As a veterinary student, I know that achieving my dream comes with an expensive price tag. I never let that reality deter me from pursuing my veterinary journey. However, as I get ever closer to graduation, the reality of student loans and debt have become more of a focus. Fortunately, there are various resources available for students to help us prepare for managing debt burdens while still “having a life.”
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a presentation given by Dr. Paul Pion, President and co-founder of Veterinary Information Network (VIN), and Dr. Tony Bartels, VIN student debt expert, who spoke about income-based repayment options for student loans and how to plan for and manage student debt. I walked into that presentation feeling very anxious and apprehensive about the amount I owe. By the end of the presentation, I was relieved to learn about my options and the support system that exists to help me navigate the rather confusing waters that surround the topic of student loans.
I feel that it is absolutely imperative for other students to learn about all the tools that exist to help us manage debt. To all of my fellow veterinary students:
- YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
- There ARE ways to work on paying off student loan debt while still being able to buy a house, have kids, own a practice…AKA “have a life” and…
- VIN has amazing resources at our disposal to help us understand debt and plan for its repayment in feasible, practical ways. Take a look at the student loan repayment simulator developed by Drs. Pion and Bartels located here. By giving a little information, such as your loan burden and estimated income upon graduation, you can be well on your way to picking the best repayment program for you and your lifestyle. It allows you to customize the simulation considering spouses, kids, dependents, planned internship years or residencies.
Most of all, I hope that you realize that debt CAN be manageable and there are valuable resources and individuals out there to help!