December 10, 2021
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
This notice provides program-specific information for the Intramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. Additional detailed information about each LRP is provided at https://www.lrp.nih.gov/eligibility-programs#programs and www.lrp.nih.gov/apply.
Applicants to the Intramural Disadvantaged Backgrounds LRP must hold, as a minimum, a two-year research appointment at the NIH. The repayment amount is equal to one-quarter of the eligible educational debt per year (up to $50,000). To receive the maximum repayment of $100,000 for a two-year new award, an applicant must have at least $200,000 in eligible educational debt at the contract start date.
Intramural LRP applications will be accepted from January 3 until March 15, 2022. All LRP applications must be submitted electronically using the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST), https://public.era.nih.gov/assist/.
The objective of the CR-LRP is to recruit and retain highly qualified NIH clinical investigators coming from an environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and ability required to enroll in, and graduate from, a health professional school, or a family with an annual income below low-income thresholds.
An individual from a disadvantaged background is defined as an individual who comes from (1) an environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and ability required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school; or (2) comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels in the Federal Register. An applicant must demonstrate his/her disadvantaged background status under the above definition by submitting: (a) a written statement from the individual's former health professions school(s) that indicates that he/she qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance during attendance; or (b) documentation that he/she received any of the following financial aid: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) or Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program; or (c) documentation that he/she received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.
Changes in LRP Application
The following items are new for the application period that begins on January 3, 2022.
No applicant will be excluded from consideration on the basis of age, race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other non-merit factors.
Eligibility criteria to participate in the Intramural LRP:
The following individuals are ineligible for participation in the Intramural LRP:
The NIH intends to commit approximately $5 million annually to fund Intramural LRP awards.
Annual Receipt, Peer Review, and AwardSchedule: Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be considered. Applications that are complete and eligible will be forwarded for processing.
: Application Materials: The following information is furnished by applicants or others on behalf of applicants using the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST), https://public.era.nih.gov/assist/, and must be submitted from January 3 through March 15, 5:00 p.m. EST
Following the instructions in the LRP Application Instruction Guide [link], applicants submit the following:
Research mentors submit the following:
Referees/Recommenders submit the following:
Information is obtained from individuals who can comment on the research skills and the abilities of the applicant. Reference letters are expected to include the following information about the applicant:
IC Coordinators submit a certification that:
Renewal Award Applications
Loan repayment awardees who wish to apply for a renewal award should do so no earlier than the year before their current award ends. Intramural LRP renewal awards are available for one-year periods and are based upon the same criteria applied to an application for a new award plus two additional criteria: an assessment of research accomplishments and development of the applicant as an independent investigator. A detailed explanation or description of research accomplishments during the most recent award period is required. Progress toward development as an independent investigator is a major factor in granting a renewal award. LRP policy allows a thirty-seven-month period (starting the day after the last day of the most recent LRP award) for a renewal award application. After thirty-seven months, the Division of Loan Repayment views a submission of any application as an application for a new award, regardless of whether an unsuccessful application was submitted during the thirty-seven month period. Renewal awards are competitive and submission of an application for a renewal award does not assure the applicant of a renewal award.
Applications for the Intramural LRP are evaluated against the following criteria:
2. Research Training Environment
3. Research Progress (For Renewal Applicants only)
Program Administration Details
Under the LRP, the NIH will repay a portion of the extant qualified educational loan debt incurred to pay for the researcher's undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professional school educational expenses. It is the responsibility of the LRP awardee to notify the Division of Loan Repayment immediately if there is a pending change in employment, research focus, or extended leave. Failure to fulfill the terms of the LRP contract will result in termination of the LRP award and could be considered a breach of contract. The penalty for a breach of contract is $7,500 for every month of unfulfilled service or $31,000, whichever is higher.
LRP service obligation and NRSA service payback cannot overlap, and permission to defer NRSA payback must be obtained prior to receipt of LRP funding.
The NIH will repay lenders for the extant principal, interest, and related expenses (such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans) of educational loans from a U.S. government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution, such as banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, and other financial or credit institutions which are subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as lending institutions by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business, obtained by applicants for the following:
Loan repayments are made directly to lenders, following receipt of (1) the Research Supervisor's verification of completion of the prior period of research, (2) the IC coordinator’s verification of completeness of the prior period of service, and (3) lender verification of the crediting of prior loan repayments, including the resulting account balances and current account status. LRP award recipients will also be required to submit quarterly verification of continued employment and qualified research. The NIH will repay loans in the following order:
1. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
2. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education:
3. Loans made or guaranteed by a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States
4. Loans made by academic institutions
5. Private (Alternative) Educational Loans:
The following loans are NOT repayable under this program:
1. Loans not obtained from a U.S. or other government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution such as loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals, and non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loans)
2. Loans for which eligibility documentation (current account statement, and promissory note or lender disclosure statement) is not provided
3. Consolidation loans that include a loan not eligible for repayment, such as loans obtained from an unqualified lender, loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or child), loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or parent), or non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loan)
4. Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed a reasonable level as determined by the standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made
5. Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under a program where an incurred service obligation converts to a loan upon failure to satisfy the service obligation
6. Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their payment schedule
7. Parent PLUS loans
8. Loans that are paid-in-full
9. Loans obtained after the start date of the first NIH Loan Repayment Program award (e.g., a promissory note signed after the start date of an LRP award). This provision does not apply to qualifying loan consolidations.
Before the commencement of loan repayment, or during lapses in loan repayments, due to administrative complications, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), or a break in service, LRP awardees are wholly responsible for making payments or other arrangements that maintain their loans current, such that increases in either principal or interest do not occur. Penalties and/or fees assessed to awardees failing to maintain their current payment status may not be considered for reimbursement.
LRP payments are NOT retroactive. Loan repayment will commence after a loan repayment award begins, expected to be no earlier than October 1 and no later than September 30 annually.
Required Federal Citations
Awards are made pursuant to Section 2022 of the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255), which amended Section 487A of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 288-1) to consolidate all NIH Intramural Loan Repayment Programs into a single Intramural Loan Repayment Program while retaining Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds as a subcategory.
Additional detailed information about the NIH Loan Repayment Programs is provided at https://www.lrp.nih.gov/index.php/eligibility-programs. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with their supervisor, their IC coordinator, and/or the Director of the Intramural Loan Repayment Program: https://www.lrp.nih.gov/contact-engage. The LRP Information Center is also available by phone at (866) 849-4047 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.