Don’t Miss Out! NIH Loan Repayment Applications Now Being Accepted

Headshot of Ericka Boone

Ericka Boone, Ph.D., Director of NIH Division of Loan Repayment

 Applications are currently being accepted for the FY 2020 NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP) until November 15, 2019. And, there are some important changes to the program we would like to spotlight for you.

For over three decades, the NIH LRPs have helped recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. LRP award funds repay a recipient’s qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research at a domestic, nonprofit, or government entity. Priority research areas for the NIH LRPs include clinical, pediatrics, health disparities, contraception and infertility, as well as clinical research for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

And, now here are some exciting new changes we would like to highlight about the LRPs going forward…

Starting earlier this month, NIH raised the loan repayment award amount from a maximum of $35,000 to a maximum of $50,000 per year (NOT-OD-19-117). This change, as part of implementing the 21st Century Cures Act, means that over a two-year new award, talented researchers can now receive a maximum of up to a total of $100,000. LRP awards are also competitively renewable.

Raising the LRP award maximum amount – a recommendation first presented in the 2014 NIH Physician Scientist Workforce Working Group report – is an exciting step in further strengthening and stabilizing the future of the biomedical research workforce. Staggering levels of educational debt – acquired during years of education and training – is a significant and often-reported barrier to beginning and sustaining a research career. We recognize that this is not only a financial barrier to early career scientists, but also an impediment to research innovation and discovery. Through this step forward, we aim to help early career scientists tackle educational debt in a meaningful way and continue to proactively shape the next phase of the biomedical research workforce

Next, all NIH Institutes and Centers will now fund LRP awards in FY 2020 in priority minority health and health disparities research areas. Previously, only one NIH institute supported health disparity LRP awards, which unfortunately led to many high-quality applications going unfunded each year. Expanding participation across NIH in this LRP will now enable a larger proportion and wider array of ideas in health disparities research be funded.

Finally, Emerging and Gap Areas of Research will be added as a new LRP category starting with next year’s application cycle, with awards made in FY 2021. As part of this new program, we will look for high quality, mission-relevant research ideas designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research and expand critical research in emerging areas of human health. Please stay tuned as more information is to come.

We encourage you to apply today. The LRP Information Center is available to help answer questions at 866-849-4047 or You can also stay connected with us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates.


  1. I believe the article should be corrected to state that applications will be accepted through November 15 of 2019 – not 2020.

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