St. Paul, Minn. – Minnesota has been awarded seven veterinary shortage areas nominated by the Board of Animal Health in federal fiscal year 2018. These areas have been identified as part of the USDA’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which reimburses qualified student loan debt in exchange for veterinarians working in rural areas of need.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians graduate with an average debt load of $141,000. This debt makes it increasingly difficult for rural, food animal practices to competitively recruit and retain qualified veterinarians. The VMLRP offers a solution by incentivizing service in designated shortage areas by paying off a portion of qualified loans.
“Successfully matching veterinarians with shortage areas benefits everyone in the community,” said Board Veterinarian, Dr. Courtney Wheeler, who nominated Minnesota’s shortage areas this year. “Minnesota producers deserve access to quality and reliable veterinary care and veterinarians deserve to have the option to live and prosper in rural communities.”
If selected, veterinarians must commit to at least three years in rural practice to receive $25,000 annually in loan repayments. In fiscal year 2017, three Minnesota veterinarians received VMLRP awards. VMLRP is accepting applications through March 16, 2018. Click this link to access the application website.