Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

The program responds to the current shortage of large animal veterinarians in rural areas by encouraging veterinarians, through loan repayment, to provide veterinary service in designated shortage areas.



To carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under
which the Secretary shall pay specified amounts of the principal and interest of qualifying educational loans of the veterinarians.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

(1) SERVICE IN SHORTAGE SITUATIONS.-The Secretary shall carry out a program of entering into agreements with veterinarians under which the veterinarians agree to provide, for a period of time as determined by the Secretary and specified in the agreement, veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations.

For each year of such service under an agreement under this paragraph, the Secretary shall pay an amount, as
determined by the Secretary and specified in the agreement, of the principal and interest of qualifying educational loans of the veterinarians.

(2) SERVICE TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary may enter into agreements of 1 year duration with veterinarians who have agreements pursuant to paragraph (1) for such veterinarians to provide services to the Federal Government in emergency situations, as determined by the Secretary, under terms and conditions specified in the agreement.

Pursuant to an agreement under this paragraph, the Secretary shall pay an amount, in addition to the amount paid pursuant to the agreement in paragraph (1), as determined by the Secretary and specified in the agreement, of the principal and interest of qualifying educational loans of the veterinarians.

(B) REQUIREMENTS.-Agreements entered into under this paragraph shall include the following:
(i) A veterinarian shall not be required to serve more than 60 working days per year of the agreement.
(ii) A veterinarian who provides service pursuant to the agreement shall receive a salary commensurate with the duties and shall be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses as appropriate for the duration of the service.

None of the funds appropriated to the Secretary under subsection (f) may be used to carry out section 5379 of title 5, United States Code.

None of the funds appropriated to the Secretary under subsection (f) may be used to carry out section 5379 of title 5, United States Code.

Fully discretionary.

Agreements with veterinarians under which the Secretary shall pay specified amounts of the principal and interest of qualifying educational loans of the veterinarians.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The Secretary may enter into agreements with veterinarians under which the veterinarians agree to provide, for a period of time as determined by the Secretary and specified in the agreement, veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The Secretary may enter into agreements with veterinarians under which the veterinarians agree to provide, for a period of time as determined by the Secretary and specified in the agreement, veterinary services in veterinarian shortage situations.

Credentials/Documentation

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs), which include: (1) a Loan Information Form for each loan to be considered for repayment; (2) an Intent of Employment form providing assurance that the applicant will be engaged in employment at a NIFA-designated veterinary shortage area for not less than three years from the anticipated effective date of the VMLRP contract between the individual and NIFA; and (3) a signed VMLRP Contract by which the applicant agrees to serve the obligated minimum period of three years providing veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage area. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per the VMLRP website at www.nifa.usda.gov/vmlrp. Qualified individuals interested in participating in the VMLRP should visit the VMLRP website for all application forms and requirements. The application will be evaluated by a peer review panel, convened for this purpose by the NIFA. In selecting applicants for participation in the VMLRP, the panel will consider eligibility status, quality of the applicant, and the applicant s career plan focus. All selections are subject to final approval by the VMLRP manager. The NIFA will notify the State Animal Health Official and the applicant of the outcome of the review.

Award Procedures

Once the applicant is selected to participate in the VMLRP, the applicant and the NIFA Director (or Secretary of Agriculture) will sign a written binding contract stating the terms and conditions for participating in the VMLRP. The effective date of the contract will be the date it is signed by the NIFA Director, or the date employment/service begins at an NIFA-designated veterinary shortage area, whichever is later.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NAREPTA), Section 1415A [7 U.S.C. 3151a].

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFAs or guidelines for each fiscal year.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

A VMLRP participant completing the initial 3-year period of qualified veterinary service has an option to extend the obligatory period of service on an annual basis.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The VMLRP will pay equal quarterly payments to the lenders. Each payment will be made shortly after the end of each full quarter of satisfactory service. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: quarterly.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

1) Quarterly Report: VMLRP recipients will be required to verify that the terms of the VMLRP contract are being met on a quarterly basis.

Subsequent quarterly loan repayments will not be disbursed until this verification is provided.

This report will be due ten business days after the end of each 3 month interval during the VMLRP contract for the previous 3 month period and must include the following information: (a) A listing of states, counties, and/or insular areas served (b) A listing of veterinary services and activities provided in the shortage situation (c) Percentage time (on a 40-hour week basis) providing service to veterinary shortage situation identified in the agreement.

Program participants are responsible for notifying NIFA of any changes in the service being provided in the specified shortage situation during the 3-year period.

It is strongly recommended that program participants advise NIFA of these changes at least 2 months in advance to allow sufficient processing time.

Failure to provide the updated information may result in the termination of the VMLRP contract and the program participant may be subject to penalties as outlined in Section C, Paragraph 3 of the contract.
SPECIAL NOTES: See below for information regarding submission of the Termination Report.

Please refer to 7 CFR Part 3431 and annual RFA for further details.

Cash reports are not applicable.

See above for information regarding submission of Quarterly Reports.

See below for information regarding submission of the Termination Report.
SPECIAL NOTE: Please refer to 7 CFR Part 3431 and annual RFA for further details.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

2) Termination Report: At the end of the term of the agreement, the recipient and his/her supervisor will each prepare and submit to NIFA a Termination Report that addresses the following, as well as any other information the participants wish to share with NIFA s VMLRP leadership:
a.

A summary of the services provided toward mitigation of the original veterinary shortage situation, as well as other veterinary services provided to the local community, institution, or other employing entity,
b.

An assessment of the current state of veterinary services in the recipient s service area and adjacent service areas, or specialty area, with emphasis on identification of ongoing shortage situations.
c.

An assessment of future veterinary service needs and trends in the recipient s service (or specialty area) and, to the extent such information may be known, adjacent service areas, with emphasis on identification of ongoing shortage situations, either geographic or disciplinary.
d.

An appraisal of the overall effectiveness of the VMLRP in addressing the specific veterinary shortage situation served by the awardee, including the role of the
mentor (where applicable).

The Termination Report must be submitted by email attachment to vmlrp@nifa.usda.gov, preferably as an MS Word or WordPerfect document.

The subject line and the first line of the body of the email should include, in the following order: "Termination Report: , , ".
SPECIAL NOTES:
See above for specific details regarding submission of the Quarterly Reports.


Please refer to 7 CFR Part 3431 and annual RFA for further details.

Audits

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-133. Please refer to 7 CFR Part 3431 for guidance.

Records

Please refer to 7 CFR Part 3431 for guidance.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1500-0-1-352.

Obigations

(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 09 $0; FY 10 est $8,606,987; FY 11 est $4,320,000 - No funding was obligated in FY 2009 because this is a new program and we had our first application cycle in FY 2010. These are "no-year" funds. Hence, carryover and FY "10 funds awarded in FY "10 are reflected. Further, FY 11 funds will be awarded in FY "11.

The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Minimum and maximum amounts of funding per grant are established by the annual program announcement.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Final Rule for the VMLRP was published in the Federal Register on April 19, 2010, Document 2010-8628 [ FR Vol 75, No. 74 - (Pages 20239 - 20248).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Program Leader, Plant & Animal Systems, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2220, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2220 Phone: (202) 401-4952.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

In carrying out its review, the peer review panel will take into account the quality of match between an applicant s professional training and experience and the circumstances and needs of the designated shortage situation the applicant proposes to fill. The following evaluation criteria will be considered in the context of the factors and circumstances necessary for 1) most effective mitigation of the specific veterinary shortage situation, 2) prioritizing the relatively more severe shortages and, 3) achieving the highest likelihood that awardees will realize employment satisfaction and professional success during and beyond the term of the VMLRP agreement. Additional guidelines are described in the RFAs.



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