New veterinarians can recoup education costs

BISMARCK – Recent graduated veterinarians have an opportunity to have a significant part of their student loans repaid by establishing practice in certain areas of North Dakota.

“Seven North Dakota counties have been designated veterinary shortage areas,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Veterinarians who commit to practicing in these areas for at least three years may have up to $25,000 of their student loan debt repaid per year through the national Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP).”

The designated counties include Bowman, Slope, McKenzie, McIntosh and portions of Dickey, Emmons and Logan           

Benefits are limited to payments on the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for earning a doctoral degree of veterinary medicine or equivalent.

Goehring said North Dakota previously had two designated veterinary shortage areas in which veterinarians received funds to provide services.

More information on VMLRP, including eligibility requirements, is also available at www.nifa.usda.gov/nea/animals/in_focus/an_health_if_vmlrp_education_eligibility.html.

Applications are due June 15, 2012.

North Dakota also has a state veterinary loan repayment program that has awarded funds to 15 veterinarians since 2008.

Goehring said veterinarians interested in either the federal or state programs should contact Dr. Beth Carlson, deputy state veterinarian, at (701) 328-2655 for more information.