The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) recently announced shortage areas for 2016. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) facilitated a Texas stakeholder working group to identify areas lacking sufficient veterinary resources. Eight shortage areas in Texas have been designated as VMLRP shortage situations. To view the designated Texas shortage situation counties, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/webinar-vmlrp-applicants.

Authorized by the National Veterinary Medical Services Act (NVMSA), the VMLRP helps qualified veterinarians offset a significant portion of debt incurred while pursuing their veterinary medicine degrees in return for their service in designated high-priority veterinary shortage situations. If a qualified veterinarian commits to providing at least three years of veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area, USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) may repay up to $25,000 of their student loan debt per year.

NIFA will host a live webinar on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 2:00PM (EDT) to provide an in-depth explanation of the VMLRP process.  Veterinary applicants for the FY 2016 period are highly encouraged to attend the live webinar.  If you are unable to participate in the live webinar a recording of the 2016 session will be available.  For information regarding the webinar, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/webinar-vmlrp-applicants.

Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for the attendance at an accredited college of veterinary medicine resulting in a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent. All eligible veterinarians are encouraged to apply for the loan repayment program. To learn more about how to apply, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp-applicants.

The FY 2016 VMLRP application period is now open and will close on May 20, 2016. A veterinarian may submit only one application per cycle.

For more information about the FY 2016 VMLRP application process, contact vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov. While the TAHC does not administer this program, comments or questions related to the shortage areas may be directed to comments@tahc.state.tx.us.