Pharmacists included in student loan repayment program

May 1, 2012

Pharmacists are finally eligible to get government support on repaying their student loans if they go to work in communities that are underserved by primary care providers.

Pharmacists are finally eligible to get government support on repaying their student loans if they go to work in communities that are underserved by primary care providers, according to an online report by the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) will provide grants to participating states to expand their loan programs to include pharmacists and registered nurses.

“As medication experts, pharmacists are valuable resources to patients in medically underserved areas, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in SLRPs,” David R. Steeb, president of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, said in the APhA news article by Diana Yap, published online.

“This is a great example of how students can make a difference in the profession through advocacy efforts,” Steeb added. “It also provides new practitioners with additional career paths that improve patient care in health professional shortage areas.” 

States that accept the SLRP grants must match the funds dollar-for-dollar and the program must be administered by a state agency. States that apply and are selected can set up their program to fund pharmacists, according to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) spokesperson Michelle Daniels, as reported in the online APhA article. "So individuals should be aware that there probably are not any immediate opportunities. They would need to contact the individual SLRP states to see if they will have LRP for pharmacists in the future," continued Daniels.

Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dental professionals, and mental health professionals are already included in the program.

NHSC is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.