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Do You Have Veterinary Student Loan Debt?

You worked hard all throughout school in order to get the job of your dreams: working in animal care. But the dream of being a veterinarian can come with a costly educational bill.  Working toward financial freedom can be a huge hurdle in your life, and even more so when attempting to lessen your student loan debt. When you envision a future, likely it doesn’t involve years of paying off debt. But you are not alone in this struggle. 

There is no shortage of information relating to the student debt crisis that is sweeping the nation. Students are defaulting and struggling to pay back their loans as the interest increases and the penalties get more severe. But there are ways to help manage your veterinary school loans. Do you have a plan to help eliminate your student loan debt from studying veterinary medicine?  

The thing you should initially do is list your loans to see the extent of financial burden. After you’ve listed your loans to determine the amount of your debt, the next thing to explore is consolidation and refinancing. If you are looking to lower your interest rate and monthly payment, refinancing is a good option to explore. A private lender, such as a bank, online lender, or credit union, can help bring down the interest and monthly payments. But before you consider this option, make sure you explore the options available through federal loan services. Federal loan services offer loan-reduction options and loan forgiveness, as well as options for low-income students and direct consolidation. If you opt to work with a private lender, you will lose these options so it’s important to explore these choices before committing. 

Consolidating your loans is another option to consider in order to lessen the burden of your veterinary student loan debt. Often when you borrow for school you borrow from a variety of lending institutions, which can result in an overwhelming payment schedule. By consolidating it will help to simplify this schedule and keep you on track when it comes to the consistency of payments. But keep in mind that just by consolidating it doesn’t automatically mean that your monthly payments will lessen. 

It’s also essential to find ways to manage your debt in order to get out from under your loans. There are some tips to do this, starting with being knowledgeable about what you owe. This will start with doing some research, including checking the extent of your federal loan debt through the national debt registry and directly contacting any private loan lenders to check what your debt looks like with them. After you make note of your loans, including the balance and the interest, explore whether or not deferment or loan forgiveness is an option.  

Once you have a handle on what you owe and the nature of your veterinary loan debt, you can look into what payment options are available to you. It’s important to understand what payment options are available to you based on your needs. Do you think you might qualify for need-based loan forgiveness? Some loans have options for income-driven payment options. This entails having your monthly payment shaped by how much you earn. It might also be possible for you to temporarily defer your loan payments based on need. This means if you are financially incapable of making your monthly payment it might be possible to apply for temporary deferment while you’re looking for full-time employment. But it’s important to note that these options are exclusive to federal loans and not private loans. 

Once you’ve assessed your options, there are additional factors to take into consideration to help you start eliminating your debt. The first thing to do is to ensure that you take advantage of tax deductions. Paying the interest on your student loans means that you can deduct that amount from your taxes for federal loans. The interest on your loans can be calculated against your income for the year that you are filing, make sure that you take advantage of this knowledge when it comes to re-obtaining that money for your taxes. And it would also be prudent to consider careers where student loan forgiveness is factored into benefits. Some veterinary jobs will offer assistance with your student loan payments as part of their workplace benefits. 

Ultimately, it is important to start budgeting. Staying ahead of your payments and paying more than your monthly minimum will help to keep you on a schedule for repayments that will eliminate your loans quicker. Make a list of your monthly expenditures and try to determine if there are areas where you can reduce spending and dedicate that money to your loans. 

And finally, remember that there are career-based institutions that can help with your veterinary student loan debt. Are you aware of programs that can help with your debt? Veterinary medicine has a great need for new professionals and there are programs geared toward drawing in new veterinarians and helping them with their loan burden. Look into areas that experience shortage and those who are willing to entice new professionals with the perk of lessening their student loan debt. That could be places like The Veterinary Loan Repayment Program or Shortage areas for livestock veterinarians.

No matter where you are in your debt repayment, remember that you are not alone in this challenge. There are plenty of ways to make the repayment process less of a headache, and to say goodbye to your loan debt faster!