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How Much Does It Cost to Go to Vet School?

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If you love animals, a career in veterinary medicine could be a good career option. Keep in mind that vets are highly-skilled medical professionals who complete intensive studies before becoming certified to practice, which can be demanding as well as expensive.

However, becoming a veterinarian can also be very rewarding. And the good news is that there are several ways to cover the costs of veterinary school, such as student loans and financial aid.

If you’re wondering how much vet school is and how to pay for it, here’s what you should know:

  • How much is vet school?
  • How to pay for vet school
  • Is it worth it to go to vet school?

How much is vet school?

Attending college has grown steadily more expensive over the past few decades, and veterinary school is no different.

The average cost of vet school for in-state residents has risen to $200,000, while students at out-of-state schools can expect to pay an average of $275,000, according to the Veterinary Information Network Foundation.

Keep in mind: To become a veterinarian, you’ll typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree before earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree — in total, this usually takes about eight years.

Because of the high cost associated with this long education period, you’ll likely need to rely on a variety of funding sources to cover their expenses, such as student loans as well as any scholarships and grants that they qualify for.

Factors that contribute to vet school costs

There are several factors that can impact how much vet school costs, such as:

  • Residency: Generally, you’ll pay much less in tuition and fees to attend an in-state school as a resident than you would at an out-of-state school.
  • School type: Public schools typically charge much less compared to private schools. This is mainly because public schools rely on federal, state, and local funding while private schools are privately funded.
  • Living expenses: Your cost of living will vary depending on where you go to school and can include expenses such as housing, meal plans, and transportation.

Keep in mind: If you take out student loans to cover your vet school costs, you’ll also pay interest on top of whatever you borrow.

Top 10 least expensive vet schools

To give you an idea of the range of vet school costs, here are the 10 least expensive vet schools, according to the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC):

School In-state tuition Total cost
(4 years for resident students)
Purdue University $80,734 $170,742
University of Georgia $87,316 $181,227
North Carolina State University $78,479 $182,627
Kansas State University $91,184 $188,952
Iowa State University $110,352 $192,405
Texas Tech University $88,000 $197,611
Washington State University $102,040 $202,673
Texas A&M University $99,929 $211,018
Virginia-Maryland Regional College $100,629 $212,845
Mississippi State University $106,896 $210,861

Top 10 most expensive vet schools

And here are the 10 most expensive schools, according to the AAVMC:

School In-state tuition Total cost
(4 years for resident students)
University of California-Davis $132,100 $289,597
Colorado State University $155,295 $269,863
Ohio State University $149,601 $269,032
University of Minnesota $140,231 $265,242
University of Arizona $141,657 $258,631
Cornell University $146,102 $256,572
University of Wisconsin-Madison $122,690 $253,590
Michigan State University $138,666 $252,436
University of Tennessee $116,716 $248,051
University of Florida $115,160 $239,479

How to pay for vet school

If you’re ready to figure out how to pay for vet school, follow these five steps:

1. Fill out the FAFSA

Your first step should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your school will use your FAFSA results to determine what federal student loans and other financial aid you qualify for.

Tip: Be sure to complete the FAFSA before the deadline so you can take advantage of any aid that you can — for the 2022-2023 academic year, you have until June 30, 2023.

Keep in mind that some aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s a good idea to submit the FAFSA as early as possible.

2. Apply for scholarships and grants

Unlike student loans, college scholarships and grants don’t have to be repaid — which makes them a great way to pay for school. There’s no limit to how many scholarships and grants you can get, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many as you can.

Many scholarships and grants are specifically designed for veterinary students, such as the:

  • American Kennel Club (AKC) Veterinary Outreach Scholarships: These awards are available to vet students who have participated in AKC events and programs. Depending on the sponsor, students might be awarded up to $10,000.
  • Animal Care Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Student Scholarship: This award is given to second-, third-, or fourth-year vet students from Pennsylvania who have financial need.
  • Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program: This program awards $5,000 scholarships to second- and third-year vet students with financial need.

You might also qualify for school-based scholarships depending on your FAFSA results.

3. Get a job or participate in a work-study program

Working during school could help you cover some of your school expenses. If you have financial need, you might qualify for the federal work-study program, which provides part-time jobs for college students.

These jobs are often on campus, though in some cases, you might work for a private nonprofit or for-profit employer that has partnered with your school.

Tip: Coursework for vet school can be intense — so if you choose to work while going to school, make sure to leave yourself enough time to devote to your studies as well.

4. Take out federal student loans

If you need to borrow for school, it’s usually best to rely on federal student loans first. This is mainly because these loans come with federal benefits and protections, such as access to income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs.

There are two main types of federal student loans that vet school students might qualify for:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans: These loans are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students regardless of financial need. Keep in mind that unlike with undergraduate subsidized loans, you’re responsible for all of the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans.
  • Grad PLUS Loans: This category of Direct PLUS Loan is available to students who want to pay for grad school or a professional program. Keep in mind that Grad PLUS Loans usually come with higher interest rates than other federal loans. They also require a credit check.

Tip: After you submit the FAFSA, your school will send you a financial aid award letter detailing what federal student loans and other financial aid you’re eligible for. You can then decide which aid you’d like to accept.

5. Use private student loans to fill any gaps

After you’ve exhausted your scholarship, grant, and federal student loan options, private student loans could help fill any financial gaps left over.

While these loans don’t come with federal protections, they do offer some benefits of their own — for example, you can apply at any time, and you might be able to borrow more than you’d get with a federal loan.

Tip: You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a private student loan — a good credit score is usually considered to be 700 or higher. There are also some lenders that offer student loans for bad credit, but these loans usually come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

If you’re struggling to get approved, consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner to improve your chances. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

If you decide to take out a private student loan for vet school, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for your needs. Credible makes this easy — you compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

Lender Fixed Rates From (APR) Variable Rates From (APR) Loan amounts Loan terms (years)

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.21%+ 1.46%+ $2,001 to $200,000 7 to 20
  • Fixed APR: 3.21%+
  • Variable APR: 1.46%+
  • Min. credit score: 540
  • Loan amount: $2,001 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: 0.25% to 1.00% automatic payment discount, 1% cash back graduation reward
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or DACA student enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 months
  • Loan servicer: Launch Servicing, LLC

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.23%+1 N/A $1,000 to $350,000 (depending on degree) 5, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.23%+1
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 720
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $350,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Loan types: Any private or federal student loan
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states (international students can apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner)
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
2.94%+2,3 0.94%+2,3 $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance 5, 8, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR: 2.94%+2,3
  • Variable APR: 0.94%+2,3
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 months
  • Loan servicer: College Ave Servicing LLC
custom choice
Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.2%+ 1.03%+ $1,000 to $99,999 annually
($180,000 aggregate limit)
7, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.2%+
  • Variable APR: 1.03%+
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $99,999 annually ($180,000 aggregate limit)
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, flat/full repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Not available to residents of AZ, IA, or WI
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
edvestinu student loan refinance
Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.02%+7 2.37%+7 $1,000 to $200,000 7, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.02%+7
  • Variable APR: 2.37%+7
  • Min. credit score: 750
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a minimum income of $30,000.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.33%+8 1.69%+8 $1,001 up to 100% of school certified cost of attendance 5, 10, 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.33%+8
  • Variable APR: 1.69%+8
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $1,001 up to cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, reward for on-time graduation
  • Eligibility: Must be an Indiana resident or a U.S. citizen attending an eligible Indiana school
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.75%+ N/A $1,500 up to school’s certified cost of attendance less aid 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.75%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $1,500 up to cost of attendance less aid
  • Loan terms (years): 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferral, forbearance
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services (AES)

Credible Rating Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology. View details
3.5% – 12.6% APR9 1.13% – 11.23% APR9 Up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance 15
  • Fixed APR: 3.5% – 12.6% APR9
  • Variable APR: 1.13% – 11.23% APR9
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 10 to 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Also available to non-U.S. citizen students (including DACA students) attending a school located in the U.S. who apply with a qualifying cosigner.
  • Customer service: Phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 consecutive on-time payments
  • Loan servicer: Sallie Mae
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Is it worth it to go to vet school?

As of 2021, the average salary for veterinarians is $87,303, according to Payscale. However, you’ll likely be able to earn a higher salary as you gain more experience in the field. After working for five to nine years, the average salary rises to $90,338, while vets with 20 or more years of experience can expect to earn an average of $97,971.

Tip: If you’re thinking about taking out student loans to pay for vet school, make sure to consider how much you could potentially earn once you enter the workforce and whether your future loan payments will be affordable.

The less you borrow in student loans, the better the return on investment will be for your vet schooling — so be careful to borrow only what you need.

If you decide to get a private student loan, remember to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.

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Trustpilot About the author Kathryn Pomroy Kathryn Pomroy

Kathryn Pomroy has been a personal finance writer for over seven years with work featured on LendingTree, Intuit/QuickBooks, FundThrough, insure.com, finder.com, NextAdvisor, and more.

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