Michigan State Loan Repayment Program to Grant $2.7 Million in Debt Relief

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: December 4, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today announced that 64 primary care providers in Michigan’s underserved areas will each receive up to $50,000 in medical education debt relief under the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP). The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program received a record number of applications this year and more than doubled the number of new participants from last year.

“The goal of the Michigan State Loan Repayment Program is to improve the access to primary care in Michigan by providing loan repayment as an incentive for health providers to live and work in our state,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDCH. “In our continual effort to keep our graduates in Michigan, contributing to Michigan’s comeback, this program is an excellent tool for doing so with healthcare professionals.”

Through this program, employers receive help recruiting and retaining medical, dental and mental health providers in areas of Michigan that most need access to primary care. This year represents the highest volume of applicants, number of awardees and amount of funding provided in the 23-year history of the program. Recent changes to the statute that created the program contributed to this year’s success.

The Michigan State Loan Repayment Program is funded by a federal grant, matched by funding from state funds and a 20 percent contribution from the recipient’s employer. In the past year, the federal funding and the state funding have increased, allowing more providers to participate in the program. The program will provide $2.7 million in debt relief in the current fiscal year and provided $1.59 million in the previous fiscal year.

Michigan passed legislation this year to modernize the program, allowing providers to now be able to participate in MSLRP for up to eight years, where recently there was a four-year cap, and can now receive up to $200,000 in total loan repayment, where the previous cap was $120,000. Increasing participation up to eight years gives providers a strong incentive to remain in their underserved communities.

In order to qualify for the program the applicant must provide primary care in an out-patient setting on a full-time basis in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area. The provider must be a dentist, primary care physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife or psychiatrist.

More information about the MSLRP can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-2945_40012---,00.html.