Important Things to Know about Loan Repayment Programs

We've compiled basic information on what health care providers should know about loan repayment programs, including:

Download "Navigating Loan Repayment Programs" as a PDF here


Loan Repayment Basics

  • Loan repayment terms to be familiar with
  • Where can I learn more about loan repayment programs in my state?
  • Additional loan repayment resources for physicians

Common Loan Repayment Programs

  • National Health Service Corps programs: NHSC Loan Repayment, NHSC Student to Service, NHSC Scholarship
  • Nurse Corps Programs: Nurse Corps Loan Repayment, Nurse Corps Scholarship
  • State Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP)
  • Other programs: Independent State Loan Repayment Programs, Public Service Loan Forgiveness,
  • Community-Based or Hospital/Health System-Based Loan Repayment Programs

3RNet's Loan Repayment Program Assessment Tool

  • Complete this fillable PDF to help determine if a loan repayment program is right for you based on common questions asked about loan repayment programs. 

Important Things to Know About Loan Repayment Programs:

  • Know that many programs—including National Health Service Corps—cannot be promised. There is an application process and things (such as HPSA scores) can change.
  • Most loan repayment programs approve funding for renewals first, then get into new applications. Funding for new applications typically starts at the highest HPSAs and continues until funding is depleted. Meaning that normally, the higher of a HPSA area you work in, the more likely your loan repayment application be approved.
  • Renewals are not guaranteed, however, once you are locked into a contract, you are locked in! For example, if the HPSA score of the facility you’re working at changes, it will not affect your current loan repayment, but could impact your ability to get a renewal.
  • Know the source of your funding. Program funding can be subject to budgeting.
  • Look at the history of the program.
  • Know the requirements for participation (reporting, etc.) for you AND your employer.
  • Virtually all programs are competitive—if recruiters and/or employers imply that such an award is guaranteed it probably is a community-based program, and these offers should be received in writing.
  • Penalties for defaulting are generally severe.
  • Federal and state loan repayment programs are restricted to U.S. citizens, but community-based or hospital/health system-based programs may welcome foreign medical graduates.
  • 3RNet members are excellent resources since they are aware of federal, state, and local programs, which is important since regulations for one program may prohibit the use of another.
  • Do not choose an opportunity just because it provides repayment. Choose an opportunity and consider repayment a bonus. A loan repayment program should not be the only factor when choosing a job.