Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

Group of medical personnel

Program Description

The congressionally mandated NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers loan repayment awards of up to $35,000 per year to health professionals with doctoral degrees (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., Dr.P.H.). Awardees must conduct health disparities or clinical research in nonfederal research settings for at least two years. The program aims to increase the pool of highly qualified researchers who conduct health disparities research.

The program offers two loan repayment opportunities:

Typically, loans from college-, graduate-, and doctorate-level education are eligible for repayment. During the program, participants must spend at least 50 percent of their time, or 20 hours per week, engaged in research related to specific diseases, health conditions, and health issues applicable to health disparity populations or qualified clinical research or on research focused on understanding the underlying causes and consequences of health disparities or interventions to reduce or eliminate health disparities.

LRP recipients have conducted research on cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, asthma, obesity, and kidney disease. Their investigations have examined biological, lifestyle, environmental, social, economic, institutional, cultural, and family influences on health disparities.

Since its inception, the NIMHD LRP has repaid the student loans of more than 2,200 doctorate-level health professionals in a variety of disciplines, including medicine, epidemiology, psychology, social science, medicine, and health policy. Approximately 60 percent of LRP recipients are from minority populations as required by P.L. 106-525. (NOTE: The law requires no less than 50% be awarded to minority populations so this sentence reflects a conflation of two concepts.)

Applicants must be health professionals with doctoral degrees (e.g., M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., Dr.P.H.) and must have student loan debts worth at least 20 percent of their base salaries. Additionally, applicants must be employed in nonfederal research settings such as academic institutions or nonprofit organizations. Individuals employed in federal research settings are not eligible.

For the Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds, applicants must come from families with an income below current federal low-income thresholds. These thresholds are outlined each year in the request for applications.

The application period is annually from September 1 through November 15, at 8:00 PM EST. Applications are submitted through LRP Online Application System (OAS). Learn more about the application process through the interactive roadmap and review the application tips available in Tips for Completing a Competitive Application. For additional assistance, call or email the LRP Information Center at 866-849-4047 or