Becoming a veterinarian takes time and money: Vet school costs at least $200,000 on average for a four-year postgraduate degree. Scholarships are the best way to pay for vet school because you don't have to repay them.
Your school will likely be the best source for this free aid, but you can also earn private veterinary scholarships based on your specialty, where you're from and other criteria. Here are just a few veterinary scholarships to consider.
» MORE: How to pay for vet school
John D. Spurling Scholarship
Funded by AKC Humane Fund, this scholarship supports future veterinary practitioners and researchers. Five awards are provided annually, for a total of $10,000.
How to qualify: This award is intended for students who are pursuing educational programs that focus on the well-being of dogs and responsible pet ownership. You must be enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited school.
When to apply: July. Learn more.
The Winner's Circle Scholarship Program
This scholarship supports veterinary students intending to enter equine veterinary medicine, and awards are up to $1,500. The scholarship is sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation and The Race for Education, which offers a number of additional equine-focused awards.
How to qualify: You must be in your second or third year of a program studying equine veterinary medicine to qualify.
When to apply: February. Learn more.
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Scholarships
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association administers multiple scholarships for veterinary school students.
How to qualify: You must be enrolled in a U.S. college of veterinary medicine.
When to apply: March. Learn more.
American Pointer Club Scholarship
The APC offers a $1,000 scholarship to any student entering their third or fourth year at an accredited veterinary school.
How to qualify: Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation, write two essays and submit their transcript by the scholarship deadline.
When to apply: December. Learn more.
Jim Steere Memorial Veterinary Student Scholarship
Sponsored by the Ride and Tie Association, this scholarship is open to all veterinary students. The winner will receive $2,000, with runners-up eligible for smaller amounts.
How to qualify: Submit a 1,000-word essay. The winning entry will be published in the Ride and Tie Association's monthly newsletter.
When to apply: January. Learn more.
Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association Scholarships
This scholarship supports veterinary students who have graduated from Nebraska high schools. Minimum award amounts are $250, with maximums based on available funding and the decision of the scholarship committee.
How to qualify: You must have graduated from a Nebraska high school, or home school equivalent, and have completed at least two semesters of veterinary school with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
When to apply: October. Learn more.
RIVMA Veterinary School Scholarship
The Rhode Island Veterinary Medical Association awards this $2,500 scholarship to graduates of Rhode Island high schools pursuing veterinary careers.
How to qualify: This award is open to third-year veterinary students only. You must have a GPA of at least 2.5 to qualify.
When to apply: September. Learn more.
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) Scholarships
AVMF offers a number of veterinary student scholarship opportunities. Application deadlines range from March through December, so check the AVMF website for specific details on the following awards.
Merck Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Program. A $5,000 award for second- and third-year veterinary students.
Harold Wetterberg Foundation Scholarship Program. Awards of up to $10,000 are available for second- and third-year veterinary students from New Jersey.
AVMA/AVMF Scholarship for Veterans. $1,000 scholarship for veterans in their first, second or third year attending an AVMA-accredited school.
Mildred Sylvester Scholarship. A $4,000 scholarship for first-, second- or third-year vet students with a relationship to New Jersey, such as residing there or graduating from a high school or college in the state.
AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Scholarship. A $2,500 scholarship for second- or third- year students with a demonstrated interest in feline veterinary medicine.
More ways to pay for veterinary school
These scholarships can help pay for your D.V.M., but you'll likely need to take out vet student loans for your studies. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to qualify for federal aid. Your vet school will also likely need this form to qualify you for institutional grants and scholarships.
Because veterinarians often finish school with high debt and low starting salaries, federal loans are typically the best borrowing option. These feature income-driven repayment options that can keep payments manageable. Students may also consider private loans. These have fewer protections than federal loans, but may offer a better interest rate depending on your credit.