Factors affecting student load debt accrued by graduates of US veterinary medical colleges

Graduates of colleges of veterinary medicine have experienced a marked increase in acquired student loan debt. The mean inflation-adjusted student loan debt for graduating veterinarians has increased at an average annual rate of 5.11% over the period of 2002-2014 while starting salaries have decreased at a rate of 0.9% annually. This research aims to identify the factors associated with the increase in student loan debt accumulation by veterinarians in the face of relatively unchanged wages. We utilize data collected from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) fourth-year veterinary student surveys for 2001 through 2014. The variable of interest is the inflation-adjusted total student loan debt attributed to the study of veterinary medicine. Due to the nature of debt totals, there are a large number of observations of zero in the data (14%). We employ a two-part hurdle model to identify the factors affecting both the decision to borrow and the amount which was borrowed. We find that the majority of the annual increase in debt can be explained by increases in tuition costs and an increase in the share of students paying out-of-state tuition, with some of the change attributable to the increasing share of veterinary students that are women.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
D14; J43; J44

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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