Signed into law in 2017, the Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program paves the way for veterinarians to work in rural communities where large and small animals – and their owners – need professional services. The Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program council selects up to six qualified veterinary applicants to participate in the program.
The Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program is part of a national effort to address veterinary shortages in rural areas. Applicants may also be eligible for funding through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program or Veterinary Services Grant Program.
Selected veterinarians are eligible for the following loan repayment amounts (up to $90,000) based on length of participation in the program. Finalists will be required to provide additional financial information.
- Upon completion of six months of veterinary service, up to $15,000
- Upon completion of two years of veterinary service, up to an additional $20,000
- Upon completion of three years of veterinary service, up to an additional $25,000
- Upon completion of fourth years of veterinary service, up to an additional $30,000
To be eligible for the program, an applicant must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a licensed veterinarian who:
- Agrees, in the format and manner determined by the council, to practice veterinary medicine in a designated veterinary shortage area.
- Currently live in Colorado or, at some point, have lived in Colorado for at least three years and:
- Have an outstanding education loan that was incurred in relation to the applicant’s attendance at an accredited Doctor of Veterinary Medicine school located in the United States; for which the applicant is not in default; and has not been consolidated with any loans incurred by a spouse.
- An applicant selected for the loan repayment program:
- Is eligible for an amount up to $90,000 pursuant to the maximum yearly repayment amounts; and that correlates to the applicant’s outstanding veterinary education loans.
- Shall contract with the council to provide veterinary medical services in one or more designated veterinary shortage areas for a period up to four years.
- In establishing the applicant eligibility criteria for loan repayment under the program, the council will consider the following factors:
- An applicant’s training with respect to, ability to provide, and willingness to engage in, food animal veterinary medicine and the extent to which the designated veterinary shortage area needs food animal veterinary medical services.
- An applicant’s commitment to practice veterinary medicine in the designated veterinary shortage area.
- An applicant’s date of availability to practice veterinary medicine in the designated veterinary shortage area.
- An applicant’s competence, as determined by the state board of veterinary medicine and ability to fulfill the duties identified in the application.
- The council will give priority to eligible applicants who:
- Graduated from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
- With respect to a designated veterinary shortage area:
- Have lived in the veterinary shortage area or a nearby area;
- Have family in the veterinary shortage area or a nearby area; or
- Live, or have lived, in a substantially similar rural area of the state.
While the National Institute of Food and Agriculture provides a list of veterinary services shortage situations each year, the council is willing to consider alternative locations. If an applicant feels another location should be considered a designated shortage area, they are encouraged to provide a justification for inclusion of the location within their application. Applicants may identify more than one designated shortage area in which they would be willing to serve.
A location qualifies as a designated shortage area when it has significant potential for negative food animal impacts due to a shortage of veterinarians.
The 2023 Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program application will close December 31, 2023.
Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program Council
The Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program council oversees the program. Council members are appointed by the governor, and supported by Colorado State University administrative staff.
- Chair: Scott Johnson, Flying Diamond Ranch
- Vice-chair: Dr. Kayla Henderson, Colorado Veterinary Medical Association
- Dr. Melinda Frye, associate dean of the D.V.M. Program at the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
- Dr. Morgan McCarty, representative of the State Commissioner of Agriculture
- Dr. John Raftopoulos, Colorado Livestock Industry