Attending veterinary school is extremely expensive, and the costs have continued to skyrocket over the past decade. According to a report from VIN News, the average vet student’s educational debt has spiked significantly from $81,052 in 2004 to $162,113 in 2013. The American Veterinary Medical Association found that the average educational debt rose 6.9 percent just from 2012 to 2013! Additionally, about half of all vet students reported having debt greater than $150,000.
Fortunately, there are many sources of scholarship funds that can help reduce the financial burden on vet students. Here are some of the scholarship opportunities that veterinary students should consider:
Many veterinary schools have significant funding that they can utilize to defray the costs of attendance for their students. For instance, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine advertises an average grant and scholarship assistance amount of $37,988 per student over the four year term. Many of these scholarships are funded by private donors, corporations, and state or local groups.
American Association of Bovine Practitioners
The AABP offers Bovine Veterinary Student Recognition Awards each year. Students are eligible to apply for one of the $5,000 scholarships during their second or third year of veterinary study. Fifteen award recipients are selected based on criteria such as academic record, work experience, career goals, recommendations, and demonstrated interest in working with cattle. Applications are accepted in March and April.
American Quarter Horse Association Scholarship
The American Quarter Horse Association offers the Coyote Rock Ranch Veterinary Scholarship. Third year vet students with an interest in equine medicine are encouraged to apply. The one year award carries a very significant $75,000 in scholarship funding, which is applied to the student’s fourth and final year of study.
Zoetis & American Association of Equine Practitioners Scholarship
The AAEP & Zoetis offer five $4,000 awards each year to veterinary students seeking a career in equine medicine. Winners choosing to attend the AAEP convention also receive a $300 travel stipend and complimentary registration. Students may apply in the spring semester of their fourth year of vet school.
Merck Animal Health & American Association of Equine Practitioners Scholarship
Merck and the AAEP offer five $5,000 awards annually to second or third year veterinary students intending to pursue equine practice. Students are eligible to apply in the spring of their second or third year of vet school.
American Veterinary Medical Foundation Scholarships
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has several scholarship programs for veterinary students in their first three years of study (amounts are variable). Additional scholarships are available, including a women’s scholarship ($500) and a feline scholarship ($2,500). Applications are due in the spring. The AVMF also partners with Merck to award $5,000 scholarships to second and third year vet students (usually with an application deadline in late fall or winter).
Bayer Excellence in Communication Award
Bayer’s Excellence in Communication Award (BECA) program offers more than $70,000 in scholarship funds each year. The national winner receives a $5,000 scholarship, and a winner is chosen from each of 27 participating vet schools for $2,500 school-level awards. All students competing for the award must submit a video of a client interview to highlight their effective communication skills. As of 2016 the BECA program has awarded more than $232,500 in scholarship funds.
Markel AAEP Foundation Scholarships
Markel Insurance Company and the American Association of Equine Practitioners awars eight $2,500 scholarships to veterinary students that intend to work in equine medicine. The winners also receive a $300 travel stipend to attend the AAEP Convention. Applications are accepted from fourth year vet students during their fall semester.
Morris Animal Foundation Scholarships
The Morris Animal Foundation’s Veterinary Student Scholars program (VSS) is an option for vet students that are interested in clinical research. Stipends of up to $4,000 are available to vet students who commit to 10 to 12 week research projects.
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Health Professions Scholarship Program
The U.S. Army Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) offers full-tuition scholarships and monthly stipends for vet students. Students must commit to completing three years of active duty in exchange for the scholarship funds. Applicants must be full time veterinary students, be U.S. citizens, attend an accredited U.S. veterinary college, and meet all eligibility requirements to become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Oxbow Animal Health Scholarships
Oxbow Animal Health offers a $1,000 scholarship to veterinary students with an interest in exotic animal medicine. They also offer two $500 scholarships for veterinary technicians with an interest in small animal and exotic animal medicine.
Race for Education & AAEP Scholarships
The Race for Education and the American Association of Equine Practitioners offer the Winner’s Circle scholarship program. This scholarship is available to third year veterinary students with a strong interest in equine veterinary medicine. The awards range from $1,500 to $5,000 for fourth year vet school costs. Students must apply directly to their local SCAAEP (Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners) and one scholarship will be awarded in each of the 36 jurisdictions of the SCAAEP.
Simmons Educational Fund Business Aptitude Award
The Simmons Educational Fund awards a $3,000 scholarship to a third-year veterinary student from each participating North American vet school. Students must submit an essay on a business case study related to veterinary private practice. The winner with the best essay receives a $15,000 award and a free trip to attend the North American Veterinary Conference.
Veterinary Scholarship Trust of New England
VSTONE administers scholarship and award programs restricted to residents of New England that are studying veterinary medicine. This trust has funded the education of more than 500 students since it began in 1958. Third and fourth year veterinary students are eligible to apply for $5,000 scholarships. One winner will be selected from each of the six states in New England. In 2016 an additional $8,000 award was established for a veterinarian pursuing a residency in pathology.
American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club has awarded scholarships to vet students for more than two decades. Every AVMA accredited vet school in the U.S. may nominate up to four candidates for the AKC scholarships. Candidates are selected based on academic achievement, interest in purebred dogs, and financial need. Award amounts usually range from $2,000 to $7,000 per student.