Repayment Assistance Through Forgiveness, Scholarships, or Service

November 28, 2022

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Interested in a service career, or want to reduce your medical school debt by working in public service or the military? Good news—there are numerous possibilities available. With each program, financial benefits and requirements vary; however, some of the more common opportunities are highlighted below. 

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Commissioned Corps

The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHSCC) is the federal uniformed service of the United States Public Health Service (PHS) consisting of commissioned officers as one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The PHS Commissioned Corps fills public health leadership and service roles within federal government agencies and programs. To learn more about being a medical officer in USPHS, review this website

Civil Service Programs

As a civil servant (public sector employee working for a government department or agency) you may meet the qualifying criteria for a scholarship, loan repayment assistance, or loan forgiveness.

Opportunities exist to serve through the Indian Health Service (IHS), the Centers For Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, the National Health Service Corps, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA), as well as other federal agencies. 

National Health Service Corps: Students to Service (S2S) Program

A program available to current medical students in their final year of medical school. In return for committing to providing primary care health services full-time, for at least three years, at an NHSC-approved site, participants are awarded up to $120,000 for loan repayment.  To learn more about this program review the NHSC (S2S) Loan Repayment Program fact sheet.
Military Programs

Some medical professionals may choose to obtain their medical 
degree by participating in a military scholarship or loan repayment program. The qualifications and commitment for each program varies, so research your options with the various branches of the military. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs highlights various programs on their website. Some of these programs include the Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP), the Specialty Education Loan Repayment Program (SELRP) and the Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP). 

Loan Forgiveness Options
  • See FIRST's Public Service Loan Forgiveness fact sheet for additional information about this federal loan forgiveness program. 
  • The AAMC’s free, searchable database of state and federal loan repayment and forgiveness programs. 

  • Federal income-driven repayment (IDR) plans provide loan forgiveness if you have a remaining balance at the end of the repayment term. Visit the Federal Student Aid website to review all the income-driven repayment plans. 

FIRST Fact Sheets:

Consumer and Federal Financial Aid Resources 
Indian Health Service (IHS) - Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs
NHSC: Scholarship and Loan Repayment Programs
Veterans Affairs - Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs 

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