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NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program

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The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (LRP) is for providers working to combat the opioid epidemic in the nation’s rural communities.

The NHSC Rural Community LRP will make loan repayment awards in coordination with the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). This will provide evidence-based substance use treatment, assist in recovery, and prevent overdose deaths across the nation.

Important Dates| Determine Your Eligibility | Disciplines | Sites | How to Apply

Benefits of the NHSC Rural Community LRP

Eligible clinicians enjoy the following benefits in exchange for providing substance use disorder and opioid use disorder treatment services at rural NHSC-approved SUD treatment facilities.

  • Loan Repayment
    Eligible clinicians may receive up to $100,000 for full-time service or $50,000 for half-time service, to repay outstanding, qualifying, educational loans.
  • Flexible Service
    Options You have a choice between three years of full-time or half-time service at a rural NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility.
    Note: If you serve in a private practice, you are not eligible to practice half-time.
  • Service
    You have an opportunity to increase access to primary care services in rural communities in need.

Which loan repayment program fits you best?

Compare our NHSC loan repayment programs—then choose the right one for you.

Important Dates

  • Application Launch Date:  February 20, 2020 
  • Application Submission Deadline: May 21, 2020
  • Employment Start Date: September 1, 2020   
  • Scholars' Service Obligation End Date: July 31, 2020 
  • Notification of Award: September 30, 2020 
  • Contract Termination Deadline: 60 days from the effective date of the contract

Determine Your Eligibility

Do you qualify for the NHSC Rural Community LRP?

Yes, you qualify if you are:

  • A United States citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or 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 primary care medical, or mental/behavioral health discipline and state in which you are applying to serve; 
  • A health professional in an eligible discipline with qualified student loan debt for education that led to your degree; and
  • Working, or have accepted a position, at a rural NHSC-approved SUD treatment facility. Facilities that have received RCORP funding will receive preference.
  • Using either your rural* NHSC-approved facility’s Mental Health or Primary Care HPSA score. 

*Use the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer to find out what NHSC-approved SUD treatment facilities we consider rural.

What are the eligible disciplines and specialties?

  • Allopathic/osteopathic physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Psychiatrists
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Certified nurse-midwives
  • Psychiatric nurse specialists
  • Health service psychologists
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Licensed professional counselors
  • SUD counselors
  • Pharmacists
  • Registered nurses
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetists

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.

What is an NHSC-approved SUD site?

Facilities must meet requirements in:

What are eligible NHSC-approved SUD facilities?

  • SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs (OTPs)
  • Office-based opioid treatment facilities (OBOTs)
  • Non-opioid substance use disorder treatment facilities (SUD treatment facilities)
  • Federally Qualified Health Care Centers (FQHCs)
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
  • American Indian Health facilities
  • FQHC Look-Alikes
  • State or federal correctional facilities
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • State or local health departments
  • Community outpatient facilities
  • Private practices
  • School-based clinics
  • Mobile units and free clinics

How to Apply

We guide you through the application and award process:

To apply for the NHSC Rural Community LRP, you must understand and follow our requirements.

Before You Apply

It takes three weeks to complete an application. This includes required and supplemental documentation.

Provide answers in your application that match your supporting documents. If they don’t, we’ll reject your application.

You must submit a legible, complete online application by the deadline.

We will not:

  • Accept requests after the deadline to update a submitted application or to submit additional materials.
  • Fill in any missing information. 
  • Contact you regarding missing information.

What makes an application complete?

You must include:

  • Online application;
  • Required supporting documents; and
  • Additional supplemental documentation (if applicable).

Application Requirements

Our complete set of requirements and instructions are in the application and program guidance.

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

After You Apply

You’ll see a receipt of submission pop-up when you submit your online application.

How can you view your application and its status?

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

Can you make edits after you submit your application?

Once you submit the online application, you may make edits, upload new documents, etc. Resubmit your final, complete application by the application deadline.

Can you withdraw your 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.

How do we evaluate you?

We begin our review of all applications after the application deadline passes.

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

The NHSC Rural Community LRP has priority factors for 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 LRP contract. (We ask you to 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 you 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 during a future NHSC Rural Community LRP 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 Rural Community LRP award.

When will we notify you of an award?

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

Will we notify you if we do not select you 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 Contract & Service Obligation

When does your service obligation begin?

Your NHSC Rural Community LRP service obligation begins on the date that the HHS Secretary (or the Secretary's designee) countersigns your contract.

Can you terminate your contract?

The APG and your contract explain the timeline and requirements for terminating an NHSC LRP contract. If you terminate, you must repay all funds you receive under the contract.

Contact Us

Call 1-800-221-9393
(TTY: 1-877-897-9910)
M - F, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET
(except federal holidays)
Email us
BHW Customer Service Portal

Member Experiences

Application & Program Guidance (APG)

Fact Sheets & Posters