The “standard” amount of financial aid offered for your veterinary education is defined by the Cost of Attendance (COA) published by each school. The COA includes Tuition & Fees as well as living expenses.
Veterinary School is a graduate/professional program. When you apply for financial aid for a graduate/professional program, you are considered independent from your parents. Using only your assets for financial aid consideration means your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is quite often low or zero and you are usually awarded a financial aid package up to the COA.
If you’re married when you apply for financial aid or have children, or you significant assets (congrats!), your financial aid award can be higher or lower than the published COA for your veterinary school. If you fit the complicated case category, arrange to meet with the financial aid offices of the veterinary schools you want to attend.
Generally, the limit for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is $40,500 for a 9-month academic term at a U.S. accredited veterinary program. The Direct Unsubsidized limit for students attending a foreign accredited veterinary program is $20,500 for a 9-month academic term. Any amount you need above the Direct Unsubsidized limit will require a Direct PLUS application for graduate/professional students. As long as you do not have an adverse credit history, amounts above the Direct Unsubsidized limit are covered by Direct PLUS Graduate Loans up to the COA.
No. The FAFSA award represents the maximum that you’re allowed to borrow for a given academic year. You can choose to accept as much of that award as you need. Generally, FAFSA makes it easier to borrow the maximum award than it does to return or reduce your award. However, if know you do not need all that you are awarded, you can (and should) choose to reduce your award.
If you reduce your award and discover that you need more, you can always go back during that academic year to request up to the amount initially awarded to you.
Review the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula on the Student Aid website. It will depend on your marital status, taxable income, age, state, and other assets, number of dependents, etc. Generally, a fraction of your savings are considered in your EFC, but depending simply having savings does not mean that you will not receive the Cost of Attendance.
Visit with the financial aid office for the schools you’re considering or review the EFC formula guide to see how your financial aid might be impacted by your financial circumstances.
Generally, foreign accredited veterinary programs have costs similar to private or non-resident U.S. school costs. With more of the cost covered by higher-priced Direct PLUS loans, the interest and fees can add more to your total educational costs. Furthermore, exchange rates in some countries can add to borrowed amounts, which contribute to more interest and fees. Consider your costs carefully when attending a foreign veterinary program — particularly if you’re using student loans to finance your education.
The VIN Foundation Cost of Education (COE) Map displays costs without any grants, scholarships, or outside funding. Scholarships, grants, and outside funding are not guaranteed by the schools. You will have to work to identify, apply, earn, and/or receive all funds to offset the cost of your education. The COE map also includes projections for increases to tuition and fees as well as interest on student loans. You can turn off projected tuition increases or student loan interest estimates in the COE map if you want to look at total costs without anticipated tuition increases or including student loan interest accrual.
There are numerous scholarships available inside and outside of veterinary schools. For specific scholarship types, ask the financial aid and dean’s offices for a list. I would also search organizational websites like AVMA, AAVMC and any other national veterinary organizations.