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Privacy Act Notice

National Institues of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Records, 09-25-0165

Privacy Act Notice

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552a) requires that a federal agency provide the following notification to each individual whom it asks to supply information. This information is contained in the System of Records of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) numbered 09-25-0165, entitled NIH Loan Repayment Records. An update of this system of records was published in the Federal Register on February 17, 2022 (87 Fed. Reg. 8957).

Authority for Maintenance of the System

The legal authority to maintain these records is 42 USC 288-1 and 288-2. Section 7701 of Title 31 U.S.C. authorizes collection of Social Security Numbers.

Purpose(s) of the System

The records are used by NIH's Division of Loan Repayment for the following purposes:

(1) To manage intramural and extramural educational Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) at NIH; specifically to:

  • Identify and select applicants for the NIH LRPs;
  • Verify applicants' information and program eligibility;
  • Select LRP awardees and administer their LRP contracts or awards, including checking research service verifications (receiving institutional certifications that awardees are performing the research project/work proposed in their application), continued employment, and continued financial and program eligibility; and
  • Monitor loan repayment activities, such as payment tracking, payment verifications, loan statuses, and loan default.

(2) To evaluate the LRP programmatic goals and the long-term impact of the LRP on scientists' research career development.

(3) To execute LRP ambassador and alumni activities, the three goals of which are to a) advocate to interested parties about the benefits of choosing a biomedical research career, b) advise current and future potential LRP applicants and policy makers regarding the benefits of the LRP, and c) mentor current and future potential LRP applicants regarding strategies for applying to the LRP.

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System

The records are about the following categories of individuals (these are the only individuals whose personal identifiers are used to retrieve records from this system of records):

  • Applicants for, or awardees of, the NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs).
  • Applicants for, or appointees as, ambassador of the NIH LRP.
  • Alumni of the NIH LRP.

Reviewers who provide materials and recommendations to DLR about applicants are not included as subject individuals, because records are not retrieved by their names or other personal identifiers.

Categories of Records in the System

This system includes a variety of pre-award and award management records that contain information needed to process applications and manage loan repayment awards across the award lifecycle. Listed below are the categories of individuals mentioned above, matched with the records collected about them:

  • Applicants to the NIH LRP—pre-award information;
  • Awardees of NIH LRPs—pre-award and post-award information;
  • LRP applicants and awardees as appointees to the LRP ambassador program—pre-award and post-award information;
  • Appointees to the LRP ambassador program or LRP Ambassadors- professional description and contact information;
  • Alumni of the NIH LRP—pre-award and post-award information.

Note that NIH may maintain some of the same records in more than one IT system and has opted to create a separate SORN for each IT system. This SORN covers records in the NIH IT system managed by NIH's Division of Loan Repayment.

Pre-award information includes the (1) LRP application and (2) associated forms. It consists of name; address; Social Security Numbers; NIH Commons ID Number; non-LRP-program service pay-back obligations; employment data; personal, professional, and demographic background information; academic and research descriptions and progress reports (which can include related data, correspondence, and professional performance information such as continuing education, performance awards, and adverse or disciplinary actions); financial data including account names and financial account numbers, loan balances, deferment, forbearance, and payment status information; commercial credit reports; recommendation letters; and peer review-related information such as application scores, reviewer critiques, summary statements, and express promises of confidentiality to reviewers who render scores or critiques.

Award management information consists of items such as (1) certifications and verifications of continued employment status; (2) financial information such as obligated award amounts, awardee financial reports, ongoing loan balances, loan repayment tracking and verifications, and any financial or credit information that represents a change from that reported in the application that occurs during the award or contract; (3) quarterly research service certifications; and (4) any change in award/contract management or status.

Record Source Categories

Information included in this system of records is collected directly from the applicants and awardees, and from reviewers, mentors, supervisors, institutional business officials, participating lending and loan servicing institutions, educational and awardee institutions, other federal agencies, consumer reporting agencies, credit bureaus, the National Student Clearinghouse, third parties that provide references concerning applicants, and commercial residential address databases which are used to find or verify current home addresses.

Routine Uses of Records Maintained in the System, Including Categories of Users and Purposes of Such Uses

Records about an individual may be disclosed from this system of records to parties outside HHS, without the individual's prior written consent, for the following purposes:

  • To a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the congressional office made at the written request of the individual.
  • To the Department of Justice (DOJ) or to a court or other adjudicative body in litigation or other proceedings when:
    • HHS or any component thereof or another participating agency; or
    • any employee of HHS or of another participating agency in the employee's official capacity; or
    • any employee of HHS in the employee's individual capacity where the DOJ, HHS, or participating agency has agreed to represent the employee; or
    • the United States, if it is a party to or has a direct and substantial interest in the proceeding and the disclosure of such records is deemed by HHS to be relevant and necessary to the proceeding.
  • When a record on its face, or in conjunction with other records, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, whether civil, criminal, or regulatory in nature, and whether arising by general statute or particular program statute, or by regulation, rule, or order issued pursuant thereto, disclosure may be made to the appropriate public authority, whether federal, foreign, state, local, tribal, or otherwise responsible for enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting the violation or charged with enforcing or implementing the statute, rule, regulation, or order issued pursuant thereto.
  • To appropriate federal agencies and HHS contractors, awardees, consultants, or volunteers who have been engaged by HHS to assist in the accomplishment of an HHS function relating to the purposes of this system of records and that need to have access to the records in order to assist HHS in performing the activity. Any contractor will be required to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.
  • To present and former employers, references listed on applications and associated forms, other references, and educational institutions to evaluate an individual's professional and academic accomplishments, plans, performance, credentials, and educational background, and to determine if an applicant is suitable for participation in a LRP.
  • To the National Student Clearinghouse using the Loan Locator internet System or similar system to assist in the verification of loan data submitted by LRP applicants. Disclosures are limited to the applicant's name, address, social security number, and other information necessary to identify the applicant; locate all student loans; verify payment addresses; identify the funding being sought or amount and status of the debt; and identify the program under which the applicant or claim is being processed.
  • To institution officials or representatives that serve in a supervisory role to the awardee to support the review of an LRP application, or to carry out performance or administration under the terms and conditions of the LRP award, or to monitor, manage, and resolve problems that might arise in performance or administration of the LRP contract.
  • To the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in records management inspections conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.
  • To a federal, state, local or tribal agency in response to its request in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance or retention of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance or retention of a license, grant, cooperative agreement, loan repayment, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the record is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision in the matter. The other agency or licensing organization may then make a request supported by the written consent of the individual for further information if it so chooses. HHS will not make an initial disclosure unless the information has been determined to be sufficiently reliable to support a referral to another office within the agency or to another federal agency for criminal, civil, administrative, personnel, or regulatory action.
  • To qualified experts, not within the definition of agency employees as prescribed in agency regulations or policies, to obtain their opinions on applications for loans or other awards as part of the peer review process.
  • To the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) for purposes of verifying payment eligibility affecting loan reimbursement payments, including under a computer matching agreement between HHS and Treasury for disbursement-related purposes authorized by 31 U.S.C. 3321 note and Executive Order 13520, if the matching program requires data from this system of records.
  • To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) HHS suspects or has confirmed that there has been a breach of the system of records; (2) HHS has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed breach there is a risk of harm to individuals, HHS (including its information systems, programs, and operations), the federal government, or national security; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with HHS's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed breach or to prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.
  • To another federal agency or federal entity, when HHS determines that information from this system of records is reasonably necessary to assist the recipient agency or entity in (1) responding to a suspected or confirmed breach or (2) preventing, minimizing, or remedying the risk of harm to individuals, the recipient agency or entity (including its information systems, programs, and operations), the federal government, or national security, resulting from a suspected or confirmed breach.

NIH may also disclose information about an individual, without the individual's prior written consent, from this system of records to parties outside HHS for any of the purposes authorized directly in the Privacy Act at 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2) and (b)(4)-(11).

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