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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration

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Bureau of Clinician Recruitment & Service

The Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service (BCRS) addresses the nationwide shortage of health care providers through scholarship and loan repayment programs that help underserved communities and shortage facilities recruit and retain qualified health professionals. 

Each year, BCRS accepts applications from students and clinicians and selects qualified individuals to receive financial assistance in exchange for service where they are needed most. 

National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) assists Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in every U.S. state and territory to meet their need for primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health clinicians. 

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program: Primary care providers working at an NHSC-approved site with a HPSA score of 14 or above can receive up to $50,000 in loan repayment for committing to serve at site for at least two years. Primary care providers working at an NHSC-approved site with a HPSA score of 13 or below can receive up to $30,000 in loan repayment for committing to serve at the site for at least two years.

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program: The NHSC Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students pursuing primary health care professions training in NHSC-eligible disciplines in return for a commitment to provide health care to communities in need, upon graduation and the completion of training.  In return for each school year, or partial school year, of financial support received, students agree to provide primary health care services for one (1) year at an NHSC-approved site located in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) (PDF - 63 KB). For the first school year, or partial school year, of support, there is a minimum 2-year service commitment.

Students to Service Loan Repayment Pilot Program: The National Health Service Corps’ Students to Service Loan Repayment Pilot Program provides loan repayment assistance to medical students (MD and DO) in their last year of school, in return for a commitment to provide primary health care services in eligible Health Professional Shortage Areas of greatest need.

NURSE Corps

NURSE Corps gives nurses nationwide the opportunity to turn their passion for service into a lifelong career through the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program and the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, NURSE Corps empowers and enables nurses to follow their passion for helping and healing others. NURSE Corps members help to transform lives and build healthier communities in urban, rural and frontier areas by supporting nurses and nursing students committed to working in communities with inadequate access to care.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program: The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program eases the student debt burden of registered nurses who work in health centers, rural health clinics, hospitals and other types of facilities currently experiencing a critical shortage of nurses. The program repays 60 percent of the outstanding balance in exchange for 2 years of full-time service at an eligible facility. Participants may be eligible to receive an additional 25 percent of the original loan balance for an additional year of full-time service in a critical shortage facility. A funding preference is given to RNs with the greatest financial need.

NURSE Corp Scholarship Program: The NURSE Corp Scholarship Program offers scholarships to individuals attending accredited registered nurse training programs located in the U.S. in exchange for at least 2 years of service upon graduation at anyone of a number of types of health care facilities currently experiencing a critical shortage of nurses. A funding preference is given to qualified applicants who have zero Expected Family Contribution on the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance and who are enrolled full-time in an undergraduate nursing program.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program

The Faculty Loan Repayment Program is a loan repayment program for health professions graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who serve as faculty at an eligible health professions college or university. In exchange for at least 2 years of service, the Federal government pays up to $40,000 of the outstanding principal and interest on the individual's health professions education loans. The employing institution matches the loan repayment unless it is determined the matching requirement would impose an undue financial hardship on the institution. 

Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program

The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP) improves the health of the Native Hawaiian population by supporting Native Hawaiian health professions students in return for their service after graduation in  a medically underserved area in the state of Hawaii. The scholarship pays tuition, books, other education costs and provides a monthly stipend.

Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa and Visa Waiver Program

The Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States (U.S.) and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges, under the provisions of U.S. law. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services manages the  Program as it pertains to health research and clinical care. 

A J-1 visa is the temporary, non-immigrant training visa issued to exchange visitors participating in cultural, educational, scientific, training and clinical programs. HHS accepts applications to request waivers of the two-year J-1 visa foreign residency requirement for health care services needed in a Health Professional Shortage Area. Upon approval of the J-1 visa waiver, physicians are granted a H-1B (temporary, non-immigrant working) visa and must agree to deliver primary health care services for three years in a Health Professional Shortage Area or in a Medically Underserved Area/Population.

The HRSA Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service reviews and provides recommendations on J-1 clinical care waivers referred by the HHS Office of Global Health Affairs.

Shortage Designation

BCRS manages the Federal designation of Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations which includes the Governor-designated, Secretary-certified Shortage Area for the purposes of Rural Health Clinic participation, as well as the Governor’s Exceptional MUP designation also certified by the Secretary.  This activity is coordinated in close cooperation with State partners to assure consistent and accurate assessment of underservice, including data collection and analysis.  Shortage designations are used to prioritize HRSA’s health professional scholarship and loan repayments programs, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s physician and surgeon bonus payment program, and various other federal and state programs.

Did You Know?
  • The NURSE Corps program consists of more than 2,500 dedicated nurses currently providing high quality care where they are needed most.
  • There are an additional 720 NURSE Corps nurses in the pipeline—meaning once they complete their training they will begin their service obligation in an underserved community.
  • The NHSC consists of nearly 8,900 primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health professionals providing care to more than 9.3 million medically underserved individuals working at more than 5,100 NHSC-approved sites.
  • There are also nearly 1,100 NHSC students and residents preparing to go into practice.