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PetSmart Charities' opens applications for Steve Marton Scholarship


Will offer a total of $150,000 to veterinary students to help relieve student debt and promote access to care in under-resourced communities

PetSmart Charities has opened applications for its 2023 Steve Marton Veterinary Scholarships. The scholarship will provide 3 veterinary students in their second or third year up to $50,000 for 1 year’s tuition.

PetSmart Charities has committed to break down barriers to veterinary care with a recent commitment of $100 million over the next 5 years, and the Steve Marton Scholarship serves as a key aspect of this initiative. The scholarship helps to relieve student debt for those who are dedicated to offering care in under-resourced communities.

"Veterinary care in the US is in crisis, with a severe shortage of veterinarians creating a cascade of challenges for current providers and pet parents alike," stated Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities, in an organizational release.1 "The mounting cost associated with vet school creates a barrier for students who want to help pets and their families, especially those who can support underserved communities. This scholarship is just one way we're committed to improving access to veterinary care in this country, by helping students enter veterinary practice with less student debt."

2022 recipient of the Steve Marton Scholarship, Giulia Lanza-Billetta (Photo courtesy of PetSmart Charities).

2022 recipient of the Steve Marton Scholarship, Giulia Lanza-Billetta (Photo courtesy of PetSmart Charities).

According to the release,1 many veterinary students graduate with debt surpassing $200,000. Recent research2 revealed that stress and student debt remain primary concerns for veterinarians, and the overall shortage in the profession is further increasing. Along with causing veterinary burnout, this makes it more challenging for pet owners to get appointments and affects the rising costs of care. These factors together have resulted in 50 million pets in the US receiving no veterinary care.

Giulia Lanza-Billetta, a 2022 recipient, noted that receiving the Steve Marton Veterinary Scholarship was life-changing as she could pursue her dreams while not worrying about the financial burden of obtaining a veterinary degree. When she graduates, Lanza-Billetta’s goal is to work for a nonprofit or emergency veterinary clinic in a low-income area. Eventually, she aims to start her own nonprofit to provide low-cost veterinary programs in low-income areas and one day even offer internships to others entering the industry to promote their growth.

"Receiving this scholarship has completely changed my life," expressed Lanza-Billetta, in the release. "It has taken such a big weight off my shoulders because I know that financially I will be able to graduate with significantly less debt than I had previously anticipated. It is extremely comforting to know that when I graduate, I can go directly into working in low-income areas and not have to worry about being in debt for many years to come."1

Applications close March 27, 2023, and students must be attending a veterinary college in the US. Go here for more information or to apply: https://petsmartcharities.org/pro/grants/steve-marton-scholarship


  1. PetSmart Charities' Steve Marton Scholarship offers $150,000 to veterinary students. PetSmart Charities. February 21, 2023. Accessed February 21, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/petsmart-charities-steve-marton-scholarship-offers-150-000-to-veterinary-students-301752102.html
  2. Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study III. Merck Animal Health. January 2022. Accessed February 21, 2023. https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/2021-PSV-Veterinary-Wellbeing-Presentation_V2.pdf
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