Earlier this week, the New Jersey Assembly introduced A 4081, which would establish the Large Animal Veterinarian Loan Redemption Program in the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. A program participant would redeem 20% of eligible student loan expenses for each year of service as a large animal veterinarian in a state-designated underserved area. Program participants would be matched to state-designated underserved areas by the Executive Director of the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture. Pursuant to the bill, each program participant must: (1) be a resident of the state; (2) be a graduate of a veterinary school approved by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners; (3) have completed a professional residency program and received a recommendation from the director of the training program concerning participation in the loan redemption program; and (4) agree to practice large animal veterinary medicine in a state-designated underserved area. The contract would be for five one-year periods and would specify the total amount of debt to be redeemed by the state in return for the service. Eligible loans would not be redeemed for service of less than one full year annually.
If New Jersey adopts this bill, it would become the 21st state to establish a state veterinary loan repayment program for veterinarians practicing large animal veterinary medicine in an underserved area. Earlier this month, Georgia adopted a revised version of its veterinary loan repayment program. The Georgia program would be run by a newly established State Veterinary Education Board. Click here to view the existing state loan repayment programs, including the new Georgia program.