The Indian Health Service is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, serving as a rural-based, primary care federal health system that focuses on care for the nation’s American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program awards up to $20,000 per year for the repayment of your qualified student loans in exchange for an initial two-year service obligation to practice full time at an Indian health program site.
Table of Content
- What is Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
- General Program Requirements for IHS-LRP
- Terms and Qualifying Loans
- IHS-LRP Payment Information
- Debt Not Eligible for Repayment
- Breach of Contract
What is the Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) provides health care professionals with a unique opportunity to practice within an interdisciplinary healthcare team environment while receiving loan repayment for their qualified education loans. By choosing an Indian health career, your skills will make a difference in the lives of an appreciative, but medically underserved patient population. Sometimes blending Western medicine with traditional practices, our health care personnel fulfill critical roles in clinics, hospitals and public health outreach programs by providing comprehensive care to American Indian and Alaska Native individuals, families and communities.
General Program Requirements for IHS-LRP
In order to qualify for this program, you must be a health professional practicing in specific health profession disciplines, you must be willing to commit to an initial two-year service obligation while working in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.Opportunities are based on staffing needs and the availability of funds. Distribution of LRP awards are based on a ranking system created to address these needs. Our system identifies hiring priorities for those Indian health program facilities with the greatest staffing needs in specific health professional disciplines. American Indians and Alaska Natives receive priority consideration when all factors are equal between applicants.
Worried about your college tuition? Find the best student loans for you
Terms and Qualifying Loans
The LRP repays qualified education loans based on the following terms:
The LRP awards up to $20,000 per year, plus 20 percent in federal tax support, to participants who sign a contract agreeing to a two-year service commitment.
New loan repayment awards are made in two annual installments; the second installment will not be deposited until a participant’s employment verification is submitted.
Employees are included as part of the award, with payment made directly to the Internal Revenue Service. Participants are required to repay their total LRP funding, including the withheld FICA to their lender.
Qualified loans include government and commercial loans used to pay for an education related to the health professions discipline identified on the participant’s signed LRP contract.
The LRP pays directly to the participant the principal, interest and related expenses incurred for qualified education loans.
Only the education portion, as described above, of a consolidated loan, is eligible under the LRP.
IHS-LRP Payment Information
All new LRP participants currently employed by an Indian health facility will receive their first LRP payment within 120 days from the date the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services delegate signs the LRP contract.
New LRP participants who are not currently employed at an Indian health facility will receive their first payment within 120 days from their first day of practice or their contract date. New LRP participant payments are made in two annual installments the second installment will not be deposited until a participant’s employment verification is submitted.
Debt Not Eligible for Repayment
The following debt is not eligible for repayment using LRP funds:
Debt due to the default of a service commitment incurred under federal and state programs.
Any credit card debt.
Loans from other than approved government and commercial sources.
Loans or portions of loans obtained in pursuit of a health profession education different from the one documented on your signed LRP contract.
Eligibility & Application Information
The program is open to all physicians who are currently licensed or are applying for a license, and who have completed a medical residency or fellowship training program that makes them eligible for board certification. The LRP does give priority consideration to American Indian and Alaska Native applicants.
Health Professions Eligibility is as follows:
Medicine: allopathic and osteopathic
Other Health Professions
Looking to refinance your student loans? Choose from our list of best companies to refinance your student loans
Breach of Contract
Once you have begun receiving payments from the LRP, you will be considered in breach of contract and placed in default if you:
Fail to begin or to complete your service commitment.
Change to a position other than the position on your signed LRP contract without prior LRP branch office approval.
Transfer to another Indian health facility without prior LRP branch office approval.
Are terminated because of unsatisfactory performance.
The burden of debt should not hinder you from becoming a Health Professional, you can tackle this burden by exploring different repayment programs and check your eligibility for repayment. It is advice to know all your options before taking an informed decision.
Student loan repayment is an important phase for every borrower, it is advised to have an indept knowledge about the various student loan repayment options available so that you can take advantage of what they have to offer and build your credibility as a borrower.