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NHSC Rural Community Loan Repayment Program

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We’ve closed the FY2021 NHSC Rural Community LRP application cycle. Sign up to be notified when the next one opens HRSA Exit Disclaimer.

Review the 2021 NHSC Rural Community LRP Application and Program Guidance (APG) (PDF - 653 KB) for details on the program. 

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.

How do I receive award preference?

Get your DATA 2000 waiver with free Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) training and receive award preference.

Which loan repayment program fits me best?

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

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.

Important Dates

  • Application Launch Date: March 24, 2021
  • Application Submission Deadline: May 6, 2021
  • Employment Start Date: July 18, 2021
  • Scholars Service Obligation Date: July 31, 2021
  • Notification of Award: September 30, 2021
  • Contract Termination Deadline: 60 days from the effective date of the contract

Determine Your Eligibility

Do I 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.

How can my application receive priority?

You will receive priority if you:

  • Serve at an Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Consortium Member facility;
  • Have a DATA 2000 waiver;
  • Have a license or certification in substance use disorder interventions, such as master’s-level substance use disorder counselors.

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.

Online Application Sections

Complete each of the sections below to submit your application.

  • Eligibility

    If you do not pass this initial screening portion of the application, you cannot continue with the application.

  • General Information

    Provide contact information such as your name, social security number, mailing and email addresses, as well as information about individual and family background.

  • Discipline, Training and Certification

    Provide information about your education, training, and licensure/certification.

  • Employment

    You will search for, and select the NHSC-approved site(s), where you currently provide or will provide patient care.

  • Employment Verification

    You must request an Employment Verification (EV). Through the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal, we will then notify the designated point(s)-of-contact at the NHSC-approved service site where you work (or plan to work), about your request.

    We will notify you once the site(s) point(s) of contact completes it.

    The site(s) must complete the electronic EV before you can submit your application. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that the site point-of-contact completes the EV.

  • Loan Information

    Provide information on each qualifying educational loan for which you seek repayment.

    We will verify each by reviewing supporting documents, contacting lenders/holders, and checking your credit report.

    Each of the loans must have:

    • Name and contact information for the lender/holder.
    • Loan account number.
    • Original amount disbursed.
    • Original date of the loan.
    • Current outstanding balance (no more than 30 days from the date you submit your application).
    • Current interest rate.
    • Type of loan. If a consolidated loan, we need to know:
      • Original date of consolidation.
      • Original balance of consolidation.
      • Account number.
    • Purpose of loan.

Required Supporting Documentation

An application is incomplete without the following required supplemental documents:

  • Proof of status as a United States citizen or United States national

    Acceptable documents: birth certificate, current U.S. passport’s ID page, or a certificate of citizenship or naturalization.

    Unacceptable documents: driver’s license or Social Security card.

  • Loan Information Verification

    Provide two types of documentation for each loan you submit:

    • Account Statement
      Current information on your qualifying educational loans. This document should:
      • Be on official letterhead or other clear verification that it comes from the lender/holder;
      • Include the name of the borrower (i.e., the NHSC LRP applicant);
      • Contain the account number;
      • Include the date of the statement (cannot be more than 30 days from the date you submit your application);
      • Include the current outstanding balance (principal and interest) or the current payoff balance; and
      • Include the current interest rate.
    • Disbursement Report
      Verifies the originating loan information and should:
      • Be on official letterhead or other clear verification that it comes from the lender/holder;
      • Include the name of the borrower;
      • Contain the account number;
      • Include the type of loan;
      • Include the original loan date (must be prior to the date you submit your application);
      • Include the original loan amount; and
      • Include the purpose of the loan.

Additional Supplemental Documentation (if applicable)

You may need to submit additional supporting documents.

Submit these documents if we list them on the “Supporting Documents” page of the online application.

  • Specialty Certification 

    If you select a specialty, you are required to upload a copy of the certificate of completion or diploma from the training program where you matriculated. 

  • Postgraduate Training Verification. This document verifies that you completed the PCTE: Training Primary Care Champions (applies to physicians and physician assistants only) or AMF Program

    This documentation is in addition to the postgraduate training related to your practice area. Such documentation may include an official completion certificate.

  • THCGME Identification Number

    If you completed a postgraduate medical or dental training program funded by HRSA through the THCGME Payment Program, you are required to submit the residency identification number and residency completion certificate, if available. Use the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to look up your program identification number.

  • Geriatrics Certification

    A copy of the certificate of completion or diploma from your geriatrics training program.

  • Verification of Disadvantaged Background

    A school official must complete the Verification of Disadvantaged Background (PDF – 407 KB).

  • Verification of Existing Service Obligation

    Verification from the entity for which you have an existing service obligation stating you will complete service there prior to the NHSC application deadline.

  • Payment History

    Verification that you used all NHSC LRP funds to repay the qualifying educational loans approved as part of your most recent NHSC LRP contract, if applicable.

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 I view my application and its status?

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

Can I make edits after I submit my 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 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.

How do you evaluate me?

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 also has award priority factors.

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 I don’t respond in time?

If you don't 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 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 don't select you for an award, we will email you no later than September 30.

NHSC Loan Repayment Contract & Service Obligation

When does my 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 I terminate my contract?

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

*If you use assistive technology, you may not be able to access information in these files. For help, contact us at 800-221-9393.

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