By: Gina Luke, assistant director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division
Through a sustained advocacy campaign, the AVMA has been successful in both pushing Congress to establish and continue funding the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which places veterinarians in underserved communities in exchange for loan repayment.
This year, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced that it will award up to $4.4 million to veterinarians who successfully compete for loan repayment awards in fiscal 2015. The applications are due by June 22.
How does the program work? The USDA repays up to $75,000 in qualified educational loans for veterinarians who win awards and agree to practice livestock medicine, public health, epidemiology and food safety in federally designated veterinary shortage situations. The 2015 shortage map is available on the USDA’s site.
Since 2006, Congress has allocated $33.4 million for the VMLRP, and the USDA has been able to hold five competitive applications cycles. During this time, the demand to participate in the program has been high—858 veterinarians have applied and only 291 have been given awards. The AVMA continues to encourage lawmakers to pass legislation that will allow even more veterinarians to participate in this vital program.
To see if you are eligible or to apply to the program, visit NIFA’s website. General information about the VMLRP can be found here. For questions, contact VMLRP program coordinator Dr. Danielle Tack at 202-401-6802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.