STEPS YOU CAN TAKE NOW AS A VETERINARY STUDENT TO BORROW LESS AND REDUCE YOUR FUTURE STRESS
Paying for your veterinary education is complicated. FAFSA, Direct Loans, Health Professions Student Loans, private loans, family loans, spouse support, savings, summer job — how do you know which loans or resources are best to use now to decrease stress during repayment?
If you’re using student loans to pay for veterinary school, you undoubtedly have applied for or received a financial aid award. This webinar will help you assess your award and Borrow Better for the remainder of veterinary school. Learn to create the best plan for you!
If you have questions, please reach out on the Student Debt Message Board. You have the option to post anonymously in this special area of VIN so you can get the answers you need and your colleagues can learn from the exchange too! All veterinary students have free access to the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).
If you already have your VIN username and password, you can review or post your student loan borrowing and repayment questions directly to the Student Debt Message Board.
If you’re a pre-veterinary student and you have questions about applying to veterinary school, student loans, borrowing for veterinary school, or repayment, we have a special place for you too! Create a VIN Foundation username and password using this application.
If you’re a veterinarian but do not have access to VIN, then you can join the VIN Foundation Student Debt Message Board area as well to get answers to your student loan repayment questions too!
Borrow Better Tools
BORROW BETTER IN VETERINARY SCHOOL 2020 WEBINAR RECORDING
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BORROW BETTER?
Student loans can be a necessary tool to pay for your education, but you are not helpless in reducing your costs. Borrow Better covers tips, tools, and resources you can use as a student to save money now and set yourself up for repayment success.
Your financial aid award is meant to cover your Cost of Attendance (COA): tuition and fees as well as living expenses. While your tuition and fees are required for you to obtain your degree, the living expense allowance is where you have some flexibility. Take a moment to add up your monthly expenses, or, for the gunners, open your monthly budget. Determine whether or not you need all of the living expenses amount offered to you.
You do not have to accept your entire financial aid award. To the extent possible, reduce the amount you borrow in Direct Loans, particularly Grad PLUS loans, and look for less expensive opportunities like Health Professions Student Loans, Loans for Disadvantaged Students, scholarships or grants.
Maybe you have already accepted your financial aid award…after all, it’s easier to accept all of the award than to reduce it. But that’s OK — you still have 120 days from the time you receive your funds to return excess amounts (above your budgeted needs) to the Department of Education. If you return award funds in that 4-month window, you will return the principal, interest and fees as well. A dollar returned reduces your loans by much more than a dollar paid towards interest.
Speaking of interest, you may have noticed that your federally held student loans are not accruing interest right now. This is a bonus due to the CARES Act and presidential actions that have suspended interest and payments through May 1, 2022. Combined with very low interest rates prior to the suspension, this will reduce the interest cost for all veterinary students. Avoid the temptation to pay the interest on your student loans while you’re in school. I often ask students who do this “Where is the money coming from to pay the interest on your student loans?” The most common answer is “my student loans.” Even if your current student loan rates are zero now, they are likely to start accruing interest in the near future. Thus, the same general principals will apply — You will save more money by reducing what you borrow or returning excess amounts during the 120-day window vs. paying the interest.
You can see the impact of your student loans, interest, and various scenarios for paying interest or reducing what you borrow using the VIN Foundation In-School Loan Estimator.
There are two ways to access the In-School Loan Estimator:
- If you have already accepted federal student loans at any point in your educational journey, then retrieve your student aid data file, available when you’re logged into StudentAid.gov. Upload your data file into the VIN Foundation My Student Loans tool by selecting the “I Have Student Loans With More School to Go” option. Once your file is uploaded, you’ll be able to send your current student loan information over to the In-School Loan Estimator and project your remaining costs from there.
- If you have not yet accepted any federal student loans, you can go directly to the In-School Loan Estimator or click the button in the “I Do Not Yet Have Student Loans But I Will” option on the VIN Foundation My Student Loans page.
Borrow Better is part of the VIN Foundation Student Debt Center three-part series of helping veterinary colleagues throughout their student loan path. It starts with pre-veterinary students learning how to Apply Smarter to veterinary school, continues for veterinary school students as they learn how to Borrow Better while in school, with the final step on the path is helping veterinarians Repay Wiser with specific student loan repayment strategies to save time and money.
As always the VIN Foundation welcomes questions and feedback.
The helpful three-part student loan series Apply Smarter, Borrow Better and Repay Wiser is part of the VIN Foundation Student Debt Center. The VIN Foundation Student Debt Center is a mobile-friendly comprehensive resource helping veterinary students, veterinarians, and those who support them manage student debt through school and beyond. Explore the VIN Foundation Student Debt Center.