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Opening of Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Fiscal Year 2023 Application Cycle

March 8, 2023

For Immediate Release:              
March 8, 2023

Jennifer Finley, Press Secretary – 225-922-1256
Megan Moore, Public Information Director – 225-935-2179

Opening of Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Fiscal Year 2023 Application Cycle

Baton Rouge, La. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) announces the opening of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 application cycle. NIFA anticipates that approximately $10 million in funding will be available in FY23 to help mitigate food animal veterinary service shortages in the United States. VMLRP helps qualified veterinarians offset a significant portion of the debt incurred in pursuit of their veterinary medical degrees in return for their service in certain high-priority veterinary shortage areas.

The VMLRP supports NIFA’s Animal Systems portfolio by facilitating professional workforce development in critical agricultural sectors related to animal health and well-being. The program contains two general categories of participation:

  • Mitigation of private veterinary practice shortage situations.
  • Mitigation of public veterinary practice and specialty veterinary discipline shortage situations.

VMLRP awardees commit to providing at least three years of food animal veterinary services in a designated veterinary shortage area in return for payments of up to $25,000 of student loan debt per year with a maximum of $75,000 for a three-year contract. VMLRP awardees are eligible to reapply to continue to serve their originally awarded shortage situation area in the last year of their contract or one year after their contract ends.

“According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, outstanding student loan debt is growing 4.5 times as fast as incomes for new veterinary school graduates,” remarked Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM. “The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program is a great opportunity to pay off a portion of student debt while providing veterinary services to areas experiencing shortage situations.”

The VMLRP Request for Applications (RFA) and the 2023 veterinary shortage situations are now available. A new requirement this year is a Letter of Intent (LOI). Specific instructions are available in the VMLRP RFA. The deadline for LOI is April 3, 2023, and the application deadline is April 17, 2023.

NIFA encourages interested applicants to view the informational webinars before starting the application process. Informational webinars are provided below.

VMLRP staff will host two live FAQ sessions, which will occur on:

March 16, 2023, from 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST

Register here

March 28, 2023, from 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST

Register here

Please refer to the VMLRP Annual Report  for more information about the program.

Questions about the VMLRP application process may be sent by email to