VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | prevet resources veterinary student resources veterinarian resources | Nonprofit free veterinary resources | Blog | Veterinary Pulse Podcast Episode 156 | Dr. Tony Bartels and Dr. Rebecca Mears on the latest student debt hot list topics and what borrowers need to do now

Dr. Tony Bartels and Dr. Rebecca Mears on the latest student debt hot list topics and what borrowers need to do now

Listen in as student debt expert and Board Member Dr. Tony Bartels and student debt team member Dr. Rebecca Mears in this next installment of our Student Debt Series. This episode we’re going through the current hot list of student debt topics the team is hearing from colleagues and a to-do list of what borrowers need to do now.

Hot List:

  1. Did you finish vet school before 2014? – You may have privately-held FFELs.  Consolidate and benefit from the one-time forgiveness count adjustment
  2. Do you have loans that have been in repayment longer than you’ve been using income-driven repayment?Consolidate and benefit from the one-time forgiveness count adjustment.
  3. Are you eligible for PAYE? Are you using PAYE? – Make sure you find out before PAYE is phased out!
  4. Did you make any payments before the pandemic forbearance benefits began, March 13, 2020?Request a refund before the benefits end!
  5. Do you know when your income-driven repayment renewal date is? Hint – it’s not until sometime after January 2024, at least. Use the My Student Loans tool to see your “Anniversary Date” and start planning your post-forbearance strategy.
  6. Married? Have you been filing your taxes separately from your spouse recently because of your student debt? – You can amend recent prior year tax returns from separate to joint! We covered this in a recent Dear Dr. Debt column. Visit with your accountant to see if you can get a refund.
  7. Graduating veterinary school in 2023? Congratulations! Did you miss the New Grad Student Loan Repayment Playbook webinar? – Here is a link to the playbook recording, slides, and checklist.

Honorable mentions (coming soon):

  1. Most unpaid interest capitalization is going away starting July 1, 2023
  2. One-time forgiveness count adjustments will be applied in 2024 (or sooner if you are due forgiveness)
  3. The Supreme Court will rule on the special cancellation benefits this summer
  4. Interest and payments are likely starting up later this summer, possibly after August 2023

As always, we want to hear from YOU. Please share your thoughts by sending an email or joining the conversation.


Dr. Tony Bartels
Tony Bartels, DVM, MBA graduated in 2012 from the Colorado State University combined MBA/DVM program and is a VIN Foundation Board Member and Student Debt Expert, and an employee of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN). He and his wife, a small-animal internal medicine specialist practicing in Denver, have more than $400,000 in veterinary-school debt that they manage using federal income-driven repayment plans. By necessity (and now obsession), his professional activities include researching and speaking on veterinary-student debt, providing guidance to colleagues on loan-repayment strategies and contributing to VIN Foundation resources. Beyond debt, his professional interests include small- and exotic-animal practice. When he’s not staring holes into his colleagues’ student-loan data, Tony enjoys fly fishing, ice hockey, camping and exploring Colorado with his wife, Audra, and their two rescued canines, Addi and Maggie.


Dr. Rebecca Mears

Rebecca Mears, DVM is from Lexington, KY, where she completed her BS at University of Kentucky. She is a graduate of University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. While in vet school, she served as the National Business Certificate Director for the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) and as a board member for Vets for Pets and People. During this time she took an active role in wellbeing awareness and access within the veterinary community. Rebecca then worked as an equine general practitioner and is an active AAEP member. In her time away from veterinary medicine, she can be found hiking, baking, and hosting impromptu dance parties. She is passionate about giving back to the profession and improving the lives of veterinarians, pre-vet and vet students.



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