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What is the NHSC Loan Repayment Program?


In 2021, I applied for and received a $50,000 service award to help repay my student loans as part of the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP) for completing two years of full-time service as a Licensed Clinical Social Work. I completed my service commitment in fall 2023 and my mission has been to tell as many mental health providers as possible about this opportunity in order to improve their financial wellness. Read on to find out more about NHSC LRP. 

What is the NHSC Loan Repayment Program? 

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP) is a U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) program that provides licensed care clinicians in eligible disciplines with loan repayment assistance in exchange for at least two years of service at an NHSC-approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area. If you are a licensed behavioral health provider, this program provides an opportunity for you to help pay off your student loan debt. 

Click here to read about my experience with the NHSC LRP in 2021-2023. 

What are the benefits to the NHSC LRP?

  • Service 
    • By accepting an NHSC LRP service award, you will have the opportunity to increase access to primary care services in underserved areas across the country. 
  • Flexible Service Options 
    • You have the option of applying to serve for a two-year full time clinical practice at an NHSC-approved site OR a two-year half-time clinical practice at an NHSC-approved site 
  • Loan Repayment 
    • You receive a financial award to help you repay outstanding, qualifying educational loans. The NHSC loan repayment funds are exempt from federal income and employment taxes. 
    • Full-time service award: Up to $75,000 for a two-year initial term for primary care medical providers and up to $50,000 for mental and oral health care providers 
    • Half-time service award: Up to $37,500 for a two-year initial term for primary care medical providers and up to $25,000 for mental and oral health care providers 
    • NEW this year is a $5000 award enhancement for clinicians who demonstrated Spanish-laguage proficiency. 
  • Complete Repayment of Qualifying Loans 
    • Once you complete the initial two-year service contract, you may be eligible to apply for additional loan repayment funds to pay off any remaining educational loans through renewable one-year continuation service contracts 

Are there any cons to applying to the NHSC LRP? 

There is no guarantee that your application will be approved for the NHSC LRP and/or a continuation contract. 

Who is eligible for the NHSC LRP? 

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, dental, or mental/behavioral health discipline and state in which you are applying to service 
  • A health professional in an eligible discipline with qualified student loan debt for education that led to your degree 
  • Working at an NHSC-approved site 

Which behavioral and mental health disciplines and specialties are eligible?

Disciplines Specialties 
– Allopathic (MD) 
– Osteopathic (DO) 
– Health Service Psychologists (HSP) 
– Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) 
– Psychiatric Nurse Specialties (PNS) 
– Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) 
– Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) 
– Nurse Practitioners (NP) 
– Physician Assistants (PA) 
– Mental Health & Psychiatry 

Check out the NHSC LRP website for more information on the application process, requirements, and guidance. If you are interested and eligible to apply for the NHSC LRP, make sure you apply by the deadline on May 9, 2024 at 7:30 pm ET. 

Read my post about My Experience with the NHSC LRP if you have questions and need more information. 

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Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m a licensed clinical social worker, entrepreneur, and wellness expert with a passion for helping others thrive. Join me as I offer practical tips and resources for fellow students, professionals, and anyone seeking wisdom on improving their well-being.

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