Perhaps it baffles you because you are not yet in the position where you are taking out those loans, nor in the position where you are trying to pay them back. It is all so hard to really comprehend until you are actually living it. I would challenge you to find a vet with >$200k in debt who wouldn't advise going to your cheapest option, or doesn't wish they had. Most of the time when we're talking to people about making decisions between schools, it isn't a "little" difference. It's the difference between their "dream" school that is $57k a year and their IS that is $25k. That isn't a little break in loans, that is huge. All of those things that you (general you, not you specifically) might think make a school perfect for you are temporary. Heck, some of them might not even be as awesome as you thought, or make as much of a difference as you believed. But the debt? That is real. That is guaranteed. And that will follow you through a big chunk of your career. Personally it baffles me that anyone would, given the option, choose to go into even more debt just for the idea of a "happier" vet school experience. That is also why I tell people to only apply to schools where they could see themselves actually attending and not being miserable. But, we are all just giving our opinions. Each person has to make their own choice and live with it.