 dollars in loan debt, and it's that debt that's helped cause a shortage in food animal veterinary practices.

Danielle Tack, Veterinarian Medical Repayment Program Coordinator relates, “We’ve seen a movement, really since World War II, of veterinarians moving from food animal practice to small animal practice one forces. Although there are many things that are affecting that, one is the student loan debt of veterinarians.” 

She continues, “With an average starting salary of $68,000, you can see why a loan repayment program could attract young veterinarians. Since the program started in 2010, we had over 900 applications reviewed for over 304 awards and 310 or more contracts executed. The good news is, a lot of people ask if people are staying and anecdotally yes: we’re finding that many people are staying – even building practices and needing more veterinarians.” 
The program pays up to $75,000 for 3 years of service in a designated shortage situation. There are three types of shortages that people can apply for. One is Type One, which is primarily food animal practitioner, and would require at least 80% of a 40 hour work week to be dedicated to food animals. Type Two, which is in a rural area primarily geared towards mixed animal practitioner, requires 30% of a 48 hour work week to be dedicated towards food animal medicine. Finally, Type 3, which is public practice focus and which would require about 48% or basically a part-time (at leas)t position on food supply veterinarian medicine or other specialty disciplines.

The program includes all veterinarians, as well as students that will have their degree by September, 2016.
To apply you need to go to www.NIFA.USDA.Gov/vmlrp, and find the applicant section.

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