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  • Writer's pictureNathan Zarcaro

[2024] A Full Guide to Veterinarian Student Loan Forgiveness

Updated: Jan 11

Physicians of all types have no shortage of student loan forgiveness programs to help them repay the loans they took out to complete their education.

Depending upon the type of provider one is, a borrower may have access to federal National Health Service Corps programs, state repayment assistance programs, and more.

Options for veterinarians may not be talked about as much, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist. Here are 5 student loan forgiveness programs for vets to consider in 2024.

Federal forgiveness programs for vets

Veterinarians with outstanding federal student loans have a number of government-sponsored forgiveness program.

1. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

Vets with Federal Direct or FFEL Program Loans may use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) if they:

  • Work for a qualifying not-for-profit or federal/state/local/tribal government (PSLF employer search tool)

  • Join one of the four federal income-driven repayment plans and make 120 monthly payments over a period of 10 years

You'll make these payments on the IBR, ICR, PAYE, or SAVE program, which each calculate your monthly payments differently, based on your adjusted gross income, household size, and geographic location.

Successfully meeting these eligibility criteria and fulfilling these obligations can lead to 100% forgiveness of your federal loans. Plus, PSLF assistance is not taxable by the federal government.

2. Income-Driven Repayment (IDR)

Veterinarians nationwide may also opt to pursue income-driven repayment forgiveness, regardless of their employer. Currently, there are four IDR plans available:

As we mentioned, each of them will use a slightly different formula to calculate your monthly payments, but all consider your discretionary income, defined as the difference between your AGI and 150% of the poverty line (225% for the SAVE plan).

Here's what you can expect to pay of your discretionary income under each IDR program and for how long:

  • IBR: 10%/15% for 20/25 years

  • ICR: 20% for 25 years

  • PAYE: 10% for 20 years

  • SAVE: 5% for 10-25 years, depending on outstanding balance

The SAVE plan is new as of 2023 and has the potential to save borrowers tens of thousands of dollars over the other IDR programs.

If you choose to pursue IDR without PSLF (like if you don't work for a PSLF-eligible employer), do beware that the forgiveness you receive may in the future be treated as taxable income, depending on how future legislation pans out on a federal/state level.

National forgiveness programs for veterinarians

The following forgiveness programs are available to borrowers across the country, though they require some sort of service commitment. They may be available to those with both federal and private loans, however.

3. Active-Duty Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program (ADHPLRP)

Licensed veterinarians in the United States Armed Forces may join the Veterinary Corps, a group that helps provide healthcare services to military dogs, horses, and pets.

Participating providers may earn up to $120,000 in student loan forgiveness over a three-year period, $40,000 per year.

4. Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program is a nationwide opportunity for qualified vets to earn up to $75,000 in student loan forgiveness over a period of three years - $25,000 per year.

Candidates must agree to provide veterinary services for three years in NIFA-designated, high priority, food supply shortage roles across the country. Eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Those with a DVM degree from a college or university accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE)

  • You must have at least $15,000 remaining in outstanding student loan debt.

  • You must secure qualifying employment within 90 days of award notification.

5. Faculty Loan Repayment Program

Sponsored by the Health Resources & Services Administration, the Faculty Loan Repayment awards up to $40,000 in forgiveness to qualified veterinarians in exchange for a two-year service commitment.

The program is available to those with both federal and private loans.

To participate, qualifying vets must:

  • Have a DVM degree

  • Come from a disadvantaged background (economically or environmentally), including a low-income family or being the first in your family to go to college

  • Secure an official agreement from their employer allowing participation in the program

You'll need to teach at an eligible school as a full-time or part-time faculty member.


Many states also offer their own veterinary forgiveness programs, particularly in underserved or designated pet care shortage areas.

Participating states include North Dakota's SVLRP and Minnesota's Rural Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program, which offer $80,000 and $75,000 in assistance, respectively.

Other strategies for veterinarians

Vets that don't work for nonprofits and don't have the intent to teach or serve may not have a clear path to earning any student loan forgiveness, and that's okay.

Instead, these DVMs and VDMs may turn to student loan refinancing as a strategy to save them time, money, or potentially both off their student loans.

Refinancing allows the opportunity to shop for lower interest rates, and potentially, shorter/longer terms, depending on what you're looking for.

while this won't help much with your principal balance (those loans that you actually took out for college), you will be able to limit what you're paying in interest each month.

Plenty of lenders are willing to refinance debt taken to finance a veterinary education, regardless of whether you've got federal or private loans. Among our favorite lenders are:

Not sure where to start? Book a consult

Some vets will undoubtedly read this guide and find themselves just as confused as they were when they started. Not only is this okay, but it is also normal.

If you find yourself in this boat, your best course of action is likely to book a consultation with a Student Loan Planner professional. They're our top recommended partner, routinely save their clients $50,000+ off their student loans, and they've completed over 13,000 consultations for clients all over the country.


Veterinarians across the country have a number of student loan forgiveness programs available to them, on a federal, national, and state level. Even though that don't qualify may consider refinancing or consolidating to lessen the burden of their loans.

What else do you want to know about veterinarian student loan forgiveness? Ask us in the comments below!

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and has worked for industry leaders in both finance and healthcare.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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