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Loan Assistance

What is the NIH Loan Repayment Program(LRP)?

The LRP is part of the Congressionally approved Clinical Research Enhancement Act of 2000. Begun in 2001, the LRP helps young investigators pay educational debt.

How does the program work?

In exchange for a two-year commitment to a clinical research career, NIH repays up to $35,000 per year of qualified educational debt, pays an additional 39 percent of the repayments to cover federal taxes and may reimburse state taxes that result from these payments.

Who is eligible for the program?

In fiscal year (FY) 2002, this program was restricted to researchers with NIH grants. In FY 2003, however, NIH broadened eligibility to all doctoral-level clinical researchers with nonprofit or U.S. government (federal, state or local) funding. This group included recipients of grants from private sources such as the AGA's Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition. To participate, an individual must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen (or U.S. national or permanent resident);
  • Have a MD, PhD, PsyD, Pharm D, DO, DDS, DMD, DPM, DC, ND or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution;
  • Conduct clinical research for 50 percent of his/her time (at least 20 hours weekly based on a 40 hour week) for two years;
  • Conduct research supported by a domestic nonprofit institution or by a U.S. government (federal, state, or local) entity;
  • Conduct research that is not prohibited by federal law or NIH policy;
  • Have educational debt (from qualifying types of student loans) equal to at least 20 percent of the applicants institutional base salary. (Institutional base salary refers to wages paid by the institution where the individual is conducting research.)

What types of loans will the program repay?

NIH Loan Repayment Programs will make payments on all qualified student loans, together with interest and related expenses (such as required insurance premiums). Loans qualify if they are issued by any U.S. government (federal, state or local) or accredited U.S. academic institutions, and/or commercial lenders for school tuition or other reasonable educational/living expenses (including room, board and transportation) while attending undergraduate, graduate, medical, dental or veterinary schools. NIH cannot pay late fees, penalties or legal fees.

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