COVID-19 , News

Could loan relief be coming for veterinarians?

Lobbying is underway to include DVMs in the still-pending Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act.

Could loan relief be coming for veterinarians?

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges is raising the possibility of veterinarians being included in legislation that would wipe out some or all of their federal student loans.

A bill introduced May 5 by New York Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney would forgive the eligible loan debt of health care workers “on the front line in response to COVID-19,” the legislation states.

While the bill does not specifically mention veterinarians, the AAVMC reported that its Governmental Affairs Office is working with Maloney’s office to include DVMs.

H.R. 6720 identifies front-line personnel as a “doctor, medical resident, medical intern, medical fellow, nurse, home health care worker, mental health professional or other health care professional who is licensed, registered or certified under federal or state law to provide health care services and who provides COVID-related health care services.”

The full text of the bill, also known as the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act, is available at bit.ly/2XcaUYo.

The odds of the House, Senate and president approving the bill in any form are unknown, but the AAVMC stated that “the legislation could be included in the next COVID-19 relief package.”

“The bill provides for both the forgiveness of federally held student loans in addition to the repayment of privately held education loans by the Secretary of Education for those borrowers deemed as front-line health care workers,” the organization noted. “For those health care workers with a graduate education, it would only apply to the graduate loans. For those without a graduate education, it would apply to the undergraduate loans. The bill ensures that this forgiveness/payment would be excluded from taxable income.”

Counting student loans from all sources, the average debt of veterinary graduates is about $150,000, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.


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