Physician Education Loan Repayment Program
If you are a physician practicing medicine in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) and you provide healthcare services to recipients under a medical assistance program, you may qualify for a loan repayment award up to $180,000.
To find out if your site is located in an HPSA, go to the Health Resources and Services Administration Shortage Areas search page. The site address is where you are physically working, not where the headquarters or administration office is located.
Am I Eligible?
To qualify for this program, you must meet the following:
- be practicing in an approved primary care specialty
- have completed at least one year of qualifying service
- be a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and hold a full physician license from the Texas Medical Board, with no restrictions
- be eligible for board certification and certified by fourth year of enrollment; repayment assistance cannot be provided if you are not board certified by your fourth year
- agree to provide four consecutive years of service in a:
- federally designated HPSA,
- secure correctional facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (limited to 10 recipients at a secure correctional facility per year), or
- secure correctional facility operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (limited to 10 recipients at a secure correctional facility per year).
- provide direct patient care to Medicaid and/or Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollees
- not be currently fulfilling another obligation to provide medical services as part of a scholarship agreement, a student loan agreement, or another student loan repayment program
Approved Primary Care Specialties
With the exception of psychiatrists and geriatricians, physicians must provide services in an outpatient setting to be considered primary care.
- Family Medicine/Family Practice
- General Practice
- General Internal Medicine
- General Pediatrics
When Can I Apply?
The application is available year-round.
How Do I Apply?
The application portal for the Physician's Education Loan Repayment Programs is now available in the new Grant and Aid Processing Platform (GAPP) system, introduced in summer 2023. To complete an application, click here.
You will need:
- your National Provider Identifier (NPI),
- information about your student loan balances, account numbers, and loan holders, and
- the email address for your Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Your CAO may be a facility administrator, Director of Human Resources, or other official who is authorized to certify your employment. After you have submitted your application, we will email a service verification form to your CAO.
FOR CONTINUING PELRP PARTICIPANTS: When creating an account in GAPP, you must use the same email address, first name, and last name entered on your prior application. Once your account has been created, please clear your cache, and then log in. If your email or name has changed, please contact us through the GAPP Help Desk prior to creating a new account. Please note that changing your email address within the GAPP system will not change your GAPP username.
How Much Can I Receive?
The maximum total amount of repayment assistance under this program is $180,000. The following maximum annual award amounts apply to physicians whose initial applications for participation in the program were submitted on or after September 1, 2019:
- $30,000 for the first service period or 16% if the total loan balance is less than $180,000
- $40,000 for the second service period or 22% if the total loan balance is less than $180,000
- $50,000 for the third service period or 28% if the total loan balance is less than $180,000
- $60,000 for the fourth service period or 34% if the total loan balance is less than $180,000
Are My Loans Eligible?
To qualify for repayment through this program, a loan must:
- have been used to pay for the cost of attendance for your undergraduate, graduate, or medical education
- not have been made during residency or to cover costs incurred after completion of medical school
- not be in default at the time of the application
- not have an existing service obligation for forgiveness through another program
- not be subject to repayment through another student loan repayment or loan forgiveness program or repayment assistance provided by the physician's employer while the physician is participating in the program
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to apply each year?
Yes. You will have to reapply each year for potential funds. We will also need verification of your eligible service and updated loan information each year; you will be notified of the employment verification form approximately 30 days before the end of your service period.
Will I automatically qualify if I meet all the eligibility requirements?
No. Funding is determined by the Texas State Legislature. Applications are reviewed and ranked to determine if there is sufficient funding available to make awards to eligible applicants.
Do I have to commit to four years of service?
Yes. If you are working in an HPSA, you will have to commit to providing four years of service. However, if the funding is reduced or eliminated by the Texas Legislature, you will be released from the obligation.
What if I want to change practice sites?
Before changing practice sites, please contact our office to discuss the impact of such a change. If you wish to change practice sites, the new site must be in an HPSA for you to continue to be eligible for the program.
How do you determine when my service period begins and ends?
The initial service period begins on the first day of the month following the date the application is received or the first date of employment, whichever is later. Once a service period is established, it will be the same for all years of participation.
Does my practice site have to have a high HPSA score?
No. The practice site does not need to have any particular HPSA score. However, the score may be used if ranking of applications takes place.
I am a Hospitalist. Am I eligible?
No. You must be providing services in an outpatient setting.
I am a subspecialist. Am I eligible?
Yes. However, applications from subspecialists practicing in an outpatient setting in an HPSA are held until all primary care physicians in HPSAs have been reviewed and accepted into the program. After that time applications from subspecialists will be reviewed and ranked to determine eligibility into the program.
How many people are allowed in the program?
This is dependent on available funding, but only 10 physicians working at a secure correctional facility are allowed in the program each year. In the 2022 fiscal year, THECB awarded $10,018,715 to 210 physicians through the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program (PELRP).
How many Medicaid patients do I need to see?
There is no minimum number of Medicaid patients you need to see if you are practicing in an HPSA. Physicians who are conditionally approved and are not practicing in an HPSA will need to meet the following number of unduplicated Medicaid and/or Healthy Texas Women’s program clients:
- Family Medicine – 200
- Internal Medicine – 200
- OB/GYN – 200
- Pediatrics – 200
- Psychiatry – 150
- Geriatrics – 25
This information will be verified by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
What is considered full-time employment?
Full-time employment is a minimum of 32 hours of direct patient care per week in an outpatient setting.
Can I receive loan repayment assistance for part-time employment?
Yes. You may receive a pro-rated award for part-time employment if you provide a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care per week in an outpatient setting.
Can faculty members receive loan repayment assistance?
Yes. You may be eligible for the program as a faculty member if you are also seeing your own patients for a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care per week.
I am participating in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Does this disqualify me from any loan repayment program?
No. Since the PSLF Program requires a borrower to make 120 payments before the loan is potentially forgiven, it could be possible for a participant to qualify for both programs.
I am a psychiatrist. Can I apply for funding under both the Physician Education and Mental Health Loan Repayment Programs?
No. It is not possible to apply for and receive funding under both programs. You will have to fulfill the obligation for one of the programs before applying to another program.
Is the percentage of the award amount based on my original loan balance or my current loan balance?
Your award amount is based on the verified loan balance at the time your application for enrollment is reviewed. If you owe less than the aggregate maximum award amount, the annual payment amounts will be the amounts needed to repay the loan over a period of four years, up to the maximum of $180,000.
I have been practicing for several years and just learned about this program. Can I receive funds for my previous years of service?
No. The years of service begin when you are enrolled into the program. Program funding does not allow for funding of prior years of service.
When will I receive my award?
The annual award will be mailed to the lender after you have completed each year of service, and all required documentation has been received and reviewed. We cannot send payments electronically or via ACH, so please allow time for the check to be mailed and processed by your lender.
After you submit your application, it will be held in a pending status until we receive the completed service verification form from your CAO. Once we receive all documentation, please allow up to four weeks for our team to review your application.
If we have questions or need additional information, we will contact you at the email address you provided on your application. If your application is approved, we will mail a paper check to your lender and email an award notification to you. If your application is not approved, we will notify you by email, and you may re-apply in future years.
Want to Learn More?
- View information about the PELRP in the Report on Student Financial Aid in Texas Higher Education, Fiscal Year 2022.
- For more details, review the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 23, Subchapter C.
For assistance with the GAPP Application Portal, please contact the Help Desk.
Phone: (833) 597-0454