NIH Loan Repayment Program 2021

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released five separate program announcements for the 2021 application cycle of the NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP).  The LRP may repay up to $50,000 of qualified student loan debt per year to outstanding health professionals who commit at least two years to conduct biomedical, behavioral, social, or clinical research, and who agree to engage in such research for an average of at least 20 hours per week based on a 40-hour work week. This includes most undergraduate, graduate, and medical school loans. Loan repayment benefits are in addition to the institutional salary received for research. LRP awards are based on an applicant's potential to build and sustain a research career.

The five program announcements are:

  • NOT-OD-20-133 – LRP for Clinical Researchers (LRP-CR)
  • NOT-OD-20-134 – Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (LRP-IDB)
  • NOT-OD-20-135 – LRP for Contraception and Infertility Research (LRP-CIR)
  • NOT-OD-20-136 – LRP for Pediatric Research (LRP-PR)
  • NOT-OD-20-137 – LRP for Health Disparities Research (LRP-HDR)

The NIH will begin accepting applications on September 1, 2020.  Applications are limited to one per year.  The deadline for applications is November 20, 2020, 8pm EST. Potential applicants should carefully read the general eligibility requirements, plus the requirements under each funding announcement. Questions concerning eligibility should be discussed with NIH staff. Find the appropriate contact at the Contact and Engage page.

Applications are submitted via the LRP website at The system will not accept applications until September 1st.  For applicants paid through Columbia University, Columbia University should be listed as their institution.  William Berger at should be listed as the Institutional Approver for Columbia University.

Applicants who are paid through Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. (RFMH) are to enter RFMH as their institution (NOT Columbia or NYSPI). Please use Kimberly Eyssen ( as the Institutional Approver.

Please note: Recipients of Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) support from an individual postdoctoral fellowship (F32) or an institutional research training grant (T32) will be eligible for loan repayment during the second year of NRSA support if a formal extension of the NRSA service payback is granted (see NIH Training Payback).  Concurrent fulfillment of LRP and NRSA service obligations is prohibited. You must request a deferral of NRSA payback service prior to acceptance into the LRP. A deferral form can be obtained by contacting the LRP Help Line at 866-849-4047.  It is important to note, though, that NRSA recipients may continue to receive their stipends from the NRSA.

All general questions should be directed to the LRP Information Center at (866) 849-4047 or

July 19, 2020