7. Information for Students, Residents & Providers in Transition
This section contains information that may be of interest to students, residents and providers in transition between employers. The MSLRP application process is very competitive. Those serious about successfully competing for a loan repayment agreement will need to carefully read all sections of the MSLRP website, including the MSLRP Opportunity Update and the Participant Information and Requirements section, as well as the application forms. Investing the time required to become knowledgeable about MSLRP is the only way to ensure you will be submitting a complete application package.
1. When can you apply?
MSLRP application periods begin each January and continue through April, or until program funds are obligated. Graduating students, those in the final year of their residency programs, and providers in transition, may apply during the annual application period once they have an employment agreement to start work at an eligible practice site no later than the following October 1, when new loan repayment agreement period begins. Students with pending licenses may write ‘pending’ in the appropriate space on their Provider Application, Part A.
New mental healthcare providers with at least a master’s degree in one of the eligible disciplines listed in the Program Requirements section, and a limited license, can apply to MSLRP. Mental healthcare providers must, however, be fully-licensed before they are eligible for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP). For example, a limited licensed MSW is eligible for MSLRP, but must wait until they are fully-licensed to be eligible for the NHSC LRP. Visit the MSLRP & The National Health Service Corps site to learn more information about the difference between MSLRP and the NHSC LRP.
2. Finding practice sites eligible for MSLRP
MSLRP does not maintain a list of job openings at eligible practice sites. However, once you read the website to get a better understanding of eligibility requirements, you’ll be able to use the information provided in the Employment Search Resources section to organize your job search and target eligible sites. Once you locate practice sites at which you might want to work, use the HPSA-Find tool to determine which sites are in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) or have HPSA facility designations for your discipline- primary medical, dental, or mental health. Sites must have the right type of HPSA designation for you to participate in the program. Be sure to record the HPSA score for each site. The HPSA number score doesn’t factor into the eligibility for MSLRP, but is very important if your employer suggests that you apply for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.
3. Negotiating with your future employer
It’s important to have an informed and honest discussion with your employer about supporting your future participation in MSLRP. This is necessary because employers are required to contribute 20 percent of their providers’ loan repayment amounts in the MSLRP program. Here are some points to keep in mind when planning your negotiation strategy.
- The best time to negotiate is when you have the most leverage, and you will have more leverage before, than after you are hired.
- Providers may participate in MSLRP for up to eight years and receive up to $200,000, if they have sufficient eligible debt.
- Employer contributions are made in six-month installments, which spreads the cost over multiple budget years.
Your future employer may prefer that you apply to the NHSC LRP. This make sense from an employer’s point of view because the NHSC LRP is 100 percent federally funded and doesn’t require employer contributions. Here are some points for your discussion about the NHSC LRP with your future employer:
- Over the last several application cycles, the NHSC LRP has targeted providers at practice sites with HPSA scores of 14 and above.
- You can apply to MSLRP and the NHSC LRP at the same time, but you can only participate in one program at a time.
- You can participate in either program and then participate in the other, but you must complete your service obligation to one program before participating in the other.
If you have further questions after reading the entire MSLRP website and using the tools in the Employment Search Resources section, contact Ken Miller at MillerK3@michigan.gov or (517) 241-9946. Those asking questions already covered on the website will be asked to complete their reading.