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

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 biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. Applicants can choose one of five research areas—pediatrics, clinical, health disparities, contraception and infertility, or clinical research focused on individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. The deadline to submit applications, recommendations, and colleague and institutional support documentation is November 20.

In exchange for a 2-year commitment to conduct biomedical or biobehavioral research funded by a nonprofit or government institution, NIH will repay up to $50,000 of participants’ student loan debt annually. One of the eligibility requirements is a doctoral-level degree, such as a PharmD.

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. Now, when applying for the health disparities LRP, applicants can select from a list of more than 20 NIH institutes and centers that fund this program.

Other exciting changes are coming soon. Beginning September 1, 2021, a new extramural LRP subcategory will launch: research in emerging areas of critical human health (REACH). The REACH LRP is intended to address high-priority emerging and gap areas of research, which could open the door for more PharmD researchers.

One way to learn more is to explore the LRP 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