General Research Loan Repayment Program Benefits
The General Research Loan Repayment Program aims to recruit and retain appropriately qualified health professionals who agree to conduct research as employees of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in exchange for a three-year commitment. The NIH will repay up to $35,000 per year of a participant’s qualified educational debt and pay an additional 39 percent of the repayments to cover Federal taxes.
General Research Loan Repayment Program
The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The escalating costs of advanced education and training in medicine and clinical specialties are forcing some scientists to abandon their research careers for higher-paying private industry or private practice careers.
The LRPs counteract that financial pressure by repaying up to $50,000 annually of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. Since tomorrow's medical breakthroughs will be made by investigators starting in their research careers today, the LRPs represent an important investment by NIH in the future of health discovery and the wellbeing of the Nation. There are two LRPs, one for researchers not employed by NIH (Extramural) and another for researchers employed by NIH (Intramural).
Research funding from NIH is not required to participate in the Extramural LRP, and Extramural and Intramural LRP awardees may apply for subsequent, competitive renewal awards as long as they meet Program eligibility. Although organized around broad research areas, the LRPs were never intended to fund research projects. Rather, LRP awards are based on an applicant's potential to build and sustain a research career. Please read below for general eligibility requirements and Program details.
In June 1993, Public Law (Pub. L.) 103-43 authorized Section 487C of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 USC 288-3), establishing a program of educational loan repayment to attract highly qualified health professionals, particularly physicians, to conduct research at NIH.
See Intramural Loan Repayment Program for General Research (GR-LRP) guide notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for program and policy guidance.Free Application For Federal Student AID Program Benefits
Additional Program Information
Applicants to the General Research LRP must hold a minimum three-year NIH appointment, beginning in the fiscal year of an LRP application submission.
No applicant will be excluded from consideration on the basis of age, race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other non-merit factors.
Citizenship - You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S national, or permanent resident of the U.S. by the LRP award start date.
Qualifying Degree (Extramural programs only) - Possess an M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., O.D., D.V.M., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution. There are some exceptions in the Contraception and Infertility and REACH subcategories. Visit the Contraception and Infertility and REACH pages for additional details.
Qualifying Degree (Intramural programs only) - Possess an M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.V.M., A.D.N., B.S.N., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution; or hold the position of Physician Assistant.
Qualified Educational Debt - You must have total qualified educational debt equal to or in excess of 20 percent of your institutional base salary at the time of award. Institutional base salary is the annual amount you are paid for your appointment, whether the time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Institutional base salary excludes any income that you may earn outside of the duties of the organization. It is not necessary for renewal applicants to satisfy the 20 percent debt-to-income requirement.
Qualified Research (Extramural programs only) - You must agree to conduct only research that is not prohibited by Federal law, regulations, or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or National Institutes of Health (NIH). If you receive an LRP award, you must conduct your research in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and local law (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations) for the entire contract period. Additionally, you must engage in qualified research for an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly service period of your LRP award.
Qualified Research Assignments (Intramural programs only) - You must be appointed at the NIH in a qualified research area.
Qualified Research Assignments (Intramural programs only) - You must be appointed at the NIH in a qualified research area.
- For the AIDS and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds subcategories, qualified research assignments must involve AIDS or clinical research and be approved by the Loan Repayment Committee (LRC). In support of the objectives of these subcategories, if applicable, an individual who is already employed by the NIH and applies to the Intramural LRP must demonstrate his/her ability and intention to transfer from a non-qualified to a qualified AIDS or clinical research assignment.
- Unlike the AIDS and Clinical subcategories, the General subcategory is not targeted toward a specific area (e.g., AIDS) or type (e.g., clinical) of research. Rather, the focus is on attracting and retaining highly talented investigators to pursue biomedical research studies and investigations in a variety of scientific disciplines. Generally, this subcategory is used to attract or retain more senior researchers rather than trainees. For the General subcategory, a "qualified research assignment" is one that is approved by the LRC based on the nature of the proposed research and its relationship to the mission and priorities of NIH.
Domestic, nonprofit research funding (Extramural programs only) - Your research must be supported by a domestic, nonprofit foundation, university, professional association, or other nonprofit institution, or a U.S. government agency (Federal, State, or local). A domestic foundation, professional association, or institution is considered to be nonprofit if it is exempt from Federal tax under the provisions of Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501). NIH grants and university salaries are considered eligible funding. Your employment must be with a domestic, nonprofit institution.
NIH Employment (Intramural programs only) - You must be an NIH employee or have a firm commitment of employment from an authorized official of the NIH. Appointments are made under the broad authority of the Federal Civil Service (Title V or Title 42) or the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. Responsibility for obtaining qualifying employment rests with the LRP applicant.
You are ineligible to apply for the NIH LRPs if you are:
- An individual who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of the U.S. by the LRP award start date;
- An individual who has or had a Federal judgment lien against his/her property arising from Federal debt;
- An individual who owes an obligation of health professional service to the federal government, a state, or other entity, unless deferrals or extensions are granted for the length of the NIH LRP contract;
- An individual employed by a federal government agency, other than NIH, with a work schedule of more than 20 hours per week;
- An individual who receives any research funding support or salary from a for-profit institution or organization, including an individual identified as a Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI in an industry/pharma-supported Clinical Trial;
- A current recipient of an NIH Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) or a Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA);
- An individual conducting research for which funding is precluded by Federal law, Federal regulations, or HHS/NIH policy, or that does not comply with applicable Federal, State, and local law regarding the conduct of the research (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations);
- An individual who does not meet the 20% debt-to-income ratio.
Loan Eligibility Requirements
NIH will repay your lenders for qualified educational loans issued by any U.S. government entity, accredited U.S. academic institutions, and/or commercial lenders that are subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as lending institutions by an agency of the United States or the state in which the lender has its principal place of business. Qualified educational loans are loans that were used for school tuition or other reasonable educational or living expenses (including room/board and transportation) while attending undergraduate, graduate, medical, dental, or veterinary schools.
LRP awards are not retroactive, thus loan balances paid down or paid-in-full prior to the start date of an LRP award will not be factored in the calculation of an award. NIH also will not repay any late fees, penalty fees, additional interest charges, or collection costs. Visit the Loan Information page for more details on loans that do or do not qualify for LRP repayment.
There are two NIH Loan Repayment Programs, one for researchers not employed by NIH (Extramural) and another for researchers employed by NIH (Intramural). Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page, and the LRP Information Center (866-849-4047; [email protected]) is available to help with general eligibility concerns.
Extramural Researchers (Not Employed by NIH)
- Applicants need to decide which Extramural subcategory most appropriately matches to their general research area. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the summary descriptions for each of the subcategories below.
- Individuals are given the option to indicate a preferred NIH Institute or Center (IC) for peer review. For help determining IC match, applicants should contact the appropriate LRP IC Liaison(s). It is recommended that applicants read the Mission and LRP Research Priorities Statements for each of the NIH ICs in order to determine the best match. A list of LRP IC Liaisons, IC Mission Statements, and LRP Research Priorities Statements can be found on the Contact & Engage page. Exception: All applications to the Contraception and Infertility Research subcategory are reviewed by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Intramural Researchers (Employed by NIH)
- Applicants should contact their direct supervisor in order to determine if their position qualifies for the Intramural LRP.
- Applicants, in consultation with their supervisor, will determine which Intramural LRP subcategory is most appropriately matched to their research.
When ready to start an application, select APPLY or RENEW to obtain more application information. Be aware of the application periods.
Who is eligible for General Research Loan Repayment Program?
In order to qualify for this benefit program, participants must be a U.S. national, citizen, or permanent resident qualified/certified/licensed for laboratory or clinical research, have a health professional doctoral degree or equivalent, have student loan debt, and be employed by or have a firm commitment of employment at the NIH.
How do I apply for General Research Loan Repayment Program?
Here are general steps you can take to apply for loan repayment assistance programs:
- Identify Eligibility Requirements: Review the eligibility criteria for the specific loan repayment program you're interested in. Eligibility requirements may vary depending on the program and the profession.
- Choose the Right Program: Determine which loan repayment program aligns with your profession and career goals. Some programs focus on specific fields, such as health care, research, or public service.
- Complete the Application: Obtain the application materials from the official website of the loan repayment program. Follow the instructions carefully, and ensure that you provide all required documentation.
- Gather Necessary Documents: Prepare all required documentation, which may include proof of employment, educational transcripts, loan information, and any other relevant materials.
- Submit the Application: Submit your completed application and supporting documents by the specified deadline. Pay attention to submission instructions and ensure that your application is complete.
- Wait for a Decision: Loan repayment programs typically have a selection process. After submitting your application, you'll need to wait for a decision. This process may take some time, so be patient.
- Comply with Program Requirements: If accepted into the program, make sure to fulfill all the program requirements, such as continuing to work in a qualifying profession and meeting any service obligations.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information, visit the official website of the specific loan repayment program you are interested in or contact the program directly.
How can I contact someone?
For more information, please visit our website. Or contact the Loan Repayment Programs Information Center at: 866-849-4047/ [email protected]