Physician Education Loan Repayment Program
The purpose of the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program (PELRP) is to encourage qualified physicians to practice medicine in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) as designated by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and to provide health care services to recipients under the medical assistance program authorized by the Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 32, and to enrollees under the child health plan program authorized by the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 62.
For more details, review Title 19 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 23, Subchapter C.
To speak to a Customer Service Representative regarding loan repayment programs, call 833-597-0454, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
Online Inquiries: CONTACT US (select “Financial Aid Question” as the Contact Reason)
How to Apply
The application for the PELRP will be temporarily unavailable beginning Nov. 30, 2022. Please check back in spring of 2023 for PELRP application updates.
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
To qualify for this program, applicants must meet the following primary requirements:
- be a US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident and hold a full physician license from the Texas Medical Board, with no restrictions
- be eligible to take the exam for board certification from the specialty board established by THECB administrative rules during the first, second, or third service period; if the physician has not earned and maintained board certification by the fourth year, repayment assistance cannot be provided
- 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
The following maximum annual award amounts apply to physicians whose initial applications for participation in the program was 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
The following are requirements for a loan to be eligible for repayment through the program:
- must be evidenced by a promissory note which required the loan proceeds to be used to pay for the cost of attendance for undergraduate, graduate, or medical education
- must not have been made during residency or to cover costs incurred after completion of medical school
- must not be in default at the time of the application of enrollment
- must not have an existing service obligation for forgiveness through another program
- must 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
How do I know if my site is located in a HPSA?
To verify if your site is located in a HPSA, go to the Health Resources and Services Administration Shortage Areas search page. The site address that needs to be verified is the site where you are physically working, not where the headquarters or administration office is located.
Do I have to commit to four years of service?
Yes. If you are working in a 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.
Do I have to apply each year?
Physicians who are practicing in a HPSA do not have to reapply. Subspecialists and physicians who are not practicing in a HPSA will have to reapply each year for potential funds.
What happens if I leave the program? Do I have to pay back any money I received?
If you change locations and the new location is not a HPSA, you move out of the state, or you fail to meet any of the program requirements, you will be removed from the program. You will not be required to pay back any funds received but will not be allowed to apply for any loan repayment programs offered by the State of Texas.
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 a 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?
Applications from subspecialists practicing in an outpatient setting in a HPSA are held until the end of the fiscal year. If it is determined there are sufficient funds by the end of August of each calendar year after all primary care physicians in HPSAs have been reviewed and accepted into the program, applications from subspecialists will be ranked and enrolled into the program.
How many people are allowed in the program?
This is dependent on available funding. For physicians working at a secure correctional facility, only 10 physicians are allowed in the program each year.
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 a HPSA. Physicians who are conditionally approved and are not practicing in a 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, and Geriatrics – 25. This information will be verified by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
I don’t have a TPI number. What is that?
A TPI number is a Texas Provider Number. Not every physician has one. You do need to have an NPI number, National Provider Number.
What is considered full-time?
Full-time is a minimum of 32 hours of direct patient care per week in an outpatient setting.
Can I receive payment for part-time?
You can receive a pro-rated award for part-time employment as long as you are providing a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care per week in an outpatient setting.
Can I be faculty?
Yes. You can be faculty 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 Program. Does this disqualify me from any loan repayment program?
No. This program requires a person to make 120 payments before the loan is potentially forgiven. The verification process does not take place until after all 120 payments have been made. A participant may complete the state program before all 120 payments have been made on their federal loans.
Is the percentage of the award amount based on my original loan balance or my current loan balance?
The percentage is based on the verified loan balance at the time the 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.
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.
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.