Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Banfield Pet Hospital has launched a debt-relief program that should bring sighs of relief from many of the company’s 3,500 veterinarians.
The Banfield Veterinary Student Debt Relief Pilot Program, announced Nov. 8, will see the Vancouver, Washington, company help its veterinarians reduce the burden of paying back college loans. Veterinarians entering the workforce now graduate with average student debt of $167,000, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The program offers:
- A low-interest refinancing option with a supplementary 0.25 percent interest-rate reduction from a third-party financial institution.
- A monthly $150 contribution paid directly on qualifying loans.
- A $2,500 loan payment for each qualifying Banfield student program in which the doctor participated before graduation. Doctors hired after Nov. 27, 2017, who served as a Banfield student ambassador or participated in initiatives such as Banfield’s student job or externship programs, may qualify for the benefit.
“High levels of veterinary student debt are plaguing the industry, and Banfield is committed to helping veterinarians address this significant burden,” said the company’s senior vice president and chief medical officer Daniel Aja, DVM.
“We’re investing in the new Banfield Veterinary Student Debt Relief Pilot Program to support our doctors first and foremost, but also set the bar for the veterinary profession to help address this industrywide issue.”
Banfield operates more than 1,000 veterinary hospitals across the United States.
AVMA President Michael Topper, DVM, Ph.D., DACVP, supports the pilot program.
“The AVMA has been actively engaged in defining and addressing the issue of veterinary student debt, and we know that this is a growing problem with no quick fix,” Dr. Topper said. “We applaud Banfield for proactively taking steps to try to ease the burden of their employees’ student debt and look forward to learning more about the impact it has on the veterinarians who take part in the program.”