I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz in recent years that veterinary school is expensive and student debt has surpassed historic records. But all is not lost. Let me share some of the tips that vet students and vets brought to my attention. Whether you’re in vet school or applying, I hope this article will help you prepare for your future endeavors.
Signing a Master Promissory Note is a scary thing, but fear not. Veterinary school is an investment in your future, so if you need financial aid, consider it a necessary business transaction. Now for the important part, financial aid is not free; as a matter of fact, consider the cost of everything to be double, once you take the loan(s). This is a conservative position, because if your loan(s) is substantially large it will likely take you years to pay it back. At which time interest will have accrued and possibly added directly to the principal of the loan.
This brings me to my first critical point. Make a budget and stick to it. It’s a difficult thing to do if you’ve never done it before, but financial discipline now will make your life a lot easier in the future. And plus, financial responsibility is a fundamental if you want to own your own business someday. There are several templates available, so find a style that suits your needs. It’s important to realize that things change, and since you might need to adapt at times, budgeting is a continuous process. It’s also critical not to eliminate a safety fund for the sake of frugality.
Having a functional budget will help you decide how much money to borrow for school. In the long term, this is a great thing because you can reduce the amount of money you owe and the amount of time that you will spend repaying that debt. And it’s all possible by thinking ahead and being disciplined.
The next important piece of advice is to choose loans carefully. Recently the interest rates have fluctuated on a number of private and government loans. These are absolutely worth comparing. When you borrow, be aware of what you’re singing your name to. Your loans are attached to your credit, so when you borrow, it’s on you to uphold the conditions of the loan.
Finances are a challenging topic. I don’t have a degree in business, but I think that borrowing for vet school has helped me apply basic principles of financial responsibility to my life. It’s an important aspect to consider as a vet student or prospective student. While my advice applies to basic personal finances and understanding the conditions of borrowing, there are also programs which offer to repay student debts. These options are certainly worth investigating.