News Release

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

NIH Supports Research Careers by Repaying Student Loan Debt

Programs Help Increase the Pipeline of Scientists Addressing the Diseases and Disorders Affecting the Nation

NIH is now accepting applications for its extramural Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs), and is letting applicants know through it awareness-raising campaign slogan that "You do the research. NIH will repay your student loans."

The LRPs repay up to $35,000 of educational loan debt annually for individuals who commit to conducting at least two years of qualified biomedical or behavioral research at a nonprofit institution of their choice. The annual application cycle started Sept. 1 and will continue until Dec. 1, 2008, for the five extramural LRPs: Clinical Research, Pediatric Research, Health Disparities Research, Contraception and Infertility Research, and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds.

"The purpose of these programs is to recruit and retain highly-qualified health professionals as scientific investigators," explained Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D., NIH deputy director for extramural research. "Expanding the pool of researchers is critical to the health of our nation, and the LRPs play an important role in researcher retention." Participants receive loan repayment benefits and tax offsets, which serve as one means of helping them remain in the scientific workforce.

Each year, some 1,600 research scientists benefit from the more than $70 million NIH invests in their careers through the extramural LRPs. On average, approximately 40 percent of all new LRP applications are funded.

Applicants often learn about the LRPs from colleagues, faculty, and mentors, and many applicants report that having a mentor was an important factor in developing a successful application. To qualify for the LRPs, applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree (except for the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP); devote at least 20 hours per week to research funded by a domestic nonprofit organization or federal, state, or local government entity; have educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20 percent of their institutional base salary; and be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.

Visit for more details and to apply.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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