Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 16, 2007

House, Senate committees consider veterinary medicine loan program

Missouri is one of several states that is facing a growing shortage of veterinarians who are in large animal practices. Legislation has been introduced that would provide a financial incentive for Missouri veterinary medicine students to stay in the state after graduation and work in large animal practice in high-need areas. Committees in both the Senate and House this week took action on legislation to establish a loan forgiveness program for students who receive a veterinary medicine degree and go on to large animal practices in high-need areas of the state. On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Senate Education Committee passed a substitute version of SB320, sponsored by Sen. Dan Clemens (R-Marshfield), which was heard the previous week. On Thursday, Feb. 15, the House Agriculture Policy Committee heard HB693, sponsored by Rep. John Quinn (R-Chillicothe), which establishes a similar program.

Both bills transfer administration of the large animal veterinary medicine loan repayment program to the Department of Agriculture and set up an advisory panel that includes three veterinarians, the dean of MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and a public representative with an agriculture background to determine which students will receive the loans. The program would provide loans to a maximum of six students per year at a maximum of $20,000 per year. After students graduate with a DVM, the loans are forgiven 25 percent for each year they remain in Missouri and practice in a high-need area, with full forgiveness allowed after four years of practice. Representatives of the MU College of Veterinary Medicine have said that the financial incentive provided by this program would be helpful in efforts to encourage more Missouri students to stay in the state after graduation and practice in the large animal field.

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