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Rep. Schrader Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Alleviate Veterinary Student Debt

Rep. Schrader Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Alleviate Veterinary Student Debt


WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced the bipartisan Veterinary Education and Training Minimizes Educational Debt (HR 6134) Act with Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). They are both veterinarians and co-chairs of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus. 


The VET MED Act will allow veterinary students serving in their internship or residency programs to be eligible for interest-free deferment on their student loans during their residency. Veterinary student loan debt is a top issue for veterinarians and can create a financial barrier for them post-graduation and for decades afterwards. In 2016, the average education debt for vet school grads was $143,758 and more than 20% of grads had at least $200,000 in debt.


“There is a debt crisis in the veterinary community,” said Rep. Schrader. “Young vets are often crippled with debts in the six figures. My bill will help ease the repayment burden by allowing recent graduates to defer their loans while they are in residency and internship programs. This is an important step in fostering the talents of the next generation of veterinarians.”


“Veterinary students working toward a professional degree should not incur interest while in residency or training,” said Rep. Ted Yoho. “This bill will ensure this will not happen, thus lowering their student loan burden and make sure our best and brightest veterinary students remain on track.” 


“This bill is extremely important for the veterinary school graduates who go on to additional training in internships and residencies to become boarded specialists,” said Susan J. Tornquist, DVM, MS, PhD Dip. ACVP, Dean of Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. “The majority of these veterinarians have significant student debt, and in choosing advanced training, they are delaying their ability to earn the kinds of salaries necessary to repay their student loans. This bill acknowledges that the financial stresses associated with specialty training in veterinary medicine are the same, if not greater than those associated with specialty training in the medical and dental fields. We strongly support Representative Schrader’s bill”.


“Residencies and internships are critical to preparing veterinarians for high-need specialties like emergency medicine, oncology, and large animal medicine,” said Dr. John Howe, DVM, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “But during this time spent in additional training, veterinary borrowers face massive interest accumulation that can make loan repayment feel insurmountable. The VET MED Act is an important step toward alleviating this debt burden, and we’re thankful to Representatives Schrader and Yoho for introducing this bill.”


“Advancements in veterinary medical clinical care and rising client demand for high-level diagnostic and therapeutic services have increased the number of veterinarians who choose to conduct post-DVM clinical training programs on the path to earning specialty board certification,” said AAVMC Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe. “This legislation will help these individuals better manage the educational debt which is often required to finance their training programs. We are extremely grateful to Congressman Schrader for his leadership on this bill, and we also appreciate the important work he and Congressman Yoho are doing on behalf of the veterinary medical profession and the public it serves through the Veterinary Medicine Caucus.”