NIMHD Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

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NIMHD participates in NIH's Extramural Loan Repayment Program (LRP), one of two programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research careers. These programs invest in early stage investigators with financial supports for their educational debt, so they can continue working on cutting edge research and health discoveries as they pursue becoming an independent NIH investigator.

The LRP repays up to $50,000 per year of an investigator’s eligible educational debt. Typically, loans from college-, graduate-, and doctorate-level education are eligible for repayment.

During the program, participants must spend at least 50% of their time, or 20 hours per week, engaged in research at a domestic, nonprofit, or government entity. New Extramural LRP awards are for two years. Extramural LRP renewal awards can be for one or two years.

Since its inception, the NIMHD LRP has repaid the educational loans of more than 2,200 doctorate-level health professionals in a range of disciplines, including epidemiology, psychology, social science, medicine, public health, and health policy. LRP recipients have conducted research on a wide variety of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, asthma, obesity, and kidney disease. Their investigations have examined biological, lifestyle, environmental, social, economic, institutional, cultural, and family influences on health disparities and interventions to address them.

NIMHD participates in three of the six Extramural NIH LRP award categories:

Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR)
For investigators conducting basic, clinical, social, behavioral, or health services research relevant to one or more of the NIH-designated populations that experience health disparities.
Extramural Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (LRP-IDB)

For investigators conducting clinical research who come from:

  • A family with an annual income below low-income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
  • -or-
  • An environment that inhibited them from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and ability required to enroll in, and graduate from, a health professional school.
Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Research in Emerging Areas Critical to Human Health (LRP-REACH)

For investigators pursuing major gaps in biomedical and biobehavioral research or expanding research in emerging areas critical to human health. Emerging areas, identified by participating Institutes, are considered new areas of biomedical and biobehavioral research that are ripe for targeted investments that can have a transformative relevance and impact for years to come.

General Eligibility

Citizenship - Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of the U.S. by the LRP award start date.

Qualifying Degree - Possess an M.D., Ph.D., DrPH, PharmD, PsyD, D.O., DDS, DMD, DPM, DC, ND, OD, DVM, or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution.

Employment - Applicants must be employed by and conduct qualifying research supported by a domestic nonprofit foundation (e.g., universities), professional nonprofit association or other nonprofit institution, or a U.S. government agency (federal, state, or local).

Part-time federal employees (< 50%) who are (a) not conducting research as a federal employee, and (b) whose funding source is from a domestic nonprofit source, are eligible to apply for the LRP if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

Qualifying Educational Debt - Applicants must have total qualifying educational debt equal to or in excess of 20% of their institutional annual base salary at the time of the award. Institutional annual base salary is the annual amount the organization pays for the individual's appointment, whether the time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Institutional annual base salary excludes any income that an applicant may earn outside of the duties of the organization. This criterion is not applicable to applicants for a renewal award.

See full details on eligibility on the NIH LRP website.

How to Apply

The application period is annually from September 1 through the third Thursday in November.

Review the application process interactive roadmap

Tips for completing a competitive LRP application

For additional assistance, call or email the LRP Information Center at 866-849-4047 or

LRP Online Application System (OAS)

Technical Assistance

Still have questions? Make an appointment with NIMHD LRP staff.

Typical office hours:

  • Mondays: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Wednesdays: 3 – 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Fridays: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET


Page updated Nov. 20, 2023