As federal student loan payments start back up this fall, VSP Vision is investing $2 million to launch a new Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) for eyecare professionals (ECPs) in optometry.
Refresh me on this organization.
You’re probably already aware, but just in case…
VSP Vision is the largest national not-for-profit, full-service vision benefits provider, with vision insurance plans covering routine eye care, frame allowances, basic lenses, eye surgery, and medical issues.
Its complementary businesses include VSP Vision Care, Marchon Eyewear, Inc., Visionworks, Eyefinity, Eyeconic, VSP Optics, and VSP Ventures.
Now this program.
The VSP SLRP will provide a selected number of ECPs up to $50,000 per year over the next 4 years on the contingency that they commit to working in a VSP-owned location or private practice (see below for further details).
To note, only certain VSP-owned locations or practices will qualify for this program.
Additionally, the disclosed amount will be regardless of any scholarships previously awarded.
Wow. OK, so who qualifies to apply?
The program guidelines state the following individuals may submit an application:
- Current optometry students
- Recent graduates
- Practicing optometrists
And what type of VSP locations are included?
Per VSP, these include retail, corporate, medical, or on-site clinics that serve a community with limited access to vision care.
VSP-network locations are also eligible, including private practices participating in:
- VSP Premier Edge
- VSP Ventures
- Eye Doctor’s Optical Outlets
- VSP Vision on-site clinics
Why this stipulation?
The program's intent, according to VSP, “aims to help encourage staffing in underserved communities while also underscoring VSP’s commitment to increasing access to vision care where it’s needed most.”
Are these areas identified?
Yes… VSP identified the following locations as “high-need markets”:
- Central/Western Oregon (private practice)
- Northern/Central Georgia (private practice)
- Central California (private practice)
- Alaska/near Anchorage (private practice)
- Central/Southeast Texas (corporate owned)
- Northern Nevada (corporate owned)
- Central New York (retail)
- Northern New York (retail)
- Milwaukee (retail)
- West Virginia (retail)
Where can I apply?
To determine if you’re eligible for this program and to apply, click here.
Anything else that’s new?
As a matter of fact, yes!VSP is also offering the following career-based resources for ECPs: