Indian Health Service Educational Loan Repayment

To insure that the Indian Health Service (IHS) has an adequate supply of trained health professionals for Indian health program facilities by providing for the repayment of educational loans for participants who agree (by written contract) to serve an applicable period of time at a facility IHS has designated
as a loan repayment priority site or in a designated specialty at a site with an appropriate position.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Physicians, nurses, mental health, and other health professionals who have agreed to provide full-time clinical services at an appropriate site for an applicable period of time (2 years) in return for repayment of their health profession education loans.

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.

Office - See Appendix IV of the Catalog for IHS Area Offices.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2005, 293 new and 236 continuing loan repayment awards were approved. In fiscal years 2006, as estimated 245 new and 240 continuing loan repayment awards will be approved; and in fiscal year 2007, an estimated 230 new and 220 continuing loan repayment awards will be approved.

Uses and Use Restrictions

This program will provide repayment of loans incurred for health professions educational expenses in exchange for service in a designated loan repayment priority site.

Recipients must agree by written contract to serve an applicable period of time in such a site; individuals who have conflicting service obligations may not participate in this program until those obligations are satisfied.

The minimum period of participation is 2 years.

Maximum payment to a program participant is $20,000 per year and an additional 20 percent of the award amount for tax liability.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible individuals must be enrolled: (1) In a course of study or program in an accredited institution, as determined by the Secretary, within any State and be scheduled to complete such course of study in the same year such as individual applies to participate in such program; (2) in an approved graduate training program in a health profession; (3) have a degree in health profession and a license to practice a health profession; (4) be eligible for, or hold, an appointment as a commissioned officer in the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS); (5) be eligible for selection for civilian service in the Regular or Reserve Corps of the PHS; (6) meet the professional standards for civil service employment in the IHS; (7) be employed with an Indian health program funded under Public Law 93-638, Indian Self-Determination, Title V of Public Law 94-437 and its amendments or the Buy Indian Act (25 U.S.C.

47); (8) submit an application to participate in the IHS Loan Repayment Program; and (9) sign and submit to the Secretary for Health and Human Services at the time of such application, a written contract agreeing to accept loan repayment of health professions educational loans and to serve for an applicable period of service at loan repayment priority site as determined by the Secretary.

The term "State" is defined in Section 331 (i)(4) of the PHS Act.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Health professionals who have Government (Federal, State, local) and commercial unpaid educational loans will benefit from this program.


Applicants must submit documentation of the following, as appropriate: (1) A transcript showing final year of study and full-time status; (2) a copy of a health professions degree; (3) a copy of health professions license; (4) a copy of transcript showing completion of graduate education; and (5) a copy of all loan documentation.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Applicants should request an application package, complete the required information, and return it to the Indian Health Service (IHS) Headquarters for review. (See Headquarters Office section below for address.) Once a completed application packet is received, it will be reviewed and the determination of award recipients will be made based upon merit. Award will be made on award dates published in the Federal Register.

Award Procedures

Upon determination of who will receive an award, that individual will be notified in writing by the program. The individual will in turn notify the program in writing of his/her acceptance. Awards will be contingent upon the score that an eligible Loan Repayment Program site receives and score is applied to the individual matched to that site. Upon arriving at his/her duty station, participant must submit proof of employment to the IHS Loan Repayment Program Office. Individuals can be matched to an IHS tribal, urban, or buy Indian site by an IHS area recruiter or the equivalent. Applicants needing to match to an IHS priority site should work with an IHS recruiter in the service area of their choice. When an award occurs, the Secretary will sign the contract and the individual will receive final notification of their award and a copy of their signed contract.


Contact Headquarters Office for application deadlines.


Indian Health Care Amendments of 1988, Section 108, Public Law 100-713, Public Laws 93-638 and 94-437.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 60 days.




If a program recipient satisfactorily completes his/her initial service and continues to have remaining eligible debt, he/she may extend his/her contract on a single-year basis, provided that funds are available and the participant continues to meet the eligibility requirements of the program. A recipient wishing to extend his/her contract must submit a formal request for extension and sign a new 1-year contract.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Payments will be made to the individuals of the program on an annual basis.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program participants must be certified annually as performing at an eligible site in an eligible full-time position.


Not applicable.


The IHS will maintain records of applicants and participants for 3 years after information of expenditure reports are completed.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $16,923,500; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$3,000 to $48,000 for a 2-year obligation; $43,315.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Authorization is contained in Public Law 100-713, as amended by Public Law 102-573; Indian Health Service Educational Loan Repayment Program Information Bulletin; Notice of Availability of Funds.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Appendix IV of the Catalog for IHS Area Offices.

Headquarters Office

Program Contact: Ms. Jackie Sanitago, Chief, Loan Repayment Program, Indian Health Service, 801 Thompson Avenue, Suite 120, Rockville, MD 20852. Telephone: (301) 443-3396. Grants Management Contact: Ms. Kimberly Pendleton, Senior Grants Management Officer, Division of Grants Operations, Indian Health Service, 801 Thompson Avenue, TMP, Suite 360, Rockville, MD 20852. Telephone: (301) 443-5204. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The IHS defined "Health Profession" to mean family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatric medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, podiatric medicine, nursing, public health nursing, dentistry, psychiatry, osteopathy, optometry, pharmacy, psychology, public health, social work, marriage and family therapy, chiropractic medicine, environmental health and engineering, and allied professions. Other factors that will be employed to determine which applicant is selected for awards include: (a) An applicant's length of current employment in the IHS, tribal or urban program; (b) availability for service earlier than other applicants (first come, first served); and (c) date the completed application was received.

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