Veterinarian school is difficult and demanding. After graduating with your degree, you should feel a huge sense of accomplishment and be ready to start doing what you love, working with the animals. However, vet school has become increasingly expensive and veterinarians are starting their careers in deeper debt than ever before.
It may seem insurmountable to begin to think about how to pay off your student loans, but it can be done faster than you think. Read on for how to pay off your veterinary school loans fast.
Repayment Assistance Programs:
First, you can see if you are eligible for the following government programs that assist with debt repayment and student loan forgiveness.
- Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP). The VMLRP assists loan repayment for vets (up to $25,000 per year) that serve for three years in an area experiencing a veterinarian shortage.
- Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP). The FLRP repays loans up to $40,000 and was established to help encourage veterinarians with underprivileged backgrounds to attend vet school.
- Army Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (AHPLRP). The AHPLRP assists individuals in paying their debt whether they are in the Army Veterinary Corps on active duty or reservists. The amount of assistance varies based on which program you are in.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You may be eligible for this if you have Federal Student Loans and you work in a nonprofit or government job.
- Individual State Programs. Many states have some type of repayment assistance program for veterinary students. Check out your state to see if you are eligible for any of their programs.
Other Ways to Pay Back School Debt:
If none of the above assistance programs work for you, there are other ways to pay back your debt promptly.
- Refinance your loan. If your vet loans were not Federal, but private, you may be able to find lower interest rate loans, which can save you a lot of money overall. You may find that you qualify for a better rate and better loan terms now that you have a higher paying job.
- Dedicate at least 10% to 15% of your salary to paying down your debt. Don’t pay the bare minimum of the loan. You will save thousands of dollars of interest if you can pay your loan down at a faster rate.
- Avoid credit cards. Avoid credit cards at all costs. Do your best to live within your means. Credit cards have such high-interest rates, it’s best to pay them off in full each month. Don’t let yourself get buried in credit card debt on top of your student loans.
- Reevaluate your loan each year. Check on your budget and see if you can increase your monthly payments. Any amount will help save you interest in the long term. Try to make at least one extra payment each year.
You shouldn’t let the high cost of veterinary school and large student debts deter you from your passion. Although paying down your student loans may seem daunting, it is possible with hard work and ingenuity.