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NHSC Loan Repayment Program

Licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines can receive loan repayment assistance through the NHSC Loan Repayment Program.

In exchange for loan repayment, you must serve at least two years of service at an NHSC-approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).

Maternity Care Target Areas

In addition to awarding loan repayment program participants in HPSAs, we also will use designated Maternity Care Target Area (MCTA) scoring to distribute maternity care health professionals. MCTAs are located within primary care HPSAs.

Maternity care health professionals are obstetricians/gynecologists, family medicine physicians who practice obstetrics on a regular basis, and certified nurse midwives. Maternity care health professionals will be awarded using either the primary care HPSA or the MCTA score of their site, whichever is higher.

Award increase for primary care providers

We have increased the award amount for physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants who provide primary care services in high-need communities (located in a primary care HPSA) to address the critical shortages of these practitioners.

The increased award amounts are:

  • Up to $75,000 for a full-time, two-year service commitment
  • Up to $37,500 for a half-time, two-year service commitment

If you are in an eligible discipline but you provide mental or behavioral health care services, you will not be eligible for the increased award amount. Instead, all other providers eligible for an NHSC award will receive up to $50,000 of support for a full-time, two-year service commitment.

Remember, all two-year loan repayment program participants can apply for an NHSC Loan Repayment Program Continuation Contract that may allow you to pay off most or all of your health professional education debt.

Application information

Determine your eligibility

Do I qualify for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program?

You qualify if you meet these requirements:

  • A United States citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or a United States national.
  • A provider (or eligible to participate as a provider) in the Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, as appropriate.
  • Fully trained and licensed to practice in the NHSC-eligible discipline and state in which you are applying to serve. This page lists eligible disciplines and specialties for primary care, dental care, mental/behavioral health care, and maternity care.
  • A health professional in an eligible discipline with qualified student loan debt for education that led to your degree.
  • Working at an NHSC-approved site.

New: You can now check your eligibility in the Bureau of Health Workforce Customer Service Portal. After you select Applying for the NHSC Loan Repayment Program on the main portal page, see the Eligibility box at the top of the page.

Are military reservists eligible?

Yes. Find out about specific guidelines and requirements for military reservists.

Which disciplines and specialties are eligible?

Clinicians who provide patient care under the following disciplines and specialties are eligible to apply to the NHSC Loan Repayment Program.

What is an NHSC-approved site?

An NHSC-approved site is a health care facility. It:

  • Provides complete outpatient services to people living in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
  • Meets NHSC site eligibility requirements and qualifications. 

How to apply

We guide you through the application and award process:

Before you apply

It takes three weeks to complete an application. That includes all required and supplemental documentation, and access to a credit report (failure/refusal to unfreeze a frozen credit report will deem your application ineligible).

  • Provide answers in your application that match your supporting documents. If they don't, we will reject your application.
  • You must submit a legible, complete online application by the application deadline.
  • Save each document as a PDF file before uploading to your application. Do not attempt to upload files larger than 5MB, or files saved as TIFF, JPEG, PNG, HEIC, and TXT.

Review the application sections

Print and keep a copy of your completed application package for your records.

After you apply

After you submit your online application, you'll see a receipt of submission.

How can I view my application and its status?

Log into the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal to view your application status. You can also download a copy of your application, supporting documents, and completed EVs.

Can I make edits after I submit my application?

After you submit the online application, you may make edits and upload new documents. You must make all final edits and resubmit your final, complete application by the application deadline. You must certify and submit your application each time you make any changes. Applications in an “In Progress” status cannot be considered for an award.

Can I withdraw my application?

Yes, you may withdraw your application from consideration any time before the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), or their designee, signs the contract. Please reference the Application and Program Guidance (PDF - 597 KB) for additional information.

How do you evaluate me?

We review applications after the application deadline.

We use selection factors and funding priorities to evaluate you and determine who receives awards.

Notifying award finalists

If you become an award finalist, we will email you and ask that you log into the BHW Customer Service Portal.

We will ask you to confirm:

  • Your continued interest in receiving an award.
  • The validity of the loan and employment information you provided us in your application.
  • That you have read and understand the Loan Repayment Program contract. (We ask you to e-sign this if you receive, and accept, an award.)

We ask you to provide:

Your direct deposit banking information. We use this for award funds if you receive an award.

Note: You must respond by the deadline we provide in the Confirmation of Interest email.

What if I don’t respond in time?

If you do not complete the Confirmation of Interest process by the deadline, we may withdraw your application from consideration.

If you still wish to participate in the program, you will need to submit a new application. You will need to do this during a future NHSC Loan Repayment Program application cycle for first-time participants. You will compete with other providers based on that cycle’s program requirements.

Who makes award determinations?

Only the Secretary of HHS or their designee can make an NHSC Loan Repayment Program award.

When will you notify me of an award?

You will receive final notification of an award, including your service obligation dates, no later than September 30.

Will you notify me if you don't select me for an award?

Yes. If we do not select you for an award, we will email you no later than September 30.

NHSC Loan Repayment Program contract & service obligation

When does my service obligation take effect?

Your service obligation begins on the date that the HHS Secretary (or the Secretary’s designee) countersigns your contract.

Can I terminate my contract?

Review the Application and Program Guidance and your contract. Both provide detailed information on the timeline and requirements for NHSC Loan Repayment Program contract termination.

If you terminate, you must repay all funds you receive under the contract.

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