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NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

To combat the nation’s opioid crisis, HRSA will launch the NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program (SUD Workforce LRP).

The most effective treatment for opioid addiction is a comprehensive approach that incorporates medication and behavioral health counseling.

The program will support the recruitment and retention of health professionals needed in underserved areas to expand access to SUD treatment and prevent overdose deaths.

Determine Your Eligibility | Disciplines | Sites | How to Apply

The SUD Workforce LRP will begin accepting applications later this year.

Sign up to receive additional information on the program:

Benefits of the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP

Eligible clinicians may receive up to $75,000 in student loan repayment in exchange for a three-year commitment to provide substance use disorder treatment services at NHSC-approved sites.

  • Service

    You have an opportunity to increase access to primary care services to communities in need.

  • Flexible Service Options

    You have a choice between three years of full-time or part-time service at an NHSC-approved SUD service site.

    Note: If you serve in a private practice, you are not eligible to practice half-time.

  • Loan Repayment

    You will receive funds to repay your outstanding, qualifying, educational loans.

NHSC LRP vs. NHSC SUD Workforce LRP

Service Commitment

  SUD Workforce LRP NHSC LRP
Full-time 3 Years
Up to $75K
2 Years
Up to $50K
Half-time* 3 years
Up to $37.5K
2 years
Up to $25K
Service Location NHSC-approved sites
providing SUD treatment
NHSC-approved sites

*Note: Half-time practice is not available to those serving under the Private Practice Option (PPO)

Clinical Disciplines

  SUD Workforce LRP* NHSC LRP
Primary Care x x
Dental   x
Mental/Behavioral Health x x

*Note: Providers must be trained and licensed to provide SUD Treatment and be working at an NHSC-approved SUD treatment site.

Determine Your Eligibility

To apply for this program, you must be working, or have accepted an offer of employment by the date you submit an application, at an NHSC SUD Workforce LRP-approved service site.

Do you qualify for the NHSC-SUD Workforce LRP?

Yes, you qualify:

  • If you work at a SUD site with a Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) score that would ordinarily be too low to qualify for NHSC funding.
  • Using either your NHSC-approved site’s Mental Health or Primary Care HPSA score.

Are you eligible for an NHSC SUD Workforce LRP award?

Yes, as long as you are:

  • 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, dental or mental/behavioral health discipline and state in which you are applying to serve; and
  • A health professional in an eligible discipline with qualified student loan debt for education that led to your degree.

Are military reservists eligible?

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

Which disciplines and specialties are eligible?

NHSC SUD Workforce LRP offers awards to providers who use evidence-based treatment models to treat substance use disorders. Evidence-based SUD treatment contributes to combating this epidemic through specific eligibility.

Providers must be trained and licensed to provide SUD treatment at NHSC-approved evidenced-based SUD treatment facilities.

Eligible Disciplines and Specialties

The following disciplines and specialties are eligible to apply to the NHSC SUD Workforce LRP:

  • Physicians;
  • Nurse practitioners;
  • Certified nurse midwives;
  • Physician assistants;
  • Behavioral health professionals;
  • Substance use disorder counselors;
  • Registered nurses; and,
  • Pharmacists

NHSC-Approved SUD Treatment Sites

NHSC SUD Workforce LRP applicants must be working or have accepted a position at an NHSC-approved service site.  

An NHSC-approved site is a health care facility providing comprehensive outpatient services to populations residing in HPSAs and determined by HRSA to meet the NHSC site eligibility requirements and qualifications. 

To be an NHSC-approved SUD site, facilities must have demonstrated that they meet the requirements set forth in the NHSC Site Agreement (PDF - 179 KB) and NHSC Site Reference Guide (PDF - 915 KB), including submission of SUD documentation (PDF - 176 KB).

  • SAMHSA-certified outpatient 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 SUD Workforce Loan Repayment Program (NHSC SUD Workforce 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 to update a submitted application nor permit you to submit materials after the deadline.
  • Fill in any missing information nor contact you regarding missing information.

How can your application receive priority?

You will receive priority if you:

  • You have a DATA 2000 waiver;
  • You serve in an opioid treatment program; or
  • You 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

The following provides an overview of the application requirements. Our complete set of requirements and instructions will be available in our forthcoming NHSC SUD Workforce LRP Application and Program Guidance (APG).

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)

We may require you to submit additional documents if your responses on the online application indicate that they are relevant.

You should only submit these documents if we list them on the “Supporting Documents” page of the online application.

  • Geriatrics Certification
    Upload a copy of the certificate of completion or diploma from the geriatrics training program where you matriculated.
  • Verification of Disadvantaged Background
    A school official must complete the Verification of Disadvantaged Background (PDF – 168 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 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 LRP, and eventually determine who receives awards.

Additionally, the NHSC SUD Workforce 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 SUD Workforce 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 SUD Workforce 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 LRP Contract & Service Obligation

When does your service obligation take effect?

Your NHSC SUD Workforce LRP service obligation begins once you sign the contract and the Secretary of HHS or their designee countersigns it.

Can you terminate your contract?

Once the Secretary (or designee) signs the contract, only the Secretary may terminate the contract. You must submit a written termination request and repay any funds that we paid you under the contract, by August 17 (or another date Congress authorizes).

Contact Us

Call 1-800-221-9393
(TTY: 1-877-897-9910)
M - F, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm ET
(except federal holidays)
Email us
BHW Customer Service Portal

Application & Program Guidance (APG)

Fact Sheets & Posters