Rural Iowa Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program

The Rural Iowa Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program was established to address critical veterinarian shortages in rural Iowa communities. The program provides loan repayment incentives to individuals that practice in specified locations for up to four years. The maximum award for this program is $60,000, which is paid in four increments toward outstanding Federal Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, and Graduate PLUS balances at the end of each 12 month employment period. 

Eligibility Criteria

An individual is eligible to apply to enter into a program agreement if he or she:

  • Is in the final year of, or has completed within the past five years, a doctor of veterinary medicine degree program.
  • Has not participated in or received loan repayment awards through the National Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
  • Will receive or possess a license to practice veterinary medicine in Iowa.
  • Will secure full-time employment in an eligible area and practice full-time for a period of four consecutive years after entering into the program agreement.

Eligible Areas

An eligible applicant must work full-time for four consecutive years in a veterinary shortage area or service commitment area. 

  • Veterinary Shortage Area (blue areas on the map)
    • A veterinary shortage area is a service area in Iowa published by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Rural Service Commitment Area (gray areas on the map)
    • A rural service commitment area is an Iowa city with a population less than 26,000 located more than 20 miles from a city with a population of at least 50,000.
    • Service commitment areas must provide a matching contribution equal to 12.5% of the veterinarian’s eligible student loan balance to a trust fund held by the state of Iowa that will fund future recipient awards.

Program Agreement

An individual who meets the above eligibility requirements, and is selected to sign a program agreement must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Become licensed and employed in the practice of veterinary medicine in a veterinary shortage area or rural service commitment area in Iowa within one year of signing a program agreement or completing the doctor of veterinary medicine degree, whichever is most recent.
  • Work for a minimum of four consecutive years in an eligible area.

Priority for Awards

In the event that all on-time eligible applicants cannot be funded with available appropriations, program agreements will be prioritized as follows:

  • Eligible applicants who will practice as private practice food supply veterinarians in a veterinary shortage area and who graduated from an Iowa high school; followed by eligible applicants who will practice as private practice food supply veterinarians in a veterinary shortage area and who did not graduate from an Iowa high school.
  • Eligible applicants who will practice as private practice food supply veterinarians in a service commitment area and who graduated from an Iowa high school; followed by eligible applicants who will practice as private practice food supply veterinarians in a service commitment area and who did not graduate from an Iowa high school.
  • Eligible applicants who will practice as veterinarians in a service commitment area and who graduated from an Iowa high school; followed by eligible applicants who will practice as veterinarians in a service commitment area and who did not graduate from an Iowa high school.
  • Eligible applicants within each priority category will be prioritized by the date the application is received by Iowa College Aid.

Process

Up to $15,000 can be paid annually toward eligible student loan balances upon successful completion of each 12-month employment period. Federal loans eligible for repayment include all Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, and Graduate PLUS. If an applicant signs an agreement but fails to meet the program criteria prior to receiving a loan repayment award, the applicant has no further employment requirement under the agreement.

How to Apply

Rural Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program Application

Important Dates

February 1, 2021: The program application will be available. The application will be open until February 28, 2021.

March/April, 2021: Iowa College Aid ranks eligible applicants by the priority criteria and selects the top five applicants to sign the Program Agreement.

May/June, 2021: Selected applicants sign and return Program Agreement.  All other applicants are notified that they will not receive an award.