Professional organization, American Veterinary Medical Association, has endorsed the reintroduced VMLRPEA proposal which would make up to $25K available annually for student loan repayment for veterinarians willing to serve in areas with professional shortages. The bill, Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, will offer loan repayment for 2 to 3 years of working in areas identified as USDA veterinarian shortage regions. The bill is being introduced in the senate.
"Expanding the VMLRP means more veterinarians will receive student loan relief and there will be more access to veterinary care in rural areas across the country – a win-win for the profession," said Dr. Douglas Kratt, president of AVMA. "The AVMA is grateful our leaders in Congress are supporting legislation that removes the tax on service awards and maximizes the effectiveness of the VMLRP. We will use this momentum to build broad support for the bill and send it to the President's desk."
The legislation would equate to adding one veterinarian to the program for every three already accepted. Since VMLRP’s introduction in 2010, 1632 applied but only 552 veterinarians were awarded.
The bill would also eliminate federal withholding taxes on such funding thereby making more of the monies available. More than 220 areas across 48 states were identified as experiencing veterinary staff shortages. The bill is also endorsed by more than 100 agricultural organizations, according to AVMA.