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Service Obligations

VMLRP participants agree to serve at their designated veterinary shortage area for the length of their initial three-year VMLRP contract.  Participants may be in breach of their VMLRP contract if their site or services change without prior approval from the VMLRP.

To receive VMLRP benefits, you must enter into a legally binding commitment to provide veterinary service in a designated veterinary shortage situation for the length of your VMLRP contract.  Providing this veterinary service in the specified area is your service obligation.

NIFA will authorize quarterly loan and tax payments as long as you continue to satisfy your service obligation.  VMLRP staff will contact your supervisor/hiring official at the end of each quarter to verify that you are still providing veterinary services as outlined in the nomination form for the specified service area.  When verification on your service is received as well as verification for the previous VMLRP payment (the payment verification process is explained on the Loan Repayment Process page), the subsequent scheduled loan repayment will be issued on your behalf.

Service Verification

At the end of each quarter, VMLRP staff will send a Service Verification form (NIFA-09-10) to your supervisor/hiring official for completion.  Subsequent VMLRP payments will not be authorized until receipt of the completed service verification form.  If there is an issue that prevents or delays the supervisor/hiring official from completing the Service Verification form, the issue must be resolved before a VMLRP payment is issued.

Other Service Obligations

If you have other service obligations or contractual commitments in exchange for loan repayment, reduction, or forgiveness, you must complete or defer them in order to be eligible for the VMLRP.  The VMLRP requires a service obligation during the entire period of participation, and individuals may not satisfy two or more service obligations simultaneously.

Early Termination of Service Obligation

Should there be circumstances that prevent you from completing your service obligation, it will not be considered a breach of contract if the circumstances are beyond your control (e.g., military deployment or loss of job).  Individuals in the process of seeking other employment to continue participation in the VMLRP should contact the VMLRP office immediately for advisement.

Individuals who voluntarily terminate their veterinary services per the VMLRP agreement will likely be determined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be in breach of the VMLRP contract.


If you stop performing veterinary services at the agreed level or service area without the prior consent of the VMLRP, you may be considered in breach of your contract and face substantial financial penalties.

For example, veterinarians who unilaterally terminate veterinary services during their VMLRP contract period are subject to a penalty of $7,500 for each month of unfulfilled service, plus all amounts paid on their behalf, including interest, for any period of obligated service not served.  The amount that the U.S. government is entitled to recover shall not be less than $31,000.
The service obligation is not ordinarily a concern for those who are seriously pursuing a veterinary career in the specified shortage area.  It is a factor to consider, however, if you are uncertain about your short-term career plans.

Please review your VMLRP contract for more information on penalties and contact us if you have questions about the terms and conditions in your contract.

Contact Information

For further information, contact: VMLRP

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