The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs (LRP) Help Close the Financial Gap for Researchers
A college education is expensive. For postgraduate biomedical and behavioral researchers, the cost of an education can easily exceed $200,000. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) support scientific researchers by mitigating the burdens of student loan debt – the LRPs repay up to $70,000 of student loan debt over the course of a new, two-year contract. The application cycle will open this year on September 1 – and close on November 17 – so now is the right time for interested candidates to think about applying.
To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and hold a doctoral or equivalent degree from an accredited institution (there is an exception for the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP). LRPs are awarded in five areas:
- Clinical Research LRP: Patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects;
- Pediatric Research LRP: Research that is directly related to diseases, disorders, and other conditions in children;
- Health Disparities Research LRP: Research that focuses on health disparities populations;
- Contraception and Infertility Research LRP: Research on conceiving and bearing young; and,
- Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds LRP: Available to clinical investigators from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Applicants must apply for one of these five programs, the one that best fits with their research goals. Researchers can apply as early as the final year of medical/graduate school and are encouraged to apply again if not successful on their first application.
Researchers who receive an initial LRP award can apply for subsequent, competitive renewal awards until their qualified educational loans are repaid entirely. In FY 2013, the overall success rate for LRP applicants was approximately 50%; the success rate for new applicants was 39% and the success rate for renewal applicants was 67%.
Because the application requires several elements, such as a research statement, loan information, and recommendations, applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the LRP website ahead of the application period to learn what loan documents they need to gather and how to prepare and respond to the various online forms. The application will be accessible online starting September 1 at www.lrp.nih.gov. Applicants can call the LRP Information Center Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST at 866-849-4047 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.