National Institutes of Health Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Research Loan Repayment Program

To help assure an adequate supply of trained researchers (physicians, registered nurses and scientists) with respect to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by providing for the repayment of educational loans for participants who agree, by written contract,
to primarily engage in AIDS research as employees of the NIH.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Studies on the effects of gp120, TAT, and TNF-alpha on cell activation and gene expression in human endothelial cells in primary culture.

Identification and characterization of cellular subtypes that comprise the immune system both in healthy human subjects and in subjects with diseases such as HIV infection.

Development of murine models related to T-cell regeneration; and treatment of HIV patients infected with multi-drug resistant TB.

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Website Address

Program Accomplishments

Nine awards were made in fiscal year 2007. NIH projects that 13 awards will be made in fiscal year 2008 & 2009.

Uses and Use Restrictions

This program will provide partial repayment of educational loans incurred by physicians, registered nurses and scientists engaged, as employees of the NIH, in AIDS research.

Recipients must agree by written contract to engage in such research, initially, for a minimum of 2 years; individuals who have conflicting service obligations may not participate in this program until those obligations are satisfied or have been deferred during the period of program service.

Continuation contracts are available, dependent upon the level of debt and continued involvement in AIDS research, and are issued for one-year periods.

Maximum program benefit is $35,000 per year in loan repayments and $13,650 per year in Federal tax reimbursements.

Recipients must have qualified educational debt in excess of 20 percent of their annual NIH salary, which is referred to as their "debt threshold." An amount equal to half of this "debt threshold" will not be repaid by NIH and must be paid by the Program participants.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible applicants must: (1) Be a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States; (2) possess a M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.V.M., D.P.M., A.D.N., B.S.N., or equivalent degree, or hold the position of Physician Assistant; 3) have educational debt, which results from governmental or commercial loans obtained to support their undergraduate and/or graduate education in excess of 20 percent of their annual NIH salary (exclusive of special allowances of any kind) on the program eligibility date; 4) be appointed under any temporary or permanent employment mechanism in the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, so long as their employment has the potential to last a minimum of 2 years; 5) not have an existing service obligation to Federal, State, or other entities, unless deferred during period of program service; 6) submit an application to participate in the Loan Repayment Program; and 7) submit to the Secretary for Health and Human Services, at the time of application, a signed contract agreeing to engage in AIDS research at the NIH for a minimum of 2 years.

Beneficiary Eligibility

AIDS researchers who have unpaid educational loans will benefit from this program.


Applicants must submit documentation of the following, as appropriate: 1) Copies of loan applications and agreements from governmental or commercial educational loans that are being considered for repayment; 2) copies of the standard student budget from schools attended during period when debt was incurred; and 3) other documentation as required by law.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Applicants must access and submit the Loan Repayment Program application electronically via the website; seek qualified employment with a sponsoring Institute or Center (IC) of the NIH. Once an application has been submitted, the Loan Repayment Committee reviews it at a regularly scheduled review meeting and a determination of loan repayment recipients is made.

Award Procedures

The NIH Loan Repayment Committee (LRC) will review, rank, and approve or disapprove applications recommended for program participation by each IC. Applications approved for program participation by the LRC will be notified by the Program Director. The Secretary, or her/his designee, will sign the service contract of program participants, provide a copy to the participant, and notice of the amount of approved loan repayment.


Review the Loan Repayment Program website, or contact the Headquarters Office listed below for the application deadlines.


Public Health Service Act, Part 68, Section 487A, Public Law 100-607, as amended; Public Law 103-43, 42 U.S.C. 288-l, 102 Stat. 3148, as amended, Public Law 105-392.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The approximate time for approval/disapproval is three months.


Employees of the NIH who are not approved as a result of this process may ask for reconsideration through the standard appeal procedures available to NIH employees.


At the conclusion of the initial two-year contract, participants may apply and be recommended for subsequent one-year continuation contracts under the application and approval procedures specified above.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Assistance is available for a minimum 2-year period. One-year, continuation contracts are available for individuals whose educational debt exceeds that maximum repayable amount for 2-years. Payments are made directly to lenders, following each quarter of the participant's satisfactory service, unless otherwise agreed upon by the participant and Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program participants must be certified quarterly as to having satisfactorily performed their research assignments.




The NIH will maintain applicant records for 3 years after rejection and participant records for 6 years after completion of final service obligation.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Loan Repayments) FY 07 $193,531; FY 08 est $720,000; and FY 09 est $720,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

For initial 2-year contracts, loan repayment awards may range from $4,000 to $70,000; Tax reimbursements range from $1,977 to $34,598. The average contract cost which includes loan and tax reimbursement is $53,162. There were no new awards in FY 2007; there were nine renewal awards.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Pertinent information is contained in Public Law 100-607, Public Law 103-43, Public Law 105-392; Federal Register, Volume 54, No. 215, November 8, 1989; NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23, No. 24, June 24, 1994; Federal Register, Volume 56, No. 150, August 5, 1991; Section 487A of Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 288-l). Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is pending.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Program and Business Contact: Patricia A. Cole, Ph.D., Director, Intramural Loan Repayment Programs, National Institutes of Health, Building 2, Room 2E18, 2 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-0230. LRP Helpline Telephone: (866) 849-4047. Facsimile: 866-849-4046. Email:

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Applicants are approved for participation in the NIH Loan Repayment Program for AIDS Research after the LRC determines that the applicant will conduct qualified AIDS research. LRC approval, in part, is based upon the appropriateness of the research assignment to qualified AIDS research, the scientific merit of the research, and the credentials of the applicant as they relate to performing qualified AIDS research.

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