Veterans Affairs - Loan Repayment and Scholarship Programs

December 27, 2023

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Federal loan repayment and scholarship programs exist to help you offset the costs of medical school. Veterans Affairs (VA) provides repayment assistance and scholarship opportunities through its Specialty Education Loan Repayment Program (SELRP) and Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

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About the VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves and cares for America’s veterans. Support services include the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the largest integrated health care network in the United States.

Specialty Education Loan Repayment Program (SELRP) Overview

The Specialty Education Loan Repayment Program (SELRP) provides loan repayment assistance up to $40,000 a year with a maximum of $160,000 for qualified health profession education loans.

Qualifying Debt 

Qualifying debt for the SELRP includes unpaid government or private loans for graduate school tuition, as well as reasonable educational and living expenses.

For consolidated loans, only the health profession portion is approved by the SELRP. Once an SELRP payment is received, borrowers cannot receive additional assistance from a government-funded entity; however, SELRP loans are eligible for the
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. 

Learn about additional Loan Forgiveness, Loan Repayment Assistance Programs, and Scholarships with FIRST.

Service Commitment 

Recipients agree to serve in a clinical practice at a VA facility for a period of 12 months for each $40,000 received, and you must provide a commitment of service for a minimum of 24 months. Degree and licensure requirements must also be met.

Eligibility & Application Information 

Applicants must have graduated from an accredited medical school and be eligible for appointment in the occupation for which the recipient was trained. Additionally, you must be currently enrolled in or matched to a residency and training in an eligible specialty. Lastly, you must have at least two years remaining in a residency/fellowship program.

Preference is given to veterans, and individuals who are, or will be, participating in residency programs in health facilities located in rural areas, operated by the Indian Health Service or an affiliated entity, or with underserved healthcare facilities of the VA.

Eligible Specialties  
•    Psychiatry.
•    Family Practice.
•    Internal Medicine.
•    Emergency Medicine.
•    Gastroenterology.
•    Urology.
•    Geriatric Medicine.

Other specialties will be considered based on VA needs.

VA Health Professions Scholarship Program 

The VA Health Professions Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students receiving education or training in a direct or indirect health care services discipline. Scholarships are determined by VHA workforce needs.

The award pays your school tuition and approved fees through direct payment to the school. Assistance includes supplementing any existing grants and scholarships to ensure 100% of tuition and required/mandatory fees are paid.

In addition, HPSP will pay you a monthly stipend. The payment is made for each month you are enrolled in coursework, beginning with the first month of the school year.

Scholarship recipients must provide a minimum service commitment of 18 months (for every year sponsored) at a VA facility after graduation, licensure and residency.

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