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Borrow Better

VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Webinar | Borrow Better: Steps you can take now as a veterinary student to borrow less and reduce your future stress

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!


1) Borrow Better Webinar Recording

Watch the webinar recording below of the recent Borrow Better webinar from the VIN Foundation in collaboration with the The Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA), the Student Doctor Network (SDN) and the Veterinary Information Network (VIN). In this video Tony Bartels, DMV, MBA shows you how assess your financial aid award and Borrow Better for the remainder of veterinary school. Learn to create the best plan for you! 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.

Borrow Better Webinar Recording



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 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 you need all of the living expense 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 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, 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.”  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 scenarious 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, then access your NSLDS file, available when you’re logged into NSLDS.ED.GOV. Upload your NSLDS file into the VIN Foundation My Student Loans tool by selecting the “Currently Borrowing and Still in Veterinary School” option.  Once your file is uploaded, you’ll be able to send your current student loan information over to the In-School Loan Esimtator 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 “Planning to Attend Veterinary School” 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 being helping veterinarians Repay Wiser with specific student loan repayment strategies to save time and money.


As always the VIN Foundation welcomes questions and feedback.


VIN Foundation | Supporting veterinarians to cultivate a healthy animal community | Resources | Student Debt CenterThe 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.



Go to... Apply Smarter    Go to... Repay Wiser  Go to... Student Debt Center