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National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers

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This federal aid program is managed by:

National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services


To attract and retain health professionals to clinical research careers by offering educational loan repayment for participants who agree by written contract to engage in clinical research in a qualifying nonprofit institution for a minimum of 2 years.

Funding obligations:

(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 09 $40,286,759; FY 10 est $45,000,000; FY 11 est $44,000,000

Uses and Use Restrictions:

To provide repayment of extant educational loans incurred by health professionals engaged in clinical research in a qualified nonprofit institution or Federal or other domestic government agency (State, local), and in research that is supported by a nonprofit foundation, nonprofit professional association, or other nonprofit entity, or a Federal or other domestic government agency (State, local). Recipients must agree by written contract to engage in such research, initially, for a minimum of 2 years; individuals who have conflicting service obligations may not participate in this program until those obligations are satisfied or have been deferred during the period of program service. Participants may apply for and the Secretary may grant extension contracts for one-year or two-year periods, as determined by the Secretary, if the individual continues to engage in qualifying research. Renewal applications are competitively reviewed and the submission of a renewal application does not assure the award of benefits. The maximum program benefit is $35,000 per year in loan repayments and $13,650 per year in Federal tax reimbursements, plus discretionary State and local tax reimbursements. Recipients must have qualified educational debt in excess of 20 percent of their annual salary, which is referred to as their 'debt threshold.' An amount equal to half of this 'debt threshold' will not be repaid by NIH and must be paid by the program participants.

Examples of Funded Projects:

Not Applicable.

Program Accomplishments:

Fiscal Year 2010: No Current Data Available Fiscal Year 2011: NIH projects that 932 awards will be made in fiscal year 2011. Fiscal Year 2012: No Current Data Available

Types of Assistance:

Direct Payments for Specified Use

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:

For initial two-year contract periods, loan repayments awards may range from $2,298 to $70,000; Tax reimbursements range from $65 to $15,146. The average cost which includes loan and tax reimbursement is $42,457.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:

Assistance is available for a minimum 2-year period. One or 2-year continuation contracts are available. Payments will be made directly to lenders, following each quarter of the participant's satisfactory service, unless otherwise agreed upon by the participant and Secretary of Health and Human Services. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: check with the program office.

Applicant Eligibility:

(1) A U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of the United States; (2) Have a Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., Pharm.D., D.C., N.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution; (3) Have total qualifying educational loan debt equal to or in excess of 20 percent of their institutional base salary on the date of program eligibility (the effective date that a loan repayment contract has been executed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or designee); (4) Conduct qualifying research supported by a domestic nonprofit foundation, nonprofit professional association, or other nonprofit institution, or a U.S. or other government agency (State or local); (5) Engage in qualified clinical research. Clinical research is patient-oriented clinical research conducted with human subjects, or research on the causes and consequences of disease in human populations involving material of human origin (such as tissue specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator or colleague directly interacts with human subjects in an outpatient or inpatient setting to clarify a problem in human physiology, pathophysiology or disease, or epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes research or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials; (6) Engage in qualified clinical research for at least 50 percent of their time, i.e., not less than 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week; (7) Agree to conduct research for which funding is not prohibited by Federal law, regulation, or HHS/NIH policy, and in accordance with applicable Federal, State and local law (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations); and (8) Sign and submit to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, at the time of application submission, a contract agreeing to engage in clinical research in a qualifying institution for a minimum of 2 years. Full-time employees of Federal Government agencies are ineligible to apply for LRP benefits. Part-time Federal employees who engage in qualifying research as part of their nonfederal duties for at least 20 hours per week based on a 40 hour week, and who are not compensated as a Federal employee for their research, are eligible to apply for loan repayment if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Beneficiary Eligibility:

Health professionals who are interested in pursuing clinical research careers and who have unpaid educational loans will benefit from this program.

Award Procedure:

The NIH Institutes and Centers approve or disapprove applications for participation in the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers. When an Institute or Center approves an application, the NIH Office of Loan Repayment notifies individuals of their award amount, provides a repayment schedule that covers the period of participation, and a Loan Repayment Program Contract is executed by an authorized representative of the Secretary, DHHS. If the approved research assignment changes, or if the employing research institution changes, the participant must have their continued eligibility re- certified by the Institute or Center which approved their application. Contact the NIH via e-mail at LRP@NIH.GOV for further guidance.

Contact Info for Headquarters Office:

Stephen J. Boehlert, 6011 Executive Blvd., Suite 206, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 Email: Phone: (301) 451-4465.

Website Address: .

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