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 Application Period Update and the Participant Information and Requirements section, as well as all application forms and instructions. 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?

You may apply during the first full week in February. The best strategy for being awarded is to start working on your application forms early, make sure they are 100% complete, and drop them into the mail box on the morning of the first day of the application period. The postmark is what matters, not how soon it arrives at the MSLRP Office, so sending an application through an express mail service will not improve your chances of being awarded. You will find more information about applicant priority status, lottery numbers and rank ordering, as well as the screening and review process on the MSLRP website.

Graduating students, physicians 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 agreements begin. Students with pending licenses may write ‘pending’ in the appropriate space on their Provider Application, Part A.

Graduating mental healthcare providers with at least a master’s degree and a limited license are eligible to apply to MSLRP. Licenses must be for one of the eligible disciplines listed in the Eligibility and Program Requirements section of the website. 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.

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. When 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 is important if your employer suggests that you apply for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program.

3. Negotiating with your future employer

You must have an informed and honest discussion with your employer about sponsoring your future participation in MSLRP, because they will be required to contribute 20 percent of your loan repayment agreement amount. Here are some points to keep in mind when planning your discussion with your employer.

  • 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 makes 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 16 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.