Public Law (Pub. L.) 103-43 added Section 487E to the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 USC 288-5), establishing a program of educational loan repayment to attract physicians or dentists from disadvantaged backgrounds to conduct clinical research.
Additional Program Information
Applicants certify disadvantaged background status by submitting at least one of the following documents at the time of application:
- A written statement from the applicant's health professions school(s) indicates qualification for Federal disadvantaged assistance during matriculation;
- Documentation of Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) or Loans for Disadvantaged Students
- Documentation of a scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need
Current financial need is not sufficient to be classified as an individual from a disadvantaged background.
Clinical Research - Patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects, or research on the causes and consequences of disease in human populations involving material of human origin (such as tissue specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator or colleague directly interacts with human subjects in an outpatient or inpatient setting to clarify a problem in human physiology, pathophysiology or disease, epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials.
Please note: The definition of Clinical Research for the LRPs is derived from LRP-related legislation and may differ from other published Clinical Research definitions.
Disadvantaged Background –An individual from a disadvantaged background means an individual who:
- Comes from an environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill and ability required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school; or
- Comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for the changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Secretary) for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels in the Federal Register.
See Eligibility on the Eligibility & Programs page.
Application Review Process
DLR reviews each application to ensure it is complete and meets all general eligibility requirements. Applications that are incomplete – including those missing supplemental information, such as recommendations and institutional certification – as of the applicable deadline will not be considered for further review.
NIH Institute or Center/Peer Review
Applications that meet the eligibility criteria are forwarded to the NIH Loan Repayment Committee (LRC). The LRC reviews, ranks, and approves/disapproves eligible applications for LRP awards.
Evaluation of each application is based primarily on the applicant’s:
- Potential to perform basic or clinical research; and
- Research training plan.
Select applicants will be emailed on a rolling basis to request submission of loan documentation. Loan balance and eligibility must be established to be considered for repayment. Loan documentation can take several months to acquire from lenders. DLR encourages all applicants to contact their lenders as soon as the LRP application is submitted. LRP applicants should carefully review the Loan Detail Page for more information.
All Intramural Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Research LRP and AIDS Research LRP new awards are two years. The repayment amount is equal to one-quarter of the total eligible debt, up to $35,000, for each year of the award. To receive the maximum amount of $70,000 for a two-year award, an applicant must have at least $140,000 in eligible educational debt at the contract start date.
Payments are made on a quarterly basis, starting with the loan with the highest priority per NIH guidelines. If a paid-in-full in full before the end of the contract, subsequent quarterly payments will be directed to the loan with the next highest priority.
Use our repayment calculator to get an estimate on the amount of your LRP award.
An Intramural LRP new award is a two-year contract that starts on the date of NIH employment. Awardees are expected to meet the terms and conditions of the LRP award for the entire contract period.
An LRP award cannot be transferred from an Intramural LRP to an Extramural LRP. If an awardee terminates employment with the NIH, the LRP award will be terminated as well. Depending on the circumstances of the change in employment, breach of contract may be considered by the funding Institute or Center.
Change of Institution
If an awardee transfers to another IC within the NIH, the awardee may continue to participate in the NIH LRP as long as the IC to which the awardee is transferring also participates in the NIH Intramural LRPs. The awardee must continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
It is the responsibility of the Intramural award recipient to notify DLR immediately if there is a pending change in NIH IC. The awardee must provide a copy of the SF-50 for the new position at the new IC as soon as it becomes available. This information will be reviewed by the Director, Intramural Loan Repayment Programs and the awardee may be asked to provide additional information during the review.
If the Intramural awardee obtains employment outside of the NIH, the awardee will no longer be eligible to participate in the Intramural LRPs and the award will be terminated immediately. This may also constitute a breach of contract and the awardee may be subjected to the financial penalties described in the contract.
Family leave can include maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption leave. Paid family leave can be taken during an LRP award. Any unpaid leave, even if covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), may result in a reduced quarterly payment. Awardees must make payments to lenders on their own behalf for periods of Leave Without Pay (LWOP).
Breach of Contract
Failure to complete the terms of an LRP contract, including the research service requirement, is considered a breach of contract. The penalty for breaching the LRP contract is $7,500 for each month the contract terms are not met, with the minimum penalty set at $31,000. Please read the LRP contract in its entirety before applying to the LRP.
Online Application Period
Colleague & Institutional Documentation Period
Contract & Certification Documentation Deadline
IC & Peer Review Period
Financial Review Period
Qualified lenders: Any U.S. government (Federal, State, or local) entity, accredited U.S. academic institution, and/or U.S. commercial educational lender that is subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as a lending institution by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business.
Unqualified lenders: Entities that are not U.S. government (Federal, State, or local), U.S. academic, or U.S. commercial educational lenders. Loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals are also not qualified.
Most U.S.-based educational loans made by a qualified lender for educational purposes are eligible for repayment, including U.S.-based educational loans made for the following purposes:
- Undergraduate, graduate, and health professional school tuition and expenses;
- Other reasonable educational expenses required by the school(s) attended, including fees, books, supplies, educational equipment and materials, and laboratory expenses;
- Reasonable living expenses, including the cost of room and board, transportation and commuting costs, and other living expenses as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services.
A consolidated loan is eligible as long as all loans in the consolidation are eligible for repayment.
Existing principal and capitalized interest on eligible loans and related expenses, such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans, from qualifying lenders are also eligible for repayment.
The following loans are not eligible for repayment through the LRPs:
- Consolidated loans that include at least one of the following loans are not eligible for repayment;
- Loans obtained from an unqualified lender;
- Loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or child;
- Loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or parent;
- Non-educational loans, such as a home-equity loan;
- Loans for which eligibility documentation is not provided;
- Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed a reasonable level as determined by the standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made;
- Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under a program where an incurred service obligation converts to a loan upon failure to satisfy the service obligation;
- Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their repayment schedule;
- Parent PLUS loans;
- Loans that are paid-in-full;
- Loans that are obtained after the start date of the initial NIH Loan Repayment Program Contract.
Additionally, late fees, penalty fees, additional interest charges, or collections costs will not be repaid by the LRP.
Individuals applying to the Intramural LRPs are automatically considered mentored research scientists and will need to enter the name of their Intramural research supervisor/mentor.
There are many attachments requested during the online application process. The table below lists the required attachments, organized by type of document and who needs to submit it.
In addition, applicants must have a minimum of three reference letters, but no more than five will be accepted. For guidance on selecting referees, please see the Referees/Recommenders section of our website.
|Document or Form||Mentored Research Scientist||Independent Researcher|
|Instructions: Applicants selecting Clinical Research for Individuals from DIsadvantaged Backgrounds LRP in their online application will complete the Disadvantaged Background form, This form requires applicants to choose the type of documentation they will provide DLR to demonstrate disadvantaged background status. After the application is submitted, the documentation can be uploaded directly to the submitted application or faxed to 1-866-849-4046 using the appropriate coversheet, which will be provided during the online application process.|
NIH Biosketch (Applicant)
|Instructions: Submit a Biosketch in a specified NIH format. It is not necessary to have a well-established career to apply to the LRP, but the Biosketch should include a list of significant honors and grants. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.|
NIH Biosketch (Mentor)
|Instructions: Submit a Biosketch in a specified NIH format. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.|
NIH Biosketch (Additional)
|Mentor on behalf of Additional Mentor||Not Applicable|
|Instructions: If another laboratory staff member will be involved in the mentoring program, this staff member’s Biosketch should be provided by the mentor. The Biosketch must be in a specified NIH format and cannot exceed five (5) pages. Only one additional Biosketch may be attached to an application.|
|Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe briefly your previous research training experience and short-term academic and research objectives.|
Career Development Plan
|Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your career development plan and explain how this plan will foster the development of your career in research. Specify the types of research methods and scientific techniques to be learned, memberships in journal clubs or groups, and conferences and seminars to be attended.|
|Applicant with approval from Mentor||Applicant|
|Instructions: Use eight (8) pages or less to describe the research activities you will pursue over the next two years and your specific role and responsibilities in the research project(s). Literature citations are included in the character count and should be listed on the last page. Include your name, employer, title of research project, and date in the document header.|
|Applicant, with approval from Mentor||Applicant|
|Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe the research to be conducted during the course of the LRP award and the facilities that will be available to execute the project. The description should include the branch/laboratory/section/department of the applicant and the appropriate scientific colleagues, institutional research, and facilities available. Include a brief description of the funding source for your research. Also, if this is a mentored application, a brief description of the mentor's research should be included.|
|Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your research training program and mentoring plan. Specify the types of training interactions, training mechanisms to be used, research methods, and scientific techniques to be learned, and involvement in activities such as journal clubs, professional groups, conferences, and seminars. Describe how your mentor will contribute to your training program and his/her prior experience as a mentor of other investigators. Additionally, the nature and extent of supervision should be discussed as they will occur during the award period. If another laboratory staff member will be involved in your mentoring program, provide his/her name and describe his/her degree of involvement.|
Certification for Online Application
|Instructions: Read all statements listed in the Certifications for Online Applications section and check the box next to each statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and returning the form to the NIH LRPs. You will also be required to type in the last four (4) digits of your SSN as a means to certify your consent and verification.|
|Instructions: Read the NIH Loan Repayment Programs Contract in its entirety and check the box next to the statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and mailing in a signed copy of the contract to the NIH LRPs. You will also be required to type in the last four (4) digits of your SSN as a means to certify your consent and verification.|
|Instructions: Note that it can take many months to obtain the LRP-required documentation from lenders and servicers, so LRP applicants are strongly advised to collect those documents well in advance. Provide specified documentation to demonstrate that educational loans listed in the application are eligible for loan repayment. Loans will be considered ineligible if appropriate documentation is not provided in a timely manner. Seeadditional details about loan documents. Applicants will be notified by DLR when to submit those documents any time between May and August.|