At the annual meeting of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association in Madison, Wisconsin, the American Veterinary Medical Association announced a new program that will help graduating veterinarians pay off their student loans. The Food Animal Veterinarian Recruitment and Retention Program will provide financial incentives in the form of student loan debt forgiveness for veterinarians who commit to four years of employment in food animal veterinary medicine.
Depending on demand and the availability of future funds, the new AVMA program seeks to support about 50 rural food animal veterinarians annually over the next five years by providing total payments for each practitioner of up to $100,000 that can be applied to student loan debt.
Michael Cathey, executive director of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, said this program is bigger than just loan repayment. It is about recruiting and retaining the highest quality veterinary professionals to ensure the health and safety of the nation's food supply.
USDA recently announced a similar federal program, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. It will soon begin accepting applications. AVMA chief executive officer Dr. Ron DeHaven called the two programs complementary.