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The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health administers two loan assistance programs: the Health Professions Loan Assistance Program and the Rural Provider Loan Assistance Program. This page includes information about these programs, as well as information about opportunities offered by other organizations.

You can access the application at the following link.

Special Announcement: The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains provisions that may help those with student loan debt, including temporary suspension of payments and interest accrual. An Office of Rural Health partner, Wipfli Financial Advisors, has prepared an article describing this legislation and how you may be able to take advantage of these benefits.

 

Health Professions Loan Assistance Program

Wisconsin health care professionals (physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives) practicing in an outpatient setting can receive up to $50,000 in education loan assistance through the Health Professions Loan Assistance Program (HPLAP). To be eligible, providers must work full time in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Information on a community’s HPSA status can be found on the federal Health Resources and Services Administration’s HPSA site.  Providers must agree to work three years in an eligible underserved rural or urban community.  Awards are federal and state income tax exempt. Additional HPSA information, including maps, is available here.

Maximum Award by Profession

Dentists (General, Pediatric)

Physicians (FM, IM, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Psychiatry)

$50,000
Dental Hygienists (General, Pediatric)

Certified Nurse Midwives

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants (Family Medicine, Geriatrics, Mental Health, Pediatrics, Women’s Health)

$25,000

The links below contain the most recent information on the HPLAP program:
For primary and mental health care providers
For dental care providers

Rural Provider Loan Assistance Program

Wisconsin primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and dentists practicing in an outpatient setting in a rural* community are eligible for an additional award. The Rural Provider Loan Assistance Program grants physicians practicing in a rural community up to $50,000 in loan assistance funds. Providers practicing in rural communities qualify for this funding whether or not the worksite is located in a HPSA.

* For the purposes of this award, the state legislature defined “rural” as the following:

  • A city, town, or village that has a population of less than 20,000 and that is at least 15 miles from any city, town, or village that has a population of at least 20,000, and
  • That is not an urbanized area, as defined by the federal bureau of the census.

 

How to Apply

 

Effective January 2021, providers are limited to two Wisconsin Loan Assistance Program awards during their career: two Health Professions LAP awards, or two Rural Provider LAP awards, or one Health Professions award and one Rural Provider award.  Awards made prior to 2021 will count toward this limit. The Wisconsin Office of Rural Health adopted this policy to ensure geographic distribution of awards and ensure the maximum number of eligible providers can benefit from these Programs.

 

To apply to these competitive programs you must complete an online application and upload the following material:

  • Copy of the current balance of each eligible loan.
  • Proof of your education/training (copy of your diploma, letter from the school stating dates of attendance and program completion or transcripts that state dates of attendance and program completion).
  • A personal essay explaining why you chose your practice site and factors that will lead you to continue practicing there after your service obligation is complete.

 

In addition, your employer must complete an online form (link available within the application) and upload the following:

  • A copy of their policy for accommodating patients unable to pay full price for services, if they have such a policy.
  • A letter detailing their commitment to your retention.

 

You can access examples of the employee and employer application forms below:
Employee Application Form (Example)
Employer Application Form (Example)

 

The application period for the Health Professions Loan Assistance Program and the Rural Provider Loan Assistance Program is now open.  You can access the application at the following link.  The application and all required documents must be submitted by September 13, 2022.  All applicants will be informed of their status in December.  Contact Kevin Jacobson if you have any questions.

 

Other Loan Assistance Programs

Indian Health Service’s Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

Indian Health Service’s LRP is a competitive program that awards up to $40,000 a year for a two year commitment to work in a Service-approved site. Eligible professions include physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, therapists, psychologists, social workers, environmental health, and other allied health professions.  Additional information is available on their website.

National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s NHSC is a competitive program that awards up to $50,000 in education loan repayment funds for health care providers who agree to work for two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). This program is similar to Wisconsin’s Health Professions Loan Assistance Program and is open to physicians, dentists, advance practice nurses (NPs, PAs, CNMs), dental hygienists and mental health professionals. Information on the federal program is available on the NHSC website. The NHSC is administered by the WI Department of Health Services; additional information is available on their website.

Nurse Corps

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Nurse Corps is a competitive program that repays 60% of the qualifying loan balance of eligible registered nurses, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs) nurse practitioners (NPs) and clinical nurse specialists. Those selected for funding must agree to work for 2 years at a critical shortage facility. Participants may be eligible to work a third year and receive an additional 25% of their qualifying loan balance. More information is on the Nurse Corps website, including the application and information on critical shortage facilities.

Primary Care and Psychiatry Shortage Grant

The State of Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board (WHEAB) provides competitive grants to primary care physicians, general surgeons and psychiatrists who agree to practice in a rural or urban federally designated shortage area.  Providers must file a Notice of Intent to practice in an underserved Wisconsin community prior to accepting employment or becoming in any other way affiliated as a physician in an underserved area in the state of Wisconsin.  This program is not based on loan assistance or repayment.  More information on the Primary Care and Psychiatry Shortage Grant can be found on the WHEAB website.

Kevin Jacobson
Staff Contact:

Kevin Jacobson
Loan Assistance Program Manager
kmjacobson2@wisc.edu
(608) 261-1888

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