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Best veterinary school loans

How to fund your love for helping animals.

The average veterinary school student paid over $140,000 for their degree in 2016, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. And over 20% of students graduated with at least $200,000 in student debt. If you too need help footing the bill, you have a range of both private and federal loan options to turn to.

How we picked these loans

When selecting the best private student loans for veterinary school, we looked at lenders that offered loan amounts, rates, repayment options and borrower perks that fit a wide range of borrowers.

The 3 best private student loans for veterinary school

Consider your financial situation and priorities before comparing lenders to ensure you find a loan that best meets your needs.

Sallie Mae Medical School Loan: Best for flexible repayment options

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance
  • Fixed APRs: 5.49% to 9.98% with discounts
  • Variable APRs: 4.12% to 9.48% with discounts
  • Terms: 20 years
  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Graduate student enrolled in a VMD program at a participating degree-granting school
    • US citizen, permanent resident if attending a school outside the US or have a creditworthy cosigner who is
    • Meet credit and other eligibility criteria

Sallie Mae’s Medical School Loan is ideal for veterinary school students looking for flexible repayment options upon graduation. You can defer your loans for up to four years if you’re entering a post-graduate internship program. And even if you’re not, you have the option to hold off on repayments for up to three years after you graduate to give you time to get settled in your career.

    Discover Health Professions Loan: Best for students with high GPAs

    • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance
    • Fixed APRs: 4.99% to 10.49% with discounts
    • Variable APRs: 3.74% to 9.62% with discounts
    • Terms: 20 years
    • Eligibility requirements:
      • Graduate student in a healthcare-focused program, including veterinary medicine
      • Enrolled at least half time
      • Making satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school
      • US citizen, permanent resident or international student with a cosigner who is
      • At least 16 years old
      • Pass a credit check

    High-achieving veterinary students are perfect candidates for Discover’s Health Professions Loan — it offers a one-time cash reward to borrowers with a 3.0 GPA or higher. It also has a repayment assistance program if you’re struggling to make repayments upon graduation due to a financial setback.

      Wells Fargo MedCAP Medical School Loans: Best for full-program coverage

      • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance — with a lifetime cap of $180,000
      • Fixed APRs: 5.29% to 10.82% with discounts
      • Variable APRs: 4.36% to 9.97% with discounts
      • Terms: 15 to 20 years
      • Eligibility requirements:
        • Graduate student at an approved medical school in a veterinary medicine program
        • US citizen, national, permanent resident or cosigner who is
        • Making satisfactory academic progress
        • Have an established, positive credit history

      You might associate Wells Fargo with personal banking, but it’s also a great resource for private education loans. With high lifetime limits and yearly maximums up to the cost of attendance, it’s committed to helping students cover the high cost of veterinary school.

      Compare other private student loans for veterinary school

      Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

      Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
      Purefy Student Loan Refinancing (Variable Rate)
      1.88% to 5.54%
      $5,000 - $300,000
      5 to 20 years
      Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
      Credible Student Loan Refinancing
      1.80% to 8.90%
      Good to excellent credit
      Starting at $5,000
      5 to 20 years
      Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
      SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
      2.25% to 6.59%
      Starting at $5,000
      5 to 20 years
      A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
      Splash Financial Student Loan Refinancing
      1.89% to 6.66%
      Starting at $7,500
      5 to 25 years
      Save on your student loans with this market-leading newcomer.
      Education Loan Finance Student Loan Refinancing
      2.39% to 6.01%
      Starting at $15,000
      5 to 20 years
      Lower your student debt costs with manageable payments, affordable rates and flexible terms.
      Earnest Student Loan Refinancing
      1.88% to 5.64% APR with autopay
      $5,000 - $500,000
      5 to 20 years
      Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
      Supermoney student loan refinancing
      Starting at 1.9%
      No minimum credit score
      $5,000 - $300,000
      5 to 20 years
      Compare options to combine both private and federal debts into one monthly payment.

      Compare up to 4 providers

      Federal student loans for veterinary school

      Graduate students pursuing veterinary school have two options when it comes to borrowing federal loans. However, with relatively high rates, you might be able to qualify for a better deal from a private lender — especially if you have excellent credit or a cosigner who does.

      Here’s how your two options break down:

      Annual limitLifetime limitInterest rateFeesTerms
      Direct Unsubsidized Loans$20,500$138,5004.3% 1.059%
      • Deferred repayments during school and six months after you graduate.
      • Standard repayment term of 10 years, with options for income-based and extended repayment plans up to 25 years
      Direct PLUS LoansUp to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendanceNone7.08%4.236%
      • Deferred repayments during school and six months after you graduate.
      • Standard repayment term of 10 years, with options for income-based and extended repayment plans up to 25 years

      To apply for both of these federal loans, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While Direct Unsubsidized Loans don’t require a credit check, Direct PLUS Loans do. However, you have the option of applying with a creditworthy cosigner if you can’t qualify on your own.

      To learn more, check out our page on federal student loans for graduate school.

      Alternative ways to pay for medical school

      If you’re looking to avoid taking out student loans for veterinary school, consider these alternatives instead:

      • Scholarships. Reach out to your veterinary school as well as outside organizations for scholarships you might qualify for based on need, merit or your area of study. These are ideal since the funds don’t have to be repaid.
      • Military service. Through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), you can have your medical school tuition, fees and living expenses covered in return for serving in the US armed forces. You’ll receive one year of funding for each year of active-duty service — with a three-year minimum commitment.
      • Public grant programs. The Veterinary Services Grant Program (VSGP) is a federal initiative that awards over $3 million in funding for qualifying veterinary students specializing in education and rural practice enhancement.

      Bottom line

      Federal loans for graduate students come with the highest rates of all the loans offered by the DoE. Because of this, you might want to compare your options with private lenders first to find the best deal available to you.

      You can learn more about how it all works by reading our guide to graduate student loans.

      Frequently asked questions

      Should I take out loans for living expenses while in veterinary school?

      You might not want to. Because tuition and fees for veterinary school are already so high, borrowing extra to pay for room and board will leave you with an even higher debt load. Instead, you might want to consider getting a part-time job or work-study position to help you pay for living expenses.

      My state doesn’t offer a veterinary program and out-of-state tuition is extra expensive. What should I do?

      If you don’t have the option to attend a veterinary school in your state, consider applying to schools that participate in multi-state agreements such as the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP).

      This program allows qualifying veterinary students from participating states to receive tuition reductions at schools in other participating states.

      You can also look into schools that allow students to qualify as in-state residents after only one year.

      Do veterinary loans qualify for loan forgiveness?

      Yes, there are several loan forgiveness programs for veterinary students. The US Department of Agriculture offers a Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program that will pay up to $25,000 a year to graduates who agree to serve for three years in areas with shortages of veterinarians. And the National Institute for Health offers a loan repayment program of up to $35,000 a year for qualifying veterinarians who are willing to work in the research sector.

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