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VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Blog | You Want to be a veterinarian? Apply Smarter!

Apply Smarter Webinar in Collaboration with SDN and APVMA

VIN Foundation announces pre-veterinary school webinar in collaboration with Student Doctor Network and the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association


Free webinar helps hopeful pre-veterinary students apply smarter to veterinary school, improve their chances and save thousands in student debt


Davis, CA: The VIN Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing tools and resources to support veterinary students and veterinarians throughout their careers, is excited to announce an educational webinar on strategies for applying to veterinary school and minimizing student debt for pre-veterinary students. In collaboration with the Student Doctor Network (SDN) and the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA), the webinar will be held Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 5pm PT / 8pm ET. Interested attendees can register using the Apply Smarter registration link.


A veterinary degree can cost as much as or more than a medical school degree and more than the average U.S. home mortgage. However, starting veterinary salaries are about ½ to ⅓ of what a new physician can earn.


In an effort to save future veterinarians years of heartache and financial stress, the Apply Smarter webinar will help pre-veterinary students narrow their target list of schools to those where they have the best odds of acceptance and also save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.


“Educating pre-veterinary students on the wide range of veterinary school costs and student loan impacts prior to applications is vital to helping them make educated decisions and reducing the financial stress we see with many new graduate veterinarians,” said student debt educator and VIN Foundation board member Tony Bartels, DMV, MBA. “By collaborating with SDN and APVMA we are bringing together organizations on the forefront of educating pre-veterinary students and the future of the veterinary profession.”


“Student Doctor Network is excited to partner with VIN Foundation and the APVMA,” said Student Doctor Executive Director, Laura Turner. “We share their passion for helping pre-veterinary students with free resources to aid in their application process.”


“APVMA is excited to partner with the VIN Foundation and Student Doctor Network,” stated APVMA Vice President Ian Brown. “We’re looking forward to informing future veterinary students on smart ways on applying to veterinary school and how to save an extra penny in the process!”


Those who register for the Apply Smarter Webinar will be kept up to date on student debt and application information for veterinary school. They will also receive a recording of the webinar and the ability to ask further veterinary school application and student debt questions.



About the VIN Foundation

The VIN Foundation was created by members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) in 2005. VIN is an online community of veterinarians and veterinary students with over 70,000 members worldwide. Learn more about the VIN Foundation and its resources at https://VINFoundation.org. The VIN Foundation, a platinum level nonprofit, is made possible through generous gifts by individual donors and grants; all gifts made to the VIN Foundation are tax deductible.


About Student Doctor Network

Student Doctor Network (SDN) brings together thousands of current and future healthcare students and professionals into one community where they can share information, offer guidance, and provide encouragement to their peers and those coming up behind them. Whether considering a gap year, struggling with the intensity of their classes, or navigating the Match, members can find someone who understands what they’re facing.


About American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association

The American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) is a national organization of students. Our goal is to promote and stimulate interest in the field of veterinary medicine, provide open communication between pre-veterinary clubs and organizations nationally, provide resources to students on pursuing the field of veterinary medicine, and hold the annual national APVMA symposium.

New Grad Student Loan Questions and Answers: Income-Driven Repayment (PAYE, REPAYE, IBR)

Here are some questions about Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) that we tackled live during the 2019 New Veterinary Graduate Student Loan Repayment Webinar.

“Do we have to select a repayment plan every year or will we stay in the first one by default?”


If you do not select any repayment plan you will be placed in the standard 10-year repayment plan by default after your grace period expires. Your monthly payment will be calculated based on your starting repayment principal, interest rate, and the amount needed to pay each loan to zero in 120 months (10 years).


New Grad Student Loan Questions and Answers: Consolidation

Here are some questions about consolidation using a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan that we tackled live during the 2019 New Veterinary Graduate Student Loan Repayment Webinar.

“How do we know if our student loans are able to be consolidated?”


To receive a Direct Consolidation Loan, you must include at least one Direct or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) program loan in the consolidation*.


Your Direct and/or FFEL program loans need only be in their grace period, deferment, or repayment in order to include them in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.


Your Direct Unsubsidized veterinary school loans should enter their grace period shortly after your last semester ends or after graduation. I wish I knew the rhyme or reason for each school’s timing on the loan status switch, but it’s highly variable. Some schools switch over quickly and some even a few days before graduation.  Others can take a few weeks or even a month to reflect your graduation status.


The NSLDS is usually updated at least monthly, so you might see your status update with the change of the month following your graduation. You might even call your school financial aid office after graduation to see when they might report your graduation status to the Department of Education.  Sometimes that request can nudge your school into updating your status or reporting your status change earlier.


*Special Note: If you were to only have Perkins, Health Professions Student Loans, or Loans for Disadvantaged Students, you would be able to utilize a Direct Consolidation Loan.  I regularly meet a handful of veterinary students who fall into this category — the good news is that your loan balances in those cases are relatively low and have not been costing you interest during school so you’re in great shape to pay those back without having to consolidate.

“Can you consolidate after the grace period?”


Yes.  But, the timing of your Federal Direct Consolidation is important.


Your Direct Loans and/or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) need only be in their grace period, deferment, or repayment in order to include them in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.  


There are a couple of issues with waiting until your veterinary school loan grace period expires to start the Direct Consolidation Loan:


1. You continue to accrue interest on all of your unsubsidized loans during the grace period.  Thus, when you do enter repayment or consolidate later, the increased unpaid interest balance will be added to your principal resulting in a higher starting repayment balance.  You are charged interest on your principal — the higher your principal, the more you’ll pay during repayment.


2. The Direct Consolidation Loan takes 30-60 days to process.  Once processed your first payment will be due 30 days after that. If you wait until after your grace period, there is nearly 9 months of time that you are not in repayment, thus not making qualifying payments towards forgiveness.  Better to get the clock ticking, especially if you anticipate having a balance forgiven under an income-driven repayment plan.

“Can you consolidate and waive your grace period if you’re planning to do Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?”


You can and you should, especially if you’re starting a PSLF qualifying employment soon after graduation.


In order to make qualifying PSLF payments, you have to be 1) in repayment using an income-driven repayment plan, 2) paying federal Direct Loans on-time, and 3) employed full-time (average of 30 hours per week) with a qualifying employer. 


The sooner you can get most or all of your federal student loans consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan, the sooner you can officially start making payments using an income-driven repayment plan, which are 2 of the 3 primary requirements for working towards PSLF.  And if you can get the $0/mo payment due for the first 12 months of repayment, you’ll have more of your loans forgiven when you reach PSLF.


Per the PSLF Employment Certification Form, “A qualifying employer includes the government, a not-for-profit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a private not-for-profit organization that provides certain public services. Serving in an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position is also qualifying employment.”


I would recommend bringing a PSLF Employment Certification Form to your employer after you’ve started working with them and made a few monthly payments towards your student loans.  Repeat that process each year so you have 9 or 10 of those certification forms to submit with your actual application for PSLF.


After you’ve made 120 of those qualifying PSLF payments, you should have an easier time (in theory) having your remaining student loan balance forgiven tax-free if you have all of your employment certification forms documenting your progress along the way.

“My Perkins Loans, Health Professions Student Loan, and Loans for Disadvantaged Students aren’t listed as eligible under income-driven repayment. Can I consolidate them in order to pay them using PAYE, REPAYE or IBR?”


Yes, you can consolidate those non-Direct loan types as long as you are including one Direct or FFEL program loan in the consolidation. That is one of the primary reasons to utilize a federal Direct Consolidation Loan — to include non-Direct federal student loan types that do not qualify for income-driven repayment (IDR) on their own, but will once you consolidate them.


The most beneficial income-driven repayment plans (PAYE, REPAYE, IBR) and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) can only be used with Federal Direct Loans. The only way to make federal non-Direct Loan types qualify for IDR and PSLF is through a Direct Consolidation Loan and the best time to consolidate your loans is as soon as you can after you graduate veterinary school.

“Can you do Federal Direct Consolidation once you have started payments on an income-driven repayment plan?”


You can.  However, if you are already in repayment, you should be extremely careful using a Direct Consolidation Loan.  This is why the timing of your Federal Direct Consolidation Loan is so important.


When you consolidate, you receive a new loan(s) that pays off all of the loans included in the consolidation.  If you have made qualifying income-driven payments or PSLF payments to loans that you consolidate, you will lose credit for those qualifying payments.  Essentially, you reset your forgiveness clock on any loan you consolidate. That is another reason to start the Direct Consolidation Loan process as early as possible, ideally right after you graduate veterinary school.

“Should I consolidate my spouse’s federal student loans with mine?”


You can no longer combine federal student loans with your spouse as part of a federal consolidation loan.  That is likely a good thing because it is a mess to deal with in the event of separation/divorce.


You could probably still do a consolidation with your spouse using a private loan, but for many other reasons in addition to the fact it would still be a mess in the event of separation/divorce, I would highly discourage consolidating your student loans with your spouse’s student loans.

Have more questions? Post a comment below or email studentdebt@VINFoundation.org.