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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 a new program for providers working to combat the opioid epidemic in the nation’s rural communities.

The NHSC Rural Community LRP will make FY 2019 loan repayment awards in coordination with the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) initiative within the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) to provide evidence-based substance use treatment, assist in recovery, and to prevent overdose deaths across the nation.

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.

Determine Your Eligibility | Disciplines | Sites | How to Apply

Are you eligible for an NHSC Rural Community LRP award?

NHSC Rural Community LRP offers awards to providers working in rural communities who use evidence-based treatment models to treat substance use disorders and opioid use disorders.

You must be:

  • A United States citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or United States national;
  • A provider (or be 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. Sites that have received RCORP funding will receive preference.

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 that:

  • Provides comprehensive outpatient services to populations residing in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs)
  • HRSA determines to meet the NHSC site eligibility requirements and qualifications.

To be an NHSC-approved SUD site, facilities must demonstrate they meet requirements in:

What are eligible NHSC-approved SUD sites?

  • 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 National Health Service Corps Rural Community Loan Repayment Program (NHSC Rural Community LRP), you must understand and properly follow each of our requirements.

Before You Apply

On average, it takes three weeks to complete an application, including all required and supplemental documentation.

Be sure that the answers you provide in your application match your supporting documents. If we find they do not, we will reject your application.

You must submit a legible, complete online application—including all supporting documents—by the application deadline.

We will not:

  • Accept requests after the deadline to update a submitted application or to submit additional materials.
  • Fill in any missing information nor 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 NHSC Rural Community LRP Application and Program Guidance (APG) (PDF - 674 KB).

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

After You Apply

You will receive a receipt of submission pop-up immediately upon submitting your online application.

How can you view your application and its status?

Log into the Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) Customer Service Portal at any time to view the overall status of your application, and/or download a copy (.pdf) 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. However, you must make all final edits and 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 various selection factors and funding priorities to evaluate applicants of the NHSC Rural Community LRP, and eventually determine who receives awards.

Additionally, the NHSC Rural Community LRP has priority factors for awards.

Notifying Award Finalists

If you become an award finalist, we will notify you (via email) to log into the BHW Customer Service Portal. Once there, you must confirm the following:

  • Your continued interest in receiving an award.
  • The validity of the loan and employment information you provided us in your application.
  • You have read and understand the LRP contract we will ask you to sign if you ultimately receive, and accept, an award.

In addition, you must provide us with your direct deposit banking information, which we will use for award funds in the event 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, your application may be withdrawn 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 and 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 you and the HHS Secretary (or the Secretary's designee) sign your contract.

Can you terminate your contract?

The APG and your contract provide detailed information on the timeline and requirements for termination of 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