Pharmacists are eligible for up to $100K through NIH student loan repayment program

Pharmacists are included in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs), a set of programs established by the U.S. Congress to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into research careers. Approximately 1,500 scientists benefit from the $68 million NIH invests each year through its extramural LRPs. LRPs will begin accepting applications on September 1, and the deadline to submit applications, recommendations, and colleague and institutional support documentation is November 15.

In exchange for a 2-year commitment to conduct biomedical or behavioral research funded by a nonprofit or government institution, NIH will repay up to $50,000 annually of student loan debt. One of the eligibility requirements is a doctoral-level degree, such as a PharmD. Nearly 50% of all new LRP applications are funded.

Applicants can choose one of five research areas: pediatrics, clinical, health disparities, contraception and infertility, or clinical research focused on individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. New this year is the inclusion of all NIH institutes and centers in the health disparities research LRP. Previously, all health disparities LRP applications were reviewed by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

NIH has also relaunched its Ambassador Program, which pairs applicants with current and former LRP awardees for advice and encouragement during the application process. Applicants can search the Ambassador directory to find ambassadors’ e-mail addresses, research interests, and years of participation. Go to to access the resource.

Visit for details and instructions on how to apply. The website also includes application tips and contact information for program officers who can discuss priority research areas. For additional assistance, call the LRP Information Center at (866) 849-4047 Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, or e-mail