CONTACTBarb Tyler (531) 530-7484, Barb.Tyler@Nebraska.Gov
Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is offering two incentive programs providing up to $200,000 in student loan repayment for qualified medical care providers who agree to work in rural and underserved communities in state or federally designated shortage areas. No local match is required for the next few years.
Incentive programs are an important tool to recruit and retain medical providers in needed areas. According to studies on the economic impact of rural health care, one primary care physician in a rural community creates 23 jobs annually. On average, 14 percent of total employment in rural communities is attributed to the health sector.
In small towns and rural areas, approximately 40% of family medicine providers have participated in incentive programs. The rural health incentive programs currently impact over 900,000 people living in Nebraska. For more information on economic impact, review the Nebraska Rural Health Advisory's Annual 2021 Report.
The two programs are the Nebraska Loan Repayment Program (NLRP) and the National Health Service Corps Nebraska State Loan Repayment Program (NHSC SLRP).
The NLRP offers loan repayment assistance for primary care, mental, dental, and certain allied health professionals who agree to practice for three years in a state-designated shortage area in Nebraska. Doctors and dentists are eligible for up to $180,000 in loan relief, while other medical professions are eligible for up to $90,000. Due to the availability of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, no local match is required at this time and those who have previously participated in the state program can apply for a second award.
The NHSC SLRP offers loan repayment assistance for primary care, dental, and mental health professionals who agree to practice for a minimum of two years at an NHSC site in Nebraska. The length of participation is capped at four years and providers cannot apply for another award after reaching the four-year maximum. Awards are also available for Pharmacists and – new this year – Registered Nurses (RNs must have bachelor's level training). Doctors, dentists, and pharmacists are eligible for up to $50,000 in loan relief per year, while other medical professions are eligible for up to $25,000 per year. Currently, no local match is required.
Applicants must have employment lined up at a site in a qualifying shortage area before applying. For more information on how to apply for the NLRP and the NHSC SLRP programs and the qualifying shortage areas, please click here.