If you’re interested in a career as a veterinarian, then going to veterinary school is a requirement. But let’s face it, veterinary school isn’t exactly cheap. According to the latest data from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinary school graduates had an average student loan debt of around $150,000, with more graduates owing closer to $400,000.
Going to vet school can set you back more than six figures in education costs, even if you take advantage of financial aid like scholarships and grants. That’s why it’s important to consider low-cost schools and calculate the overall cost. Here are 10 of the cheapest veterinary schools for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine programs.
Top 10 cheapest vet schools
If you’re looking for the cheapest place to study veterinary medicine, we’ve ranked the 10 cheapest vet schools with a DVM program for in-state residents, from highest to lowest. We’ve compiled this information from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ (AAVMC) Cost Comparison Tool.
All numbers below are based on tuition and fees for the graduating class of 2020. They don’t include additional costs, such as books, transportation, living expenses, etc. that are associated with the school year.
10. Virginia-Maryland Regional College
Resident four-year tuition: $100,629
Resident tuition and living expenses: $185,909
Resident four-year total cost: $212,845
9. Texas A&M University
Resident four-year tuition: $99,929
Resident tuition and living expenses: $184,313
Resident four-year total cost: $211,018
8. Washington State University
Resident four-year tuition: $102,040
Resident tuition and living expenses: $177,024
Resident four-year total cost: $202,673
7. University of Illinois – Urbana
Resident four-year tuition: $97,251
Resident tuition and living expenses: $175,107
Resident four-year total cost: $200,478
6. Iowa State University
Resident four-year tuition: $110,352
Resident tuition and living expenses: $168,056
Resident four-year total cost: $192,405
5. Texas Tech University
Resident four-year tuition: $88,000
Resident tuition and living expenses: $172,603
Resident four-year total cost: $197,611
4. Kansas State University
Resident four-year tuition: $91,184
Resident tuition and living expenses: $165,040
Resident four-year total cost: $188,952
3. University of Georgia
Resident four-year tuition: $87,316
Resident tuition and living expenses: $158,292
Resident four-year total cost: $181,227
2. North Carolina State University
Resident four-year tuition: $78,479
Resident tuition and living expenses: $159,515
Resident four-year total cost: $182,627
1. Purdue University
Resident four-year tuition: $80,734
Resident tuition and living expenses: $149,134
Resident four-year total cost: $170,742
Cheapest vet schools in the U.S.
If you’re looking for the cheapest place to study veterinary medicine, going to the South or Midwest could be your best bet. As you can see from the figures above, there’s a range of tuition and fees for future veterinarians across geographic locations.
The difference is also much starker between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition. State students can save a lot more money. Be sure to consider this factor and explore the rules about establishing residency. Tuition prices between public and private colleges also vary widely.
Cheapest private vet schools
Finding cheap private vet schools can be tough. The most affordable private vet school is likely Cornell University. New York residents pay $39,206 in tuition and fees per year and non-residents pay $5,244 per academic year as of July 2021.
Another affordable option is Tuskegee University in Alabama. Where tuition and fees for vet school will set you back $41,170 per year. Tuskegee is also the same price for residents and non-residents.
Most expensive vet schools
Going to veterinary school is expensive already. But there are some vet schools with sky-high tuition. You’ll want to know what you’re getting yourself into, so be aware of these more pricey schools.
For example, Tufts University costs $56,322 for residents and $63,122 for non-residents per year as of 2021. The University of Pennsylvania is pretty similar, with residents paying $54,742 per year and non-residents paying $64,742 per year.
The most expensive option is the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine. This program costs prospective students around $56,535 per year in tuition and fees. Their 2020 graduates have an average debt of $273,131.
How to pay off veterinary school student loans
When graduating with six figures of student loan debt — or multiple six-figure student loan debt, the prospect of paying it off may seem daunting. Although veterinarians can earn a fairly good salary of $93,830 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, they don’t make as much as other doctors who graduate with similar amounts of student debt.
In many vet’s cases, student loan debt can be double their annual salary, making their debt to income ratio high. To help you repay vet school loans, consider going on an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. This option is available to federal student loan borrowers. It minimizes monthly payments to a more affordable amount of 10-20 percent of your income.
Our internal data at Student Loan Planner® shows that many veterinarian clients are on IDR, specifically, the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan. REPAYE can be a good option as it has the most generous interest subsidy options.
These plans can make repayment more affordable. They also may qualify for student loan forgiveness at the end of your repayment term.
If you want to lower your interest rate and get out of debt fast, student loan refinancing is a more viable option. Student loan refinancing allows borrowers to apply for a new loan and hopefully shave off some interest points. Just be aware that federal loans turn private after refinancing, so perks like IDR will no longer be an option.
If you’re looking for the cheapest vet schools in the U.S., take a look at our list and notice where tuition is lower geographically. Do more research on a handful of schools that are a good fit for you based on other personal preferences as well (e.g. housing, distance from family, and state residency status).
Whether you’re researching programs and could benefit from a pre-debt consultation or a veterinarian who needs help figuring out the best way to repay your student loan debt, we can help. We work with you to come up with a custom plan, to make paying for your veterinary school education is much less stressful.
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