Frequently Asked Questions

  • When can I expect to receive my first payment?

    Your first installment of loan repayment will be issued electronically on or around August 1, 2016, contingent on receipt of information by the June 1, 2016, deadline. Annual installments are expected to be disbursed on or around August 1 each year.

  • What documents must I submit by June 1 in order to receive my first payment?

    You must submit the following required documents by June 1, 2016 through the NHSC Customer Service Portal:

    • Proof of graduation from your medical school (dated no earlier than April 15, 2016).
    • Proof that you passed Step 2/Level 2 of the Licensing Examination.
    • Letter of acceptance to a primary care residency program in an NHSC-approved specialty (Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Geriatrics, and Psychiatry). The letter must include the date on which the residency will begin and be on official letterhead, signed by the residency program director.
  • Is my S2S award taxable?

    Students to Service Program awards are not taxable.

  • What are my requirements while in school?

    Your loan repayment award is contingent upon graduating from an accredited school of allopathic or osteopathic medicine.  While completing the final year of the academic program, you are required to notify the NHSC of any changes in personal or financial information, such as mailing address, e-mail address, name, or financial institution (bank) information.  In the case of a name change, you must provide legal documentation for the change, such as a copy of a marriage certificate.  This can all be done through the Customer Service Portal.

  • What are my requirements while in residency?

    Once you have begun your accredited primary care residency program in an NHSC-approved specialty, you will be asked to submit annual Post-Graduate Training Verification Forms (PGTVF) while completing the residency.  The NHSC Students to Service Program will continue to issue the annual award payment, so long as you continue to complete your post-graduate training (including residency, chief residency, or fellowship) in an NHSC-approved specialty and submit the Post-Graduate Training Verification Form to the NHSC no later than June 1 of each year.  The form must be verified by your residency program director or another supervisor.

  • When does my service commitment begin?

    You are expected to begin service within six (6) months of completion of your residency or fellowship (generally within 6 months of June 30). Credit for service toward the Students to Service Program commitment does not begin until you do the following:

    1. Successfully complete an NHSC-approved primary care residency;
    2. Obtain a valid health professional license to practice in the State where the NHSC site is located (unless you have a license in another State and meet the exemption criteria);
    3. Have an appropriate practice agreement completed and signed by you and the Secretary or his/her designee.
    4. Begin to provide clinical services at the NHSC-approved service site.
  • When does the service commitment end?

    The last day of your service commitment is determined in whole years from your start date.  For example, the last day of service for a participant with a 3-year service commitment who began service on July 15, 2013, would be July 14, 2016.  Adjustments in the end date will be made by the NHSC if a participant is away from the NHSC-approved site for more than 7 weeks (35 work days) per service year.

  • Where do participants in the S2S program serve?

    Students to Service Loan Repayment Program participants must work at NHSC-approved sites in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas of greatest need throughout the United States.  The NHSC publishes a list of approved sites each year.  

    Sites may be:

    1. Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
    2. Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike
    3. Rural Health Clinic (RHC)
    4. Hospital Affiliated Primary Care Out-Patient Clinic
    5. Indian Health Service, Tribal Clinic, and Urban Indian Health Clinic (ITU)
    6. IHS and Tribal Hospitals
    7. State or Federal Correctional Facility
    8. Private Practice (Solo/Group)
    9. Other Health Facility:
    • Community Outpatient Facility
    • Critical Access Hospital (CAH)
    • Community Mental Health Facility
    • State and County Departments of Health Clinic
    • Mobile Unit
    • Free Clinic
    • School-based Health Program
    • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE Health Service Corps)
  • What is a suspension?

    A suspension is a temporary break in service that is granted after thorough evaluation of each individual circumstance and proper documentation is submitted. The types of suspensions are Medical/Personal, Active Duty and Licensure.

  • What is a return from suspension?

    A return from suspension officially ends your current suspension period and allows you to resume your service obligation.

  • What if something happens and I need to take a leave of absence? Does this affect my contract with the NHSC?

    Full-time clinicians can take up to 7 weeks (35 work days) leave each service year. Half-time clinicians are eligible for 35 half-time work days of leave each year. This leave can be used for vacation, professional education, illness or other reasons. If you feel you will need more than the allowable time in a year, you must request a suspension of your service. In certain situations, the NHSC may agree to suspend or waive your service commitment if completing it becomes impossible or would involve an extreme hardship. For more information, please call 1-800-221-9393.

  • How do I apply for maternity or paternity leave?

    To apply for maternity or paternity leave, you will need to provide:

    • A doctor’s note (on letterhead or prescription pad) stating your expected due date
    • A signed written notification of your intent to take leave that includes the anticipated start and end date
    • An employer letter on letterhead acknowledging the leave start and end dates

    At the end of leave, please provide:

    • A letter from your employer with the date you returned to work.

    If you expect your maternity/paternity leave will be more than 12 weeks during a service year, you will need to request a suspension of service based on documented medical need. For more information please call 1-800-221-9393.

  • Can I leave my NHSC-approved service site prior to the completion of service?

    The NHSC expects you to fulfill your service commitment at the NHSC-approved site identified in your Practice Agreement; however, the NHSC does understand that circumstances may arise that may require you to leave your initial service site and complete service at another NHSC-approved site.  If you feel you can no longer continue working at your approved site, contact the NHSC immediately through the Customer Service Portal.  If you leave your NHSC-approved site without prior approval of the NHSC, you may be placed in default and will not receive service credit for the period not providing service at the NHSC-approved service site listed in the Practice Agreement.

  • How do I request a transfer to another NHSC-approved service site?

    If you need to transfer to another site, you must request a transfer through the Customer Service Portal.  The transfer must be approved and processed by the NHSC prior to your beginning to work at that site.  If you transfer sites prior to NHSC approval, you will not receive service credit for the time period between the transfer and the NHSC approval and may be placed in default.   

    If you voluntarily resign from your site without prior approval from the NHSC or are terminated by your site for cause, you may not receive a transfer to another site and may be placed in default.