Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program

To assist in the recruitment and retention of professional registered nurses (RN) in approved critical shortage areas to increase access to quality health care by offering loan repayment in return for full-time service at an eligible health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Loan repayments for nursing education costs made to registered nurses working full-time in health care facilities with a critical shortage of nurses.

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 - Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program, Division of Applications and Awards, Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service (BCRS), Health Resources and Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9-36, Rockville, MD 20857.

Telephone: (301) 594-4130.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

The estimate for FY 07 is 553 and for FY 08 is 724.

Uses and Use Restrictions

The program offers Registered Nurses (RN) substantial economic assistance to repay their qualifying educational loans in exchange for full-time service at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses.

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) participants enter into a contract agreeing to provide full-time service at an approved Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) for two years.

In return, NELRP will pay 30 percent of the participant's total qualifying loan balance each year (total of 60 percent).

A participant may be eligible to amend his/her two-year NELRP contract to serve for a third (optional) year at a CSF.

If a participant works full-time for a third year in a CSF, the NELRP will pay an additional 25 percent of the participant's original qualifying loan balance, bringing the total to 85 percent of eligible loan balances.

Critical Shortage Facilities currently include, but are not limited to, Indian Health Service health centers, hospitals, Federal Hospitals, Federally Qualified health centers, Native Hawaiian health centers, rural health clinics, nursing homes, home health agencies, hospice programs, State or local public health departments, and ambulatory surgical centers.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Individuals who satisfy the following criteria are eligible to apply: (1) have received a baccalaureate or associate degree in nursing (or an equivalent degree), a diploma in nursing or a graduate degree in nursing; (2) have unpaid qualifying loans obtained for nursing education; (3) a U.S.

citizen, national or a permanent legal resident of the United States; (4) employed full-time (32 hours or more per week) at a critical shortage facility (CSF); (5) have a current unrestricted license in the State in which they intend to practice or be authorized to practice in the State under the Nurse Licensure Compact; and (6) submit a complete application, including a signed contract to work full-time as a registered or advanced practice nurse for 2 years at an eligible health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Beneficiaries include registered nurses who have received a diploma, an associate degree, a baccalaureate degree or a graduate degree in nursing from an accredited school of nursing.


Applicants should review the individual HRSA Guidance documents issued under this CFDA program for any required proof or certifications which must be submitted prior to or simultaneous with submission of an application package.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Grant applications and required forms for this program can be obtained from Please visit the website at to both find and apply for all Federal grant opportunities. All qualified applications will be forwarded to an objective review committee which will make funding recommendations to the Associate Administrator for Clinician Recruitment and Service. The Associate Administrator has the authority to make final selections for awards.

Award Procedures

Once a determination has been made as to who will receive an award, that individual will be accepted into the program. The individual will be notified in writing and be sent a copy of their signed contract of his/her acceptance.

Deadlines .


Public Health Service Act, Section 846(a), as amended, Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-205.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 3 to 9 months.




Renewals for the third year of service will be considered based on the availability of funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Loan repayments for 1 year of obligated service will be made no later than the end of the Federal fiscal year in which the individual completes such year of service.

Post Assistance Requirements


The employing critical shortage facility must complete and send to the NELRP a semi- annual certification that the participating nurse has engaged in a year of full-time continuous service as a registered nurse.

The certification includes an endorsement by an appropriate official of the facility.





Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $$19,000,000; FY 08 $16,804,789; and FY 09 est $16,750,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$20,000 to $150,000; $38,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

This program is subject to the provisions of 45 CFR Part 92 for State, local and tribal governments and 45 CFR Part 74 for institutions of higher education, hospitals, other nonprofit organizations and commercial organizations, as applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program, Division of Applications and Awards, Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service (BCRS), Health Resources and Services Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9-36, Rockville, MD 20857. Telephone: (301) 594-4130.

Headquarters Office

Grants Management Office: Rick Goodman, Director, Division of Grants Management Operations, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 11A-16, Rockville, MD 20857. Health Services Branch: (301) 443-2385; Research and Training Branch: (301) 443-3099; Government and Special Focus Branch: (301) 443-3288.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Funding preference is defined as the funding of a specific category of group of approved applicants ahead of other categories or groups of approved applicants. As provided in section 846(e) of the PHS Act, as amended, a funding preference is given to eligible applicants with the greatest financial need. Awards are made to the highest ranked applicants until funds are expended. Please review the HRSA Preview or BCRS website at for important information regarding funding preferences.

The Social Incubator North, a £2 million incubator fund spearheaded by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with the four Northern Social Enterprise Partnerships and Locality, is providing 0% interest loans to North of England’s social entrepreneurs.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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