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NIH Loan Repayment Programs

Health professionals who have doctoral-level degrees and are conducting biomedical or behavioral research funded by domestic nonprofit or government organizations may be eligible for up to $50,000 of NIH loan repayment per year to repay educational debts.

Each year, more than 1,600 researchers receive contracts from the NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs). A short-term program evaluation has shown that participants in these programs stay in research careers longer, apply for and receive more research grants, and are more likely to become independent investigators than their peers who do not receive LRP funding.

NIMH participates in three of the five extramural LRP Programs – Clinical Research LRP, Pediatric Research LRP, and Health Disparities LRP. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Mark Chavez ( for information about eligibility, technical assistance, and the Institute’s research priorities.

Applying to the LRP is as easy as 1… 2… 3…

  • Visit the LRP website at
  • Review program information and eligibility criteria
  • Read NIH IC Mission and Priorities and talk to a Program Officer (Mark Chavez, NIMH LRP)


In exchange for a two-year research commitment, NIH will:

  • Repay qualified educational debt up to $50,000 per year
  • Reimburse Federal and state taxes resulting from your repayment award
  • Repay qualified educational debt after completion of the two-year commitment through competitive renewals
  • LRP awardees with student debt remaining at the completion of award, may apply for a competitive renewal provided they continue to meet NIH's eligibility requirements


Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Doctoral degree (M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent)
  • Research must be funded by a domestic nonprofit, university or U.S. federal, state, or local government entity
  • Educational loan debt equal to at least 20 percent of your annual salary
  • Conduct research for an average of at least 20 hours/week
  • U.S. Citizen or permanent resident

Application Cycle Deadlines and Notification

  • New and Renewal: September 1 - November 15
  • Notification: August/September

Get Started

  • Follow the Application Process Application Process Interactive Roadmap to learn about the extramural LRPs, verify your eligibility, and apply to one of the programs.
  • The LRP Application Guide will acquaint you with the content and format of the application so that you can begin preparing to complete it.


  • Priority score and reviewer comments for loan repayment applications are not provided to applicants If an LRP application is not awarded, the applicant is allowed to submit a new application in a subsequent year. Official summary statements are not generated, and thus are not available to the applicants. Applicants are not expected to indicate how their application differs from any earlier applications they may have submitted.
  • Unsuccessful LRP applicants are encouraged to contact Michele Pearson for any feedback that may be available.

Tools and Training

  • LRP Application Guide – Prepare to complete an LRP application by getting started with this guide. The extramural LRP application cycle is open September 1– November 15. Starting your preparations as early as possible can help you avoid being rushed as the deadline approaches.
  • Tips for Completing a Competitive LRP Application – A helpful guide on writing a competitive LRP application.
  • LRP Repayment Estimator – What can the LRPs do for you financially? Use this tool to approximate the student loan repayment benefits you may receive as a participant.


  • LRP Ambassador Network – Connect with current and past recipients who can share their experiences and offer application advice.
  • LRP Application Review Process – Provides FAQs about how an application is assigned to an NIH institute, the review process and evaluation, and insight about how funding decisions are made.
  • LRP Data and Reports - The dashboard provides aggregated data about the applications received and awards funded by the NIH LRPs. Also available on this page are progress and feature reports about the Programs.