All eligible veterinarians are encouraged to apply for loan repayment. NIFA has a strong commitment to diversity and encourage women, individuals from underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria to apply. Please be sure to review the eligibility criteria before you submit an application for a service agreement with the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). The general eligibility criteria applicable to the VMLRP are listed below.
Eligibility to Apply
To be eligible to apply to the VMLRP, an applicant must:
- Have a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), or the equivalent, from a college of veterinary medicine accredited by the AVMA Council on Education;
- Have qualifying educational loan debt as defined in 7 CFR 3431 Section 3;
- Secure an offer of employment or establish and/or maintain a practice in a veterinary shortage situation, as determined by the Secretary, within the time period specified in the VMLRP service agreement offer; and
- Provide certifications and verifications in accordance with 7 CFR 3431 Section 16.
The following individuals are ineligible to apply to the VMLRP:
- An individual who owes an obligation for veterinary service to the Federal government, a State, or other entity under an agreement with such Federal, State, or other entity are ineligible for the VMLRP unless such obligation will be completely satisfied prior to the beginning of service under the VMLRP;
- An individual who has a Federal judgment lien against his/her property arising from Federal debt; and
- An individual who has total qualified debt that does not meet the debt threshold of $15,000.
Eligibility to Participate
To be eligible to participate in the VMLRP, a participant must:
- Meet the eligibility criteria for applying to the VMLRP;
- Be selected for participation by the Secretary pursuant to 7 CFR 3431 Section 12;
- Comply with all state and local regulations, including appropriate licensure where required, in the jurisdiction in which he or she proposes to practice;
- Be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States;
- Sign a service agreement to provide veterinary services in one of the veterinary shortage situations; and
- Comply with the terms and conditions of the Service Agreement.
Eligibility of Loans
Loan repayments provided under the VMLRP may consist of payments on behalf of participating individuals of the principal and interest on qualifying educational loans received by the individual for attendance of the individual at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, or the equivalent, which loans were made for one or more of the following:
- Tuition expenses;
- All other reasonable educational expenses; and
- Reasonable living expenses, as defined
The following loans are ineligible for repayment under the VMLRP:
- Loans not obtained from a bank, credit union, savings and loan association, not-for-profit organization, insurance company, school, and other financial or credit institution which is subject to examination and supervision in its capacity as lending institution by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business;
- Loans for which supporting documentation is not available;
- Loans that have been consolidated with loans of other individuals, such as spouses or children;
- Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed the standard of reasonableness as determined by the participant's standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made, and are not determined by the Secretary, to be reasonable based on additional documentation provided by the individual;
- Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under another loan repayment or scholarship program, or similar programs, which provide loans, scholarships, loan repayments, or other awards in exchange for a future service obligation;
- Non-educational loans, including home equity loans; and
- Any loan in default, delinquent, or not in a current payment status.
NOTE: The VMLRP will only repay debt incurred at an institution that is accredited at the time of attendance and graduation. If an institution received full accreditation status during the participating individual’s attendance at said institution, only the portion of veterinary school loans that were disbursed subsequent to the institution’s date of accreditation shall be repaid by the VMLRP. This includes any scenario involving an individual transferring from a non-accredited institution to an accredited institution. Individuals with a degree from an institution that was not accredited at the time the degree was conferred remain ineligible for award. This is regardless of the fact that the individual may have attended an accredited institution prior to transferring to a non-accredited institution from which they received their DVM.
For further information, contact: VMLRP.