Public Release: 

NIH student loan repayment awards increase by 66 percent

NIH/National Institutes of Health

BETHESDA, MARYLAND -- The National Institutes of Health reported today that it has awarded student loan repayment contracts to 1,200 health researchers across the nation in Fiscal Year 2003.

This represents a 66% increase in the number of awards over FY 2002, the first year NIH implemented the programs. The 1,197 new contracts for FY 2003 totaled $63.3 million. Loan repayment is competitively awarded to health professionals who commit to engage in research careers.

Over half of the awards were to researchers who completed their doctoral degree within the past five years. More than half of the awardees hold M.D. degrees; more than a third, Ph.D. degrees; 8%, M.D./Ph.D. degrees; and 5%, other doctoral degrees.

NIH can repay up to $35,000 annually of their qualified educational loans, and covers all taxes related to the payments. The NIH Loan Repayment Programs are a vital component of our nation's efforts to attract health professionals to careers in clinical, pediatric, health disparities, and contraceptive and infertility research. NIH is now accepting applications on line at The online application closes Dec. 31, 2003. Participants must have a doctoral-level degree, devote at least 50% of their time to research funded by a nonprofit or government entity. U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or U.S. nationals may apply.

"The staggering educational debt incurred by our nation's brightest researchers, especially physician-scientists, has led many to compromise their dreams and abandon research careers." says Ruth Kirschstein, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Director, NIH. "The LRPs help remove that hurdle," she says.

The five NIH Loan Repayment Programs are the Clinical Research LRP, Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds LRP, Contraception and Infertility Research LRP, Health Disparities Research LRP, and Pediatric Research LRP.


Clinical Research LRP
FY 2002: 393
FY 2003: 732

Pediatric Research LRP
FY 2002: 168
FY 2003: 298

Health Disparities Research LRP
FY 2002: 112
FY 2003: 121

Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds
FY 2002: 41
FY 2003: 33

Contraception and Infertility Research LRP
FY 2002: 9
FY 2003: 13

Total FY2003: 723, Total FY2003: 1197

A graphic depicting the rise of NIH Loan Repayment Awards by 66% in FY2003 is available at


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