Student Loan Repayment Programs Through the NIH

Dec. 21, 2017


Education is the foundation of biomedical research. However, a college education is expensive--particularly postgraduate education.

In exchange for a commitment to conduct biomedical or behavioral research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will repay up to $70,000 of student loan debt (over two years) per two-year contract through the NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs). Approximately 1,500 scientists benefit from $68 million the NIH invests each year through extramural LRPs. On average, nearly 40 percent of all new LRP applications are funded, and awards are competitively renewable (for a one- or two-year period) until all educational debt is repaid.

The objective of the NIH LRPs is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals to careers in biomedical or biobehavioral research. If you are a qualified health professional who engages in research relevant to NIH's mission at least 20 hours per week at a nonprofit or government institution, you may be eligible to apply for one of the five following extramural LRPs:

  • Clinical Research Extramural LRP: Intended to assist those conducting patient-oriented research with human subjects.
  • Pediatric Research Extramural LRP: Intended to assist those conducting research directly related to diseases, disorders, and other conditions in children.
  • Health Disparities Research Extramural LRP: Intended to assist those conducting research focusing on minority and other health disparity populations.
  • Contraception and Infertility Research Extramural LRP: Intended to assist those conducting research on conditions impacting the ability conceive and bear young; and,
  • Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Extramural LRP: Intended to assist clinical investigators from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The LRPs are unique programs with tremendous benefits to young researchers. To qualify, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, possess a doctoral-level degree (with the exception of the contraception and infertility research LRP), and have educational loan debt at or exceeding 20 percent of their annual institutional base salary.

Interested in applying? Here are some resources to assist you in doing so:

Visit for more details and to apply. For additional assistance, call or email the LRP Information Center at 866-849-4047 or Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. You can also follow the NIH Division of Loan Repayment on Twitter and Facebook for more information and cycle updates.

Additional Resources: