Presentation on theme: "NIH Loan Repayment Programs An Overview Division of Loan Repayment Office of Extramural Research/Office of Extramural Programs National Institutes of Health."— Presentation transcript:
1 NIH Loan Repayment Programs An Overview Division of Loan Repayment Office of Extramural Research/Office of Extramural Programs National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesGood Morning/ Good AfternoonWelcome!I’m happy to be here to talk about the Loan Repayment Programs.I know most of you are in the process of applying and I will give you some advice and some tips on how to write a successful LRP application.First I am going to tell you a little bit about the program.Milton J. Hernández, Ph.D.DirectorNIH Division of Loan RepaymentOEP, OER, OD, NIH1
2 PurposeThe NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a vital part of our Nation's efforts to attract and retain highly qualified health professionals.Benefit SummaryUp to $35,000 per year in educational loan repayment depending on debt levelCoverage of Federal, state and local taxes resulting from the NIH LRP2 Year initial contracts with 1 or 2 year competitive extension contractsPortable contracts (subject to NIH approval of qualifying non-profit environment and research project)Why the LRPs?The main purpose is to keep young scientists in research careers by helping them repay their educational loans. When Congress authorized the LRPs they were concerned that many young scientists were leaving research because they had incredibly high educational debt. This was particularly true for MDs, where it is not uncommon for an individual to owe $150 to $200,000 or more. Without assistance, it is quite difficult for an individual to stay in a research track.The NIH LRPs offer an initial two-year contract and will pay up to $35,000 per year for two years, depending on how much debt a researcher owes. If your debt is $150,000 or less, the LRP usually pays about 50 percent of your debt in the initial contract.LRP awards are taxable, so the award also includes additional funding to cover most of the Federal, state and local taxes that result from the award. LRP makes a corresponding tax payment of 39% to the IRS on the recipient’s behalf. This should cover most of the taxes, but researchers may be responsible for paying some of their state and local taxes.Once your initial award ends, you may apply for a competitive extension (AKA renewal) contract. The NIH Institutes and Centers may choose to grant a one or a two-year extension.Finally, subject to NIH approval, the contracts may be portable if you change research projects and/or institutions.So you have an idea of your chances to receive an award, we receive about 3,400 applications per year and fund approximately half of them (between new and renewals). In FY 2010, our extramural LRP budget was $75 million..
3 Eligibility Doctoral degree (M.D., Ph.D., or equivalent) EXCEPTION: Eligibility for the Contraception and Infertility ResearchFunding for research at any domestic nonprofit, university, or government organization**NIH grant support is NOT required**Educational loan debt must be at least 20% of applicant’s annual salaryMust conduct qualifying research for at least 20 hours/weekU.S. Citizen, U.S. national or permanent residentNow, let’s talk about eligibility:A doctoral degree is required for participation in extramural LRPs, with one exception:The Contraception and Infertility Research LRP is also open to nurses, physician assistants, graduate students, and postgraduate research fellows training in the health professions.We do not require that you or your research be supported by an NIH grant. However you must have at least one source of funding and it must be from a domestic non-profit source.Other requirements:Your outstanding debt must be equal or greater than 20% of your base salaryYou must conduct qualifying research for at least 20 hrs/week (what we consider half-time)And you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident.33
4 Qualifying Loans and Repayment: 1 of 2 NIH will repay:Educational loans backed by the U.S. GovernmentEducational loans from accredited U.S. academic institutions and commercial lendersNIH will not repay:Non-education loans (e.g., home equity loans)Loans consolidated with another individual (e.g., spouse or child)PLUS loans to parentsEXCEPTION: PLUS loans disbursed to graduate and professional students on or after July 1, 2006, qualify for LRP repaymentLoans that have been converted to a service obligationDelinquent loans, loans in default, or loans not current in repaymentSo what kinds of loans will the LRPs help repay?NIH will repay:Educational loans backed by the US GovernmentEducational loans from accredited US academic institutions and commercial lenders, including PLUS loans- but only those made to the applicant. PLUS loans made to your parents for your education are not eligible.NIH will not repay:Non-education loansLoans consolidated with a spouse or child. (This is important because we are seeing a number of applicants that don’t qualify because they have consolidated their loans with a spouse.)Loans that have been converted to a service obligationDelinquent loans, loans in default, or loans not current in repayment
5 Qualifying Loans and Repayment: 2 of 2 Individuals are not eligible for the NIH LRPs if they:Have a Federal judgment lien against their property arising from a Federal debtAre a full-time Federal government employee or VA Fellow(Full-time NIH employee-researchers are eligible for IntramuralLRPs)Owe an obligation of health professional service to the Federal Government, a state, or other entity, unless deferrals are granted for the length of their LRP service obligation(NRSA T32, T90 and F32 awardees are eligible—NIH grants deferrals of the NRSA service obligation)In addition, you are not eligible for the LRPs if you:Have a Federal judgment lien against your property arising from a Federal debtAre a full-time Federal employee or a VA fellow -- defined as greater than half-timeOwe an obligation of health professional service to the Federal government, state, or other entity, unless a deferral is obtained for the length of the LRP obligation. In the case of an NRSA T32, T90, or F32 award, we grant an automatic deferment of the NRSA payback obligation.
6 Research Program Areas Intramural Programs (1989 to Present)AIDS Research LRP (1989)Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (1994)General Research LRP (1996)Extramural Programs (2001 to Present)Contraception & Infertility Research LRP (1997)Health Disparities Research LRP (2001)Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (2001)Clinical Research LRP (2002)Pediatric Research LRP (2002)This is our list of the intramural and extramural LRPs. (“Intramural” refers to those programs available to postdocs and other young scientists who work here at NIH full time; “extramural” LRPs are for the researchers who are out in the non-NIH scientific community- mostly at medical and dental schools and universities.) That is probably most of you.Of our programs, the Clinical LRP is our largest, followed by the Pediatric and Health Disparities LRPs.The right side shows the LRP home page. Please be sure to check out the Resources tab for items that will assist you in this process. This includes our application guide, payment calculator and application tips.66
7 Qualifying Research: 1 of 3 Clinical ResearchPatient-oriented clinical research conducted with human subjects, or research on the causes and consequences of disease in human populations involving material of human origin (such as tissue specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator or colleague directly interacts with human subjects in an outpatient or inpatient setting to clarify a problem in human physiology, pathophysiology or disease, or epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes research or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials.Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged BackgroundsSee definition above for Clinical Research. A researcher from a family with an annual income below an established level is considered to be from a “disadvantaged background.” Current financial need alone is not sufficient to qualify for this program.Let’s go into what is considered to be qualifying research. The formal definitions are on the slide.Clinical Research. The bottom line for the clinical LRP is that you have to conduct research in which there is direct interaction with patients! This is one where we adhere very closely to the legislation and there is no wiggle room. If, for example, you are an MD working on an animal model of a relevant clinical entity….you are not eligible. You must work with patients. If you are a PhD working on basic aspects of a clinical problem and there is no involvement with patients…sorry, you are not eligible either.Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. The same definition of clinical research applies here. In addition you must come from a family background that is disadvantaged economically. Low postdoc or fellowship salaries do not qualify you for this LRP. Eligibility is based on your family’s economic background.
8 Qualifying Research: 2 of 3 Pediatric ResearchResearch that is directly related to diseases, disorders, and other conditions in children, including pediatric pharmacology.Contraception and Infertility ResearchResearch whose long-range objective is to evaluate, treat or ameliorate conditions which result in the failure of couples to either conceive or bear young; contraception development is defined as research whose ultimate goal is to provide new or improved methods of preventing pregnancy.Pediatric Research. For this LRP there is a little more flexibility because “pediatric” research includes basic and clinical studies. So if you are a pediatrician and you do clinical or basic research -- you are eligible. All individuals must ensure they make a convincing argument linking their research to children. Peer reviewers definitely catch these things. Some applications barely mention the word “pediatric” or “children” and are therefore considered ineligible.Contraception and Infertility Research. This LRP is for anyone who conducts clinical or basic research that deals with contraception or the inability of couples to conceive or bear children.
9 Qualifying Research: 3 of 3 Health Disparities ResearchBasic, clinical, and behavioral research on health conditions including diseases, disorders, and such other conditions, including the causes of such disparities and methods to prevent, diagnose, and treat the diseases associated with health disparities, that are unique to, more serious, or more prevalent in health disparities populations (either individual members or communities of such populations).A "health disparities population" is defined as a population for which, as determined by the NIMHD Director in consultation with the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, there is a significant disparity in the overall rate of disease incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, or survival rates in the population as compared to the health status of the general population.Health Disparities Research. This LRP is for individuals who work in clinical, basic, or behavioral research that has to do with “health disparities.” HD diseases or conditions are those that disproportionately affect certain populations. For additional information please contact the liaison from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities to determine if your research qualifies for this LRP.You should note that each Institute and Center has an LRP liaison who may answer questions related to research. You may find Institute and Center research priority areas and their LRP contact on our website under the “Contact Us” tab.
10 Review Process How are LRPs reviewed? You submit your application to us in the Division of Loan Repayment. Once applications are processed internally, they are then transferred to the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). On your application, you may choose an LRP category and request which NIH Institute and Center (IC) receives your application. However, CSR assesses the applications and assigns them based on your research content. Once at the IC level, applications are reviewed in special review committees that are composed of senior, seasoned reviewers.
11 Peer Review CriteriaPanels evaluate each applicant’s potential to succeed in a research career by rating:Applicant’s previous training and research experienceApplicant’s commitment to a research careerCurrent research environmentResearch progress—for Renewal applications onlyPeer review is a challenging task because we ask the reviewers to evaluate research potential. Research potential in a young scientist can be difficult to assess, so anything you can write in your application or have your references write in their letters, will greatly help.Most important factors are your training, research experience or potential, and your commitment to a research career. Anything that points in that direction is good.If you are applying for renewal, you must have accomplishments (i.e. publications or at least abstracts). Reviewers want to see productivity!
12 The Application The LRP application is divided into three sections: Personal InformationThis includes contact and educational background about the applicant, funding sources information, a personal statement about career goals, certifications (required signatures), and verification of citizenship status.ResearchThis step includes identification of your research supervisor, if applicable, and a description of your proposed research, your list of colleagues who will recommend you, and the institutional official who can provide salary information and confirm your institutional support. As each form is submitted, NIH sends requests to either your research supervisor, recommender, or institutional contacts and they are asked to respond online.LoansThis section is only for new applicants. You will need to provide lender and servicer name and address, loan number, disbursement date, total loan, current balance, monthly payment, interest rate and type and status (in repayment/deferment/forbearance).Now, let’s discuss the actual application. It is divided into three sections – personal information, research and loans.Personal Information includes contact and educational background about the applicant, funding sources information, a personal statement about career goals, certifications, and verification of citizenship status.Research includes identification of your research supervisor, if applicable, and a description of your proposed research, your list of colleagues who will recommend you, and the institutional official who can provide salary information and confirm your institutional support. As each form is submitted, NIH sends requests to either your research supervisor, recommender, or institutional contacts and they are asked to respond online.Loans. This section is only for new applicants. You will need to provide lender and servicer name and address, loan number, disbursement date, total loan, current balance, monthly payment, interest rate and type and status.
13 Tips for Writing a Competitive LRP Application These tips will help you strengthen your application.Know the funding priorities of your NIH Institute or Center.Effectively demonstrate your qualifications and commitment to research.Describe resources and support thoroughly.Write a strong research plan.Provide strong letters of recommendation.To download this complete document, visitTips for Writing a Competitive LRP ApplicationKnow the funding priorities of your NIH Institute or Center. Not every IC has the same priorities for funding LRP applications. You should talk to the LRP liaison at the IC where you think your research fits, find out that IC’s research priorities and try to verify that your research is within the scientific mission. However, keep in mind that the Center for Scientific Review will assign your application based on its scientific content.Effectively demonstrate your qualifications and research commitment. Your qualifications and commitment to research are extremely important parameters and successful applicants emphasize them in their application and Biosketch. Don’t sell yourself short in your Biosketch. Anything that shows your commitment to research should be included.Describe your resources and support thoroughly. Most LRP applicants are in mentored situations. Therefore, ensure you have a mentor who is a recognized expert in your field, has published extensively, and has grant support (preferably from NIH). Have a mentoring plan that spells out all the support you receive. If you have a second mentor, make sure the roles are defined for each mentor.Write a strong research plan. Reviewers are urged not to re-review the science in the application, but they will to a certain extent. Therefore your research plan should reflect considerable input from your mentor(s). If your research plan is not innovative, your chances of getting LRP funds are greatly diminished.Provide strong recommendation letters. Obtain letters from senior colleagues who can attest to your commitment to research. If you are just starting your research career, have your references emphasize your enthusiasm, diligence, and any other quality that denotes commitment to your career.The more your application addresses all the points in this slide, the better your chances are of getting funded.
14 Common Mistakes to Avoid The following conditions often weaken an applicant’s competitiveness.Weak or lukewarm recommendation lettersQuestionable research commitmentMediocre research planRushed applicationInadequate research environmentSlim publication recordTips for Writing a Competitive LRP ApplicationWeak or lukewarm recommendation letters. As I highlighted on the previous slide, you must ensure your recommendation letters are strong. Discuss the letter with your reference. Ask them what they plan to say and make sure they highlight all of your areas of experience, expertise and potential.Questionable research commitment. Sometimes researchers don’t get a good sense of your commitment to research. This occurs more frequently with junior applicants. If you have few research accomplishments, then have your recommenders address this positively and strongly.Mediocre research plan. Research plans should be innovative andcutting edge. One that is too descriptive or not sufficiently hypothesis-driven will not be funded. Work with your mentor(s) to develop a strong plan. While reviewers aren’t expecting an R01 from the majority of LRP applicants, they do want to see good science.Rushed application. Don’t rush to prepare your application. Be sure to give yourself sufficient time. Successful applicants generally give themselves 6-8 weeks for this task. Right now you have approximately one month before the application is due. Use the LRP Information Center if you have questions -- it’s a unique NIH resource!Inadequate Research Environment. Make sure you describe your research environment so reviewers may assess its adequacy to help fulfill your research aspirations.If you have a slim publication record, you must explain why this is so. If you have few publications because you are a junior investigator, the recommendation letters may help establish your potential.
15 Application Cycle Timeline September 1 – November 15: Application cycleDecember 1: Colleague DeadlineFebruary – May: Application Peer ReviewMay: Initial SelectionMay – July: Financial VettingMid-July: Final Funding Decisions and Recipient NotificationAugust – September: Contract SigningOctober: First Lender PaymentThis slide shows the application timeline.The most important date is November 15th because that is the submission deadline.Once the Center for Scientific Review assigns your application to the appropriate institute or center, your application will be peer reviewed.Following review, funding decisions are made by the ICs and final financial vetting takes place in the Division of Loan Repayment. Once the financial vetting is finished then the ICs will make their funding decisions. In mid to late-July you will hear whether you were funded. Benefits are paid quarterly after you complete your service obligation and it is verified. Your lenders should start seeing payment in October.If you are not funded, you may continue to apply as long as you have eligible loans and remain in a research career. Our LRP success stories demonstrate the effectiveness of persistence – just ensure you continue to grow and gain experience.
16 LRP Application Deadline: November 15 at 8 p.m. EST Additional ResourcesLRP Application Deadline: November 15 at 8 p.m. ESTVisit our Web site atContact the LRP Information Center at (866) orSign up for additional information by following us onAgain, our application deadline is November 15, and these are links to our website and the ways you can contact us by or by telephone.Please take advantage of the opportunity to contact our user-friendly Information Center. We will help you with questions such as:-- “Who do I speak with to find out if my research is eligible?”-- “How do I add a recommender?” AND-- “I’m stuck on page 3- help me!”Thank you and best of luck on your applications.I’d like to tell you that we plan another webinar on “Mapping your Career to NIH.” This webinar will deal with all the mechanisms available to young scientists all the way from graduate or medical school through getting R01s and other funding later in your career. Please stay tuned because we do not yet have a date for this event.