Getting into vet school is difficult, but it’s even harder to pay for your education. There are loan options available that can help you fund veterinary school, but you’ll need good grades and a great financial aid package to get the best deal. These tips will help guide you through this tricky process so that there’s no stress involved when applying to vet schools in the future.,
Vet school is expensive, and the cost of education isn’t always covered by scholarships. There are still options for funding vet school, such as federal loans.
If you want to become a veterinarian, you will probably need to take out a student loan. This is because veterinary education lasts eight years (including the bachelor’s course). And tuition and the cost of living are only going up. It’s not easy to pay for vet school when you know it’s going to cost six figures.
Given the high cost of vet school, you need to know the best way to pay for it and what to expect in terms of debt to salary ratio. Read on to find out what your best options are for 2021.
In 2020, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) had 118,624 practicing veterinarians. Most of these veterinary students left college with a stack of student loans.
How much does it cost to become a veterinarian? The average cost of a four-year DVM degree in the state ranges from $78,479 to $155,295. And out-of-state programs cost between $131,200 and $285,376.
The average veterinary school debt is $183,302 for 2019 graduates, according to the AVMA. Student Loan Planner® has seen amounts on the order of $200,000 for veterinary clients.
In contrast to the massive debt with which vets graduate, the average salary for a veterinarian in 2020 is $99,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest paid veterans earned $60,690 and the highest paid earned $164,490.
On a positive note, the demand for veterinarians is on the rise. Finding a job is not a problem. But repaying veterinary school loans will take serious effort.
Get tuition assistance at the School of Veterinary Medicine by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will allow you to receive financial aid from the veterinary school. The first two forms of financial assistance you should always use are:
If you complete the FAFSA, you will be eligible for scholarships and grants offered by the institution you are attending. You may need to fill out additional forms to receive funds. You will also qualify for loans, but you want free money first.
Here are some tips on how to start looking for grants and scholarships:
- Go to scholarship search engines and look for scholarships for veterans.
- The American Veterinary Medical Foundation offers a number of scholarships for students at AVMA accredited institutions.
- Some universities offer loan repayment programs during your studies. The College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, for example, enrolls five first-year students in a loan repayment program that offers $20,000 a year for four years. In return, you agree to practice in rural Kansas.
It can be difficult to find scholarships to fund veterinary school. But any amount you can deduct from your vet school loan is worth it.
Eventually your grants and scholarships will run out. In that case, your best option is to apply for federal student loans.
Federal student loans are (after grants) the best way to pay for veterinary school because they offer flexibility and protection. Since your salary will likely be lower than your student debt, you should have as many options as possible. Some of the federal protections for student loans include:
- Eligibility for student loan forgiveness programs.
- Eligibility for income-based repayment arrangements
- Deferral of payment or payment by instalments may be granted due to serious circumstances.
- have fixed interest rates for the entire duration of the loan
- They shouldn’t be paid while in school, at least not part time.
- Does not require a credit check, except for PLUS loans.
- Interest is tax deductible
Private student loans may offer one or two of these protections, depending on the lender. But federal student loans still offer you the most flexibility.
When taking out a federal student loan, it is important to know what each type of loan entails and what the loan limits are. Usually you have to take out a loan to pay for the vet’s tuition:
Subsidized Direct Loans are only available to students with a college degree. So, if you’re just beginning your eight-year journey to vet school, start taking out those student loans. These loans are at the top of the list because the government pays all the interest that is accrued while you are in school.
The total amount you can borrow for subsidized student loans is $23,000. If you’re a student, they can run out pretty quickly, so you’ll have to look for the next best loan.
Unsubsidized student loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students. This is the next best option for vet school loans because the interest rate is lower than PLUS loans and they still qualify for federal borrower protection.
Graduate students cannot receive more than $57,500. The total loan limit for graduate and professional students is $138,500. This includes all federal loans made during the school term.
The Direct PLUS or Grad PLUS loan is for graduate and professional students only. The Grad PLUS loan is last on the list because it has a high interest rate (6.28%).
This loan can be cancelled, but only if you take out a direct consolidation loan immediately after the grace period expires. The Grad PLUS loan also requires an additional application and credit check.
The only reason the order of federal loans may change is because of PLUS loans. Since they have a high interest rate, you should compare PLUS loan options to private student loans.
Request for pre-decisional opinion
Becoming a veterinarian is a decision that needs to be made strategically. If your debt is greater than your starting salary upon graduation from veterinary school, it is best to take out federal student loans only. The only exception to this rule is PLUS credit or if you meet the credit limits.
If you need extra money, you can always turn to private student loans. When comparing a PLUS loan to a private student loan, remember:
- Total amount required to cover the deficit
- Loan origination fee – PLUS loan – 4.228%*.
- Monthly private loan repayment and repayment period
- The interest rates you are offered on private loans versus PLUS loans.
- whether the interest rates offered to you are fixed or variable
- Does the lender offer flexible terms in case of hardship or death?
If you choose private student loans to pay for vet school, be aware that some lenders require immediate repayment. You must be financially stable to make payments while in school.
* Prices from July 2021
In some cases, you may be tempted to pay for vet school with family loans or cash. You may even consider finding a co-borrower for a private student loan. Such financial decisions should not be taken lightly. Missed payments or difficulties can lead to a break up of the relationship.
When thinking about how to pay for vet tuition, you should also consider the cost of each course. Almost all public colleges in the state are more affordable than out-of-state or private colleges.
Related: Five types of veterinary schools, ranked by their ability to ruin your finances
For example, the cost of a four-year DVM program at Oregon State University is about $189,244 for state residents and about $290,460 for non-residents. That’s a huge difference in terms of total cost!
You need an installment plan for your veterinary education. Depending on the vet you choose, you may be eligible for student debt relief or student loan repayment. The Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), the Teacher Loan Repayment Program, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) are programs worth studying.
However, you may need to use a longer term payment plan. This may include:
- income-based loan reduction, with repayment over 20-25 years, or
- Aggressive debt repayment through refinancing and repayments over 10 years
If you’re considering studying veterinary medicine while you have six-figure debt, you should talk to the Student Loan Planner® team.
We know that people want their dream job, and that often means going into debt. We also know that debt can cause stress and anxiety, not to mention ruin your finances if you don’t have a plan to get out of it. That’s why we offer pre-debt counseling to make sure you make this important financial decision knowing what loans you’re going to take out and how to pay them back.
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“Veterinary school loans” is a topic that many people are interested in. There are multiple types of financial aid options for students who want to attend veterinary school. Reference: veterinary school loans.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make my vet school more affordable?
A: We are sorry to hear that you feel that your vet school is too expensive. There are a few different strategies for paying less for vet school, some of which may work better than others depending on what it is about veterinary medicine that interests you. Some suggestions include changing schools or studying the field while working in another job beforehand so as not to have any expenses before entering vet school.
How long does it take to pay off student loans for veterinarians?
A: This is an impossible question to answer.
How do I repay my vet loan?
A: The most common way to repay a vet loan is by paying off the balance of your loan in installments. You can start doing this as soon as youve completed repayment on an installment plan, or if youre already repaying your debt, you might be able to get some interest back by refinancing with another bank that offers an annual percentage rate (APR) lower than your current lenders APR.
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