UF veterinary students could be receiving a break as the American Veterinary Medical Association works toward implementing new legislation on federal loan interest rates. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pushing to lower the 6.8 percent interest rate for graduate students utilizing the federal Stafford Loan program.

More than 90 percent of veterinary students at UF require some form of financial aid to pay the yearly tuition of $28,630 for Florida residents, according to the UF College of Veterinary Medicine website.

“I think right now we are at a crisis,” said Maureen Long, associate professor at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The loan burden is higher than what somebody probably pays in a year for rent.” 

Janna Legg, a 27-year-old third-year UF veterinary student, said she relies solely on loans to pay for tuition, room and board. 

“I think it is crucial this legislation be passed for current veterinary medicine students and those who are to come,” she said.

Legg said she often receives notifications telling her that she is accruing $12 in interest a day. 

According to the California Veterinary Medical Association, 28 percent of veterinarians might not have pursued the field if they had known about the student debt.

But for students like Maria Moriyon, a 20-year-old UF biology junior, the cost will not get in the way of applying to veterinary school. 

“I have worked and planned to attend veterinary school, no matter the cost,” Moriyon said.

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 9/15/2014 under the headline "Veterinary students could catch a break on student loans"]

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