2021 Georgia Veterinary Education Loan Program

2021 Georgia Veterinary Education Loan Program

The Georgia Veterinary Education Loan Repayment Program (GVELRP or Program) is administered by the State Veterinary Education Board (Board) with assistance from the Georgia Student Finance Authority (GSFA).  The Board also receives administrative support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Members of the Board were appointed in 2016 as authorized by O.C.G.A 20-3-518.1 et seq.  The Board and GVELRP were established by the Georgia General Assembly for the purpose of providing financial relief, by way of student loan purchases, for veterinarians willing to provide food animal veterinary services in shortage areas around the state.

A.        Funding and Awards

The 2020 Georgia General Assembly appropriated state funds totaling $90,000 to GSFA for the Board to carry out it’s purpose. These funds became available to the Board effective July 1, 2020 and will remain with GSFA until the terms of the first contracts awarded have been met, at which time the Board will instruct GSFA to make payments of up to $18,000 on the outstanding student loan debt of the contracted veterinarian.  GVELRP awards are subject to appropriation each year by the legislature.  At this time, there is no promise of future funding for the Program.

The Board may enter into contracts with up to five (5) eligible applicants.  Award amounts are capped at

$20,000 per twelve (12) months of service.  Each GVELRP participant is required to reapply to the Program after their first contract is completed, and no participant may receive more than $80,000 in total assistance.

Preference may be given to previous participants in GVELRP, provided that they continue to demonstrate their commitment to practicing food animal veterinary medicine in the area of need they serve.

B.        Eligibility

Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or have a lawful presence in the country.  Only veterinarians who are Georgia residents will be considered.  Eligible candidates can be either practicing veterinarians or veterinary students in their final year of study.

O.C.G.A 20-3-518.1 et seq. stipulates that only candidates who practice or intend to practice in Board approved rural counties with populations of 35,000 or less may be considered for awards. Prior service in these areas will not be considered services rendered for contracts entered into.  A map of the eligible rural counties can be found here.

C.        Application Process

The application period for FY 2020 will be open starting October 26th, 2020.  The application and supporting documents can be found here.  Each applicant is required to submit a completed application form and the appropriate reference documents to the Board by no later than December 1st, 2020. Completed applications must be accompanied by three (3) completed reference forms, one of which must be from a DVM/VMD and one from a current of former employer.  If an applicant has no employment history, they are asked to include a reference from a professor directly involved in the completion of their veterinary degree program.

Once the application period closes, Board Members will review the completed applications and narrow the candidate pool based on the quality of the candidate and the severity of the shortage situation the candidate intends to serve.  Candidates may be asked to be interviewed by one or more Board Members, either in- person or over the phone.  The final candidates and their awards will be announced by January 1st, 2021Participants who receive the awards will be required to enter into a contract with the Board in order to receive their awards. If chosen to participate in the Program, applicants will also be required to submit a lender verification form to GSFC.

D.        Contract Term and Service Obligation

Each contract between the Board and the participant will be for a 12 month period to be defined by the contract.  During this time, the participant is expected to devote at least 20 hours per week to providing food animal veterinary services in the area of need that they applied for.  If, during the service period, the applicant wishes to move services to another area of need in the state, they may do so with the approval of the Board. If the terms of the contract are breached by the participant at any time, the contract will become void and the participant will not receive the award at the end of the 12-month period.

E.       Additional Information

Completed applications can be returned via email to statevetedboard@agr.georgia.gov or mailed to:

Georgia Department of Agriculture

Attn:  Bo Warren

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. SW Suite 210

Atlanta, GA 30334