National Health Service Corps: Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

This program was created to connect unique individuals with the communities that need them, and to support them during their initial time of service.

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Health Service Corps


Fully trained health professionals who are dedicated to working with the underserved and have qualifying educational loans are eligible to compete for repayment of those loans if they choose to serve in a community of greatest need. In addition to loan repayment, these clinicians receive a competitive salary and a chance to have a significant impact on a community.

Brief History

In 1988, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched its first LRP, when Congress authorized the agency to establish the AIDS Research LRP. The program offered to repay student loan debt and was instrumental in attracting young scientists into AIDS research so that the disease could be quickly understood and effective therapies developed. The initiative was so successful at increasing the number of investigators that it became clear the same incentive could be applied to other areas in critical need of researchers. In 1993, Congress authorized three additional LRPs — two for intramural researchers (NIH employees conducting research at NIH) and one for extramural researchers (those conducting research for nonprofit organizations outside NIH). Today, following further Congressional authorizations in 2000, eight LRPs provide up to $35,000 in annual educational loan repayment for scientists conducting biomedical and behavioral research.

The LRPs Today

DLR maintains the online application system for the LRPs, screens applications for completeness and eligibility, coordinates payments to the lenders of successful applicants, and conducts communications and outreach activities to raise awareness about the LRPs.

There are five types of LRP programs:

  • Clinical Research 

  • Pediatric Research 

  • Health Disparities Research 

  • Contraception and Infertility Research 

  • Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

Contact Information for LRP

The LRP Information Center staff answers questions and provides information about the LRPs, eligibility, benefits and the application process. LRP Information Center staff can be reached at by email or by phone at 1 (866) 849-4047. Please visit the NIH Loan Repayment Program website for additional information.


To be eligible for the Loan Repayment Program (LRP), you must be a fully trained:

  • Allopathic or osteopathic physician specializing in family medicine, general pediatrics, general internal medicine, general psychiatry or obstetrics/gynecology.

  • Primary care nurse practitioner.

  • Primary care physician assistant.

  • Certified nurse-midwife.

  • Dentist.

  • Dental hygienist.

  • Mental or behavioral health professional (health service psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, and psychiatric nurse specialist).

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Be free of judgment liens arising from Federal debt.

  • Have no other existing service commitment.

  • Serve full time (40 hours a week) in the clinical practice of your profession

  • Commit to providing primary care service in a priority health professional shortage area for a minimum of two years.

  • Be a U.S. citizen with a valid, unrestricted license and/or certificate for the State where you plan to practice.

How to Apply