Close this search box.

Borrow Better


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

1) Borrow Better Webinar Recording

Watch the recording below of the Borrow Better in Veterinary School webinar from the VIN Foundation in collaboration with Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). Join student debt experts Tony Bartels, DVM, MBA and Rebecca Mears, DVM to learn how you can Borrow Better while in veterinary school! We welcome any questions and feedback.


2) Borrow Better Prezi

Review the Borrow Better presentation materials including clickable links to the resources referenced in the presentation. Think of this as the “slide deck” that you can click through and review at your own leisure as a quick summary of the webinar.

3) Borrow Better Checklist

All this information can be overwhelming. The Borrow Better Checklist provides a clear outline of five steps to help veterinary students Borrow Better while in veterinary school.

4) Personal Financial Success Course

Let’s face it — finance is not the forte of most veterinarians and veterinary students. But you can change that! If you can pass organic chemistry and get into veterinary school, you can certainly lean finance. And you’ll be a better vet because of it. To help you learn financial principals, VIN and VIN Foundation have partnered with to offer you a FREE personal financial success course. After registering, you’ll receive small snippets of various financial concepts delivered to your email box on a regular basis to help you develop and expand your financial knowledge base.



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.

Avoid the temptation to pay the interest on your student loans while you’re in school. The VIN Foundation Student Debt Education Team often asks 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.” 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:
  1. 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 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.
  2. 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 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.

VIN Foundation Veterinary Student Debt Center | Comprehensive Student Debt Resources | student loan help | veterinary student loan help | student debt help | Dr Tony Bartels | Dr Rebecca Mears
Scroll to Top