Primary Care Loans
- Apply for
this loan at the student financial aid office of the school where you
are or intend to be enrolled
The Primary Care Loan
program provides long-term, low interest rate loans to full-time, financially
needy students to pursue a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine.
Loans to third and fourth year students may be increased to repay outstanding
balances on other loans taken out while in attendance at that school.
Medical students receiving
a Primary Care Loan must agree to
- enter and complete
residency training in primary care within four years after graduation
- practice in primary
care for the life of the loan
Under this program,
funds are awarded to accredited schools of
- allopathic medicine
- osteopathic medicine
You are eligible to
apply for this loan at a school that participates in the Primary Care
Loan program if you are
- A citizen,
national, or a lawful permanent resident of the United States
or the District of Columbia, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico or the
Marianas Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the American Samoa, the
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Republic
of the Marshall Islands and the Federated State of Micronesia.
What is the
Primary Care Loan Program?
The Primary Care Loan (PCL) program is a low cost federal loan program
for medical students committed to primary health care practice. The interest
rate is 5 percent and begins to accrue following a one year grace period
after you cease to be a full-time student. When compared to other federal
student loans and private loans, the PCL provides significant savings.
The loan also offers deferment of principal and interest not found in
other loan programs.
How much can
Your financial aid office will determine how much you can borrow based
on your eligibility, the amount of PCL funds available at your institution
and other criteria. The maximum award for first- and second- year students
is cost of attendance (including tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable
living expenses). Amounts beyond this may be awarded to third- and fourth-year
How Do I Qualify
for a PCL?
- Be enrolled as
a full-time student in a degree program leading to a doctor of medicine
or doctor of osteopathy
- Be a United States
citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Provide financial
information about your parents
- Demonstrate financial
- Owe no federal
grant refund and be in default on no federal loan
- Maintain good academic
- Register with Selective
Service if required by law
I provide financial information about my parents to obtain a PCL?
To assist schools in allocating limited PCL funds, Health and
Human Services requires parental financial information from all students
to determine financial need without regard to age, tax, marital or independent
Is there a
service requirement for PCL?
YES. You must enter a residency training program in family medicine, internal
medicine, pediatrics, combined medicine/pediatrics, preventive medicine,
or osteopathic general practice.
You must complete your residency program within four years of graduation.
You must practice in primary health care until the loan is paid in full.
What are some
examples of primary health care and non-primary care residency and practice
activities for the PCL Program?
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
Clinical Preventive Medicine
Public Policy Fellowship
Senior Residencies in one of the above
Faculty administrators / policy makers certified
in one of the primary health care disciplines
NON-PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
exceptions to the primary health care service obligation?
YES, however, your loan repayment obligation remains.
Your primary health care service obligation may be waived if you terminate
studies before graduating and do not later resume studies.
Your primary health care service obligation may be suspended for the period
you are not enrolled because you have terminated studies before graduating;
your obligation is resumed when you return to medical school to complete
What if I
do not fulfill the primary care service obligation?
At the point you fail to fulfill your service obligation, the
outstanding loan balance will be computed annually at an interest rate
of 18 percent from the date of noncompliance.
What if I
accept PCL and change my mind about primary health care?
If you are not firmly committed to the practice of primary health
care, you should not accept a PCL.
What if I
want additional certification?
You may obtain additional certification in primary health care
while fulfilling your service obligation, as long as you complete your
primary health care residency program within four years after graduation.
For example, if your primary care residency is completed in three years
after graduation, you may obtain certification in an area of training
to enhance your primary health care practice (i.e., geriatrics) at anytime,
and it will be considered an acceptable activity for fulfillment of your
repayment begin and end?
Repayment begins following a twelve-month grace period after
you cease to be a full-time student.
Interest at 5 percent is computed on the unpaid principal balance and
begins to accrue upon expiration of your grace period unless you are eligible
to defer payment.
Loans are repayable over a period of not less than ten years nor more
than twenty five years, at the discretion of the institution.
of my PCL be deferred?
YES. Up to four years in an eligible primary health care residency
Up to three years as a volunteer under the Peace Corps Act practicing
in an eligible primary health care activity.
Up to three years as a member of a uniformed service. To be eligible for
deferment, you must be on sustained full-time active duty practicing in
an eligible primary health care activity in the Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Corps or the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
of advanced professional training in primary health care.
Is a PCL eligible for consolidation?
PCL is not eligible for consolidation because of the service
to my PCL in the event of death or disability?
Your obligation to repay the loan will be canceled upon receipt
of the required documentation in the event of your death or permanent
and total disability.
I explore whether PCL is right for me?
Talk to primary health care faculty.
Talk to your financial aid office about eligibility and terms and conditions.
Attend primary health care society meetings.