Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Feds offer tuition reimbursement for veterinary students working in underserved areas

We have been following the shortage of veterinarians, most recently here. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is distributing up to $25,000 annually for four years in tuition-loan reimbursements for veterinarians who commit to work in under served rural areas, reports Steve Raabe of the Denver Post. Nationwide, more than 60 veterinarians received the grants and are serving in areas that do not have enough large animal vets. The program is modeled after a similar program that pays medical doctors to work in under served areas. (Veterinarian Britt Stubblefield, right, and M Lazy C Ranch manager Jamie Gibbons keep a grip on a longhorn as Stubblefield checks the animal's teeth. He is one of two Colorado vets selected in 2010 for a USDA tuition-loan reimbursement. Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

On average, veterinary students amass $130,000 in tuition and other school-related debt, writes Raabe. "It's very difficult for graduates with high debt levels," said Dean Hendrickson, director of the veterinary teaching hospital at Colorado State University. "Rural veterinarians are putting in 80-hour workweeks to earn 20 percent less. You can see why there's a movement toward small-animal practices in urban areas." The national average salary for first-year livestock veterinarians is about $62,000, compared with $71,000 for entry-level pet doctors, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. (Read more)

No comments: