North Dakota expands designated shortage areas for veterinary loan repayment program
North Dakota has increased the number of counties to be considered as veterinary shortage areas in state and national veterinary loan repayment programs. The designated counties now include Bowman, Slope, McKenzie, McIntosh and portions of Dickey, Emmons and Logan. North Dakota previously had two designated veterinary shortage areas in which veterinarians received funds to provide services.
“Seven North Dakota counties have been designated veterinary shortage areas,” says Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Veterinarians who commit to practicing in these areas for at least three years may have up to $25,000 of their student loan debt repaid per year through the national Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program.”
The program was established to help recently graduated veterinarians repay their veterinary school loans in exchange for serving in areas lacking veterinary resources. Loan repayment program recipients are required to commit to three years of veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage area. Loan repayment benefits are limited to payments of the principal and interest on government and commercial loans received for earning a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine.
Since 2008, North Dakota has awarded funds to 15 veterinarians through the state veterinary loan repayment program, and earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced 80 awards, totaling more than $7.7 million dollars, to American veterinarians through the national program.