Washington Update

NIH Launches New Loan Repayment Program

By: Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm
Thursday, July 22, 2021

National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the newest Loan Repayment Program (LRP) for Research in Emerging Areas Critical to Human Health (REACH). This new LRP allows NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) to determine LRP eligibility based on emerging areas of research that fit within their respective priority areas. Previously, all LRPs were heavily focused on clinical research. Now, ICs are able to support clinician-scientists engaging in research at any stage—from basic science to late-stage translational science.

Overall, the LRP aims to “recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into research careers to pursue major gaps in biomedical and biobehavioral research and/or expand research in emerging areas critical to human health.” Eligible individuals can receive up to $50,000 per year to help repay educational loans. New extramural LRP awards are two years; renewals can be one or two years. There is no limit on the number of renewal awards so long as the applicant has at least $2,000 of eligible educational debt at the contract start date. Successful renewal award applicants can potentially receive subsequent awards until their entire balance of qualified educational debt is repaid.

The next cycle of LRP applications begins September 1 and ends November 18. Potential applicants to the REACH program are encouraged to refer to the participating ICs’ priority statements and contact the appropriate REACH LRP liaison.