Program targets areas with veterinarian shortages: Vets can get help with student loans

WASHINGTON — Veterinarians spend a lot of years studying to earn their degrees, to the tune of $130,000, then they spend long hours serving clients at all hours of the day and night. It’s little wonder there are shortages of food animal veterinarians across the country.

A new federal loan forgiveness program is hoping to lure some vets to the underserved areas of the country.

Loan repayment

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications from veterinarians wishing to participate in the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which addresses veterinary shortages in rural America by repaying the student loans of qualified veterinarians in return for their services in areas suffering from a lack of veterinarians.

In return for a commitment of three years of veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area, NIFA may repay up to $25,000 of student loan debt per year.

Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for the attendance at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or the equivalent.

The deadline is June 30, and offers will be made by Sept. 30. Application forms can be found on the NIFA website.

Designated area

NIFA recently designated more than 150 shortage areas throughout the United States. These areas were nominated by the chief animal health officials in each state and by appropriate federal animal health officials.

Ohio

—- Type II Shortage: Private Practice: Crawford, Wyandot, Morrow, Richland counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant

—- Type II Shortage: Private Practice: Pickaway, Ross, Pike, Adams, Scioto counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant

Pennsylvania

—- Type I Shortage: Private Practice: Snyder, Mifflin, Juniata counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant

—- Type I Shortage: Private Practice: Franklin, Adams, York counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant

West Virginia

—- Type II Shortage: Private Practice: Preston, Tucker counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant

—- Type II Shortage: Private Practice: Wirt, Pleasants, Ritchie, Doddridge, Calhoun Gilmerl counties: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminant (No local veterinary service available for the majority of the population within this area)

For other states, check the map of all the shortage areas.

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