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7 Best Student Loans for Vet School of November 2019

Ryan LaneNovember 14, 2019

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Veterinary school students should opt for federal student loan benefits and protections when taking on debt.

Summary of Best Student Loans for Vet School of November 2019

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

4.53-6.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

7.08-7.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

4.54-11.98%

2.84-10.97%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

4.74-11.35%

3.12-10.54%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

5.94-11.96%

5.04-10.93%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

PNC Private Student Loan

PNC Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on PNC's website

5.61-11.79%

5.15-11.30%

670

Check Rate

on PNC's website

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

4.40-12.19%

2.83-11.01%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

LenderFixed APRVariable APRMin. Credit ScoreLearn More
Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

4.53-6.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

7.08-7.08%

N/A

None

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

4.54-11.98%

2.84-10.97%

Mid-600s

Check Rate

on College Ave's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

4.74-11.35%

3.12-10.54%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

5.94-11.96%

5.04-10.93%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

PNC Private Student Loan

PNC Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on PNC's website

5.61-11.79%

5.15-11.30%

670

Check Rate

on PNC's website

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

4.40-12.19%

2.83-11.01%

Does not disclose

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Our pick for

Most borrowers as a first option

If you can’t qualify for a low-cost federal health professions student loan, federal direct unsubsidized loans should be your top choice for vet school.

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan
Fixed APR 
4.53-6.08% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
None 

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Graduate students can receive only unsubsidized direct loans. They can take out up to $20,500 annually in these loans, which may not be enough to cover vet school costs.

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

  • Subsidized loans do not collect interest while in school or during deferment.

  • Lower interest rates compared with private lenders.

Cons

  • You pay an origination fee.

Qualifications

  • No credit check or minimum income is needed to borrow.

  • Loan amounts for undergraduates: $5,500 year one, $6,500 year two, $7,500 year three and thereafter, up to a total of $31,000

  • Independent students and graduate students have higher loan limits.

Available Term Lengths

10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Manageable payments after vet school

Both unsubsidized federal student loans and graduate PLUS loans qualify for income-driven repayment plans that limit payments to as little as 10% of your discretionary income.

Federal Grad PLUS Loan
Check Rate

on Department of Education's website

Federal Grad PLUS Loan

Federal Grad PLUS Loan
Fixed APR 
7.08-7.08% 

Variable APR 
N/A 

Min. Credit Score 
None 

Check Rate

on Department of Education's website


Variable APR

N/A

Key facts

Grad PLUS loans have higher interest rates and fees than unsubsidized loans but let you borrow more money.

Pros

  • More flexible repayment options for struggling borrowers compared with private lenders.

  • All borrowers who attend a school authorized to receive federal aid qualify.

Cons

  • May have higher interest rates compared with private lenders.

  • You pay an origination fee.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  • Grad PLUS loan borrowers must not have adverse credit history.

  • Borrowers with adverse credit history can still receive a grad PLUS loan by enlisting a co-signer without adverse credit history or documenting extenuating circumstances for their credit history.

  • Loan amounts: Total cost of attendance minus other financial aid.

Available Term Lengths

10 to 25 years once repayment begins, depending on the repayment plan.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review

Our picks for

Borrowers with good credit

Vet students who have good to excellent credit, or a co-signer that does, may pay less overall by borrowing a private student loan. While private loans may have better rates and lower fees than federal loans, they lack the same repayment options and protections.

College Ave Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on College Ave's website

College Ave Private Student Loan

College Ave Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.54-11.98% 

Variable APR 
2.84-10.97% 

Min. Credit Score 
Mid-600s 

Check Rate

on College Ave's website


Variable APR

2.84-10.97%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for CollegeAve’s undergraduate student loan. CollegeAve’s medical school loans let you defer payments for up to 36 months after school.

Pros

  • You can see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.

  • More flexible repayment options than other lenders.

Cons

  • No formal forbearance options.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Mid-700s.

  • Minimum income: $35,000 per year.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $80,000.

Available Term Lengths

5, 8, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Flat Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.78% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 54 monthly payments of $25 while in school, followed by 96 monthly payments of $176.21 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $18,266.38. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 11/4/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.

Read Full Review
Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan

Sallie Mae Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.74-11.35% 

Variable APR 
3.12-10.54% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on Sallie Mae's website


Variable APR

3.12-10.54%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for Sallie Mae's undergraduate student loan. Sallie Mae offers vet students a medical school loan with a 36-month grace period and 48-month deferment during a residency or fellowship.

Pros

  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.

  • Borrowers can access online tutoring and free credit score tracking.

  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a co-signer.

Cons

  • You can't see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Information not available on minimum qualifying credit scores or income.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.

Available Term Lengths

5 to 15 years

Disclaimer

Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount: Fixed 4.74% - 11.35% APR and Variable 3.12% - 10.54% APR. Interest rates for Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options are higher than interest rates for the Interest Repayment Option. You're charged interest starting at disbursement, while in school, during your separation/grace period, and until the loan is paid in full. The repayment option that is selected will apply during the in-school and separation/grace periods. When you enter principal and interest repayment, Unpaid Interest will be added to your loan's Current Principal. Variable rates may increase over the life of the loan. Advertised variable rates reflect the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Advertised APRs are valid as of 09/25/2019 and assume a $10,000 loan to a freshman with no other Sallie Mae loans. Additional information regarding the auto debit discount: Borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction benefit. This benefit applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month and may be suspended during periods of forbearance or deferment, if available for the loan. Loan amounts: $1000 up to 100% of the school certified expenses: Loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid received as certified by the school. Sallie Mae reserves the right to approve a lower loan amount than the school-certified amount. Repayment term of 5 to 15 years: This repayment example is based on a typical Smart Option Student Loan made to a freshman borrower who chooses a fixed rate and the Fixed Repayment Option for a $10,000 loan, with two disbursements, and a 8.44% fixed APR. It works out to 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $156.04 and one payment of $118.97, for a Total Loan Cost of $19,962.73.

Read Full Review
Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan

Wells Fargo Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
5.94-11.96% 

Variable APR 
5.04-10.93% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on Wells Fargo's website


Variable APR

5.04-10.93%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for WellsFargo’s undergraduate student loan. Veterinary students cannot defer payments on Wells Fargo’s MedCAP student loan during a residency.

Pros

  • You are assigned a dedicated student loan advisor.

  • One of the few lenders to offer loans to borrowers enrolled less than half-time.

  • More payment reduction options for struggling borrowers than other lenders.

Cons

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

  • Forbearance of 6 months is less than most lenders.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Minimum income: No minimum.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $120,000

Available Term Lengths

15 years

Disclaimer

Read Full Review
PNC Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on PNC's website

PNC Private Student Loan

PNC Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
5.61-11.79% 

Variable APR 
5.15-11.30% 

Min. Credit Score 
670 

Check Rate

on PNC's website


Variable APR

5.15-11.30%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for PNC's undergraduate student loan. You can request to defer PNC’s health and medical professions student loan during a residency.

Pros

  • Interest rate discount for autopay is larger than most lenders offer.

Cons

  • Forbearance policy is more restrictive than most lenders.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000.

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years.

Disclaimer

Read Full Review
Citizens One Private Student Loan
Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website

Citizens One Private Student Loan

Citizens One Private Student Loan
Fixed APR 
4.40-12.19% 

Variable APR 
2.83-11.01% 

Min. Credit Score 
Does not disclose 

Check Rate

on Citizens Bank's website


Variable APR

2.83-11.01%

Key facts

Rating and details displayed are for Citizen One's undergraduate student loan. Citizens One offers vet students an aggregate loan amount of $350,000, higher than some other medical professions.

Pros

  • International students can qualify with a co-signer.

  • Loyalty discount for existing Citizens Bank customers.

Cons

  • You must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher.

  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

Qualifications

  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers: Does not disclose.

  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $100,000

Available Term Lengths

5, 10 or 15 years

Disclaimer

Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of November 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 1.80%. Variable interest rates range from 2.83%-11.16% (2.83%-11.01% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 4.40%-12.19% (4.40% - 12.04% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown requires application with a co-signer, are for eligible applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, borrower making scheduled payments while in school and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of the loan.

Read Full Review

Types of student loans for vet school

You may be able to pay for vet school with multiple types of student loans:

Federal health professions student loans

Vet students may be able to take out Health Professional Student Loans and Loans for Disadvantaged Students. These loans are funded by the federal government, but not the Department of Education. That means they have some key differences — both good and bad — from federal direct and PLUS loans:

  • Lower costs. HPSL and LDS have fixed interest rates of 5% and no origination fees. Unsubsidized loans and PLUS loans have fees of roughly 1% and 4%, respectively. Health professions loans also don’t accrue interest while you’re in school.
  • Longer grace periods. Federal health professions student loans don’t enter repayment until 12 months after you graduate — that’s twice as long as other federal loans.
  • Limited availability and funding. HPSL and LDS are available only to students with financial need or from disadvantaged backgrounds at participating vet schools. The amount you’ll receive is up to your school’s discretion and available funding.
  • Fewer repayment options. Your school will determine your repayment term for these loans. Because HPSL and LDS don’t come from the Department of Education, they aren’t eligible for programs such as income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You can consolidate HPSL and LDS into the federal student loan program to access these benefits. This is different from private loans, which can’t be transferred to the federal program.

You can apply for HPSL and LDS by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You will need to include your parents’ financial information on this form to qualify.

Federal unsubsidized and PLUS student loans

Veterinary students may be eligible for two types of federal student loans: unsubsidized direct loans and graduate PLUS loans.

Unsubsidized loans have lower interest rates and fees than PLUS loans, but also a smaller borrowing maximum for graduate students — $20,500 per year. Take that max in unsubsidized loans, then use PLUS loans to cover up to the rest of your cost of attendance.

You can apply for federal student loans by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You don’t have to provide your parents’ financial information to receive these loans — and likely shouldn’t to ensure your expected family contribution is as low as possible.

Private student loans for vet school

You may be able to get a private loan for vet school with a lower interest rate and smaller fees than federal loans have, depending on your or a co-signer’s credit score and financial history.

Many private lenders offer specific student loans for health professionals, including those studying for a D.V.M., as well as loans available to all graduate students. You can use either to pay for veterinary school, so compare all your options to get the best deal possible.

Some states offer forgivable private loans, but you typically must commit to working in a shortage area to qualify. For example, Missouri provides $20,000 loans to eligible students who plan to practice large animal veterinary medicine in an area of need.

» MORE: How much is vet school?

Which student loan for vet school is right for you?

Most likely, federal student loans will be your best bet for vet school. When paying off vet school loans, many vets may need the income-driven repayment plans that only federal student loans offer.

Consider this: The average vet school debt of $183,014 would come with monthly payments of more than $2,100 on a standard, 10-year repayment plan, assuming current interest rates. Under the Revised Pay As You Earn income-driven plan, those payments could shrink to less than $500, based on the average vet salary of $76,633 for new grads. You would likely pay more overall on REPAYE’s 25-year repayment term, though.

If you’ll borrow less — perhaps much less — than your projected starting salary, you may pay less by qualifying for a lower interest rate with a private student loan. But federal loan protections better minimize your risk. If you don’t need those protections once you’re practicing, refinancing vet school loans with a private lender could lower your interest rate and save you money.

Last updated on November 14, 2019

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Student Loans for Vet School of November 2019