The Higher Education Act: What It Means for the Veterinary Profession

The Higher Education Act (HEA) is a comprehensive package of legislation that governs higher education policy, including federal student loans. It’s important legislation because it greatly impacts the veterinary profession. With the Congressional clock winding down and without a Senate bill to negotiate and pass, the HEA debate will start again in the next Congress, which begins in January 2019.

Here’s what you need to know about the HEA. In December 2017, the House of Representatives took action to advance their version of a HEA re-write. The House bill, known as the “PROSPER Act,” negatively impacts the veterinary profession and contrasts the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) HEA advocacy priorities:

  • Preserve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program
  • Preserve federal student loan programs geared toward graduate and professional students
  • Reinstate subsidized loans to prevent the accrual of interest while in veterinary school.

Fortunately, AVMA and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) advocacy teams along with the veterinary community have aggressively voiced their concerns about the “PROSPER Act,” resulting in insufficient support in the House. Because of these advocacy efforts, Congress has in addition shown their support for PSLF by providing funding to increase program outreach and to reconsider certain borrowers for loan forgiveness if they received misinformation about program eligibility. For more information: