Many national, state, and local governments, as well as some private organizations, sponsor loan repayment programs. Typically after completing a residency, physicians are recruited to practice in designated health professional shortage areas. Benefits vary, but on average, participants provide service for two to four years (depending on the number of years they received support) in exchange for living stipends and repayment of educational loans.
Following are examples of service-based loan repayment programs available:
Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program
The IHS Loan Repayment Program awards up to $40,000 per year for repayment of student loans in exchange for serving an initial two years at an Indian health program site.
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program
This program offers 2 loan repayment opportunities: (1) for health professionals engaged in research addressing health disparities, and (2) for health professionals from financially disadvantaged backgrounds who conduct clinical research. During the program, participants must spend at least 50% of their time engaged in qualified research, and may receive up to $35,000/year.
National Health Services Corp Loan Repayment Program
Licensed health care providers may earn up to $50,000 toward student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment at an NHSC-approved site through the its loan repayment program.
NHSC Scholarships (for medical students)
Scholarships are offered to students dedicated to a career in primary care. The scholarship pays for tuition, fees, other educational costs, and a living stipend in return for a commitment to work at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved community.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Health Services Primary Care Loan Programs (for medical students)
Primary care loan programs provide long-term, low interest rate loans to full-time, financially needy students to pursue a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine. Medical students receiving a primary care loan must agree to enter and complete residency training in primary care within 4 years after graduation, and practice in primary care for the life of the loan.