Student Debt Expert Tony Bartels, DVM, MBA
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Author:Tony Bartels, DVM, MBA

Student Loan Interest Rates and Repayment — Don’t listen to your parents!

Veterinary educational debt is a complex and continually evolving topic impacting all colleagues, not just current students and new graduates. A recent Merck Animal Health study named student debt as the biggest stressor reported by colleagues. That study also indicated that fewer veterinarians are recommending the profession as a career choice.

 

Practice owners hire indebted associates, more seasoned associates work alongside indebted associates. Given the magnitude of this issue — many call it a crisis — and the fact that the gap between veterinary educational debt and income continues to widen, most colleagues are coming to recognize that saying “It’s not my problem” is no longer an option for any of us.

 

It’s not surprising that most borrowers, their parents, other advisers and even the leadership at veterinary schools and organizations struggle to understand the topic and various options for managing the debt.

 

Seeking a lower interest rate or paying more towards loan payments almost always makes sense when managing traditional debt, such as a mortgage or business loan. However, it often results in higher monthly payments, reduced flexibility, or a higher total repayment cost when managing veterinary student debt.

 

Tony Bartels and I have made helping colleagues understand and manage their student debt a focus (some call it an obsession) over the past six years since Tony graduated with and married into Federal educational loans exceeding $400,000.  In recent years the VIN Foundation has taken this on as part of its mission to help colleagues in all stages of their careers from pre-veterinary candidate through retirement.

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | Choosing the Best Veterinary School for You

Choosing the Best Veterinary School for You

Choosing the veterinary schools you apply to is an exciting, yet confusing process. Several publications generate lists of the “best” veterinary schools using various criteria. Unlike some other professions, which veterinary school you attend likely won’t impact your future earnings or career options. However, which school you attend can have a significant impact upon the price you pay for your veterinary degree. If you, like most veterinary school attendees, finance the majority of your education with student loans, the amount you borrow can have a major impact upon your financial well-being for decades to come. As you consider embarking upon a career in veterinary medicine, let’s look at how you can Apply Smarter.

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | VETERINARY NEW GRADUATE STUDENT LOAN PLAYBOOK

New Veterinary Graduate Student Loan Playbook

Graduate, Consolidate, Get Started in Income-Driven Repayment

Congratulations, new veterinary doctors! It’s time to celebrate graduation! It’s also time to learn why and how a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan can help you start your student loan repayment plan ASAP.

VIN & VIN FOUNDATION LEARNING SESSION VIDEO:

If you borrowed student loans to help you through veterinary school, you do NOT want to wait until your grace period expires to get  your loan repayment plan started.  You can benefit from starting a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan as soon as your loans allow.  Let’s look at how you can use your student loan grace period in a financially beneficial way.

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | Aspiring Veterinarians Apply Smarter

For the Aspiring Veterinarian — Apply Smarter!

Veterinary medicine is experiencing a student debt crisis. Yes, many higher education graduates experience loan repayment hardship; however the magnitude affecting recent veterinary graduates is unique.  Every day I counsel pending and recent graduates through the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) and via VIN Foundation who report student debt balances in excess of $200,000, $300,000 and $400,000 with incomes between $70,000 and $90,000 depending on where they choose to live and what type of veterinary medicine they are pursuing.  

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | Sharing saves time, income-driven repayment saves money

Sharing saves time, income-driven repayment saves money

Student loan repayment is complicated.  With the availability of income-driven repayment options like Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE), confusion can set in quickly.  The VIN Foundation Student Debt Center is here to help! The My Student Loans function and guides you through which repayment plans you can use and the Student Loan Repayment Simulator helps you figure out which plan you should use.

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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | ESTIMATE YOUR MINIMUM MONTHLY STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT | Advanced Simulator Setting - Poverty Growth Rate

Estimate Your Minimum Monthly Student Loan Payment

The recently updated 2018 Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines determine your minimum monthly student loan payment. 

 

Poverty guidelines are used for many different U.S. government programs. One of the most important uses for veterinarians is the Discretionary Income calculation used to generate the minimum monthly student loan payment of federal income-driven repayment plans (IBR, PAYE, REPAYE).  Income-driven student loan repayment plans are extremely helpful for those veterinary graduates with student loan balances greater than their annual incomes.

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My Student Loans

Getting to and through veterinary school takes a long time and a lot of education. Along the way, you can borrow a variety of loan types to finance your education resulting in a complex student loan portfolio. Before you can formulate a repayment plan, you need to understand your student loans.  This short video tutorial will show you how to retrieve and upload your NSLDS file.

 

The VIN Foundation My Student Loans tool will help you make sense of your student loan portfolio. Using your National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) file, My Student Loans will organize your loans by type, date received, interest rate, principal, calculate a weighted average interest rate, and estimate your monthly interest accumulation. This information is crucial for helping you determine which repayment plans you can use.

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