Department of Health Opens Applications for Year Two of the State Loan Repayment Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2023

Department of Health Opens Applications for Year Two of the State Loan Repayment Program

PIERRE, S.D. – On Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) will open the 2023 application period for the State Loan Repayment Program. This program is designed to improve access to health care services by assisting underserved communities with the recruitment and retention of care providers.

“This is an important step to ensure access to providers and services to South Dakotans who choose to live and work in rural areas of our state,” said Department of Health Secretary, Melissa Magstadt. “Having assistance and incentives available for healthcare providers is critical to enhancing and growing our pipeline for a stronger healthcare workforce in South Dakota.”

Last year, over 200 applicants applied for the program and 14 received funding. Eighty-six percent of the awardees who received funding work in a behavioral healthcare setting. Eligible disciplines include physician, dentist, dental hygienist, nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, physician assistant, health service psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse specialist, licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, registered nurse, pharmacist, and alcohol/substance abuse counselor.

In 2022, DOH received a 3-year grant in the amount of $1,509,000 to administer the State Loan Repayment Program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Each grant year DOH is allotted $503,000 to award eligible healthcare professions with student loan reimbursement in turn for a 2-year service commitment at an eligible health care practice site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) in South Dakota. 

Applications are available online starting Oct. 2, 2023 at 8 a.m. CST,  and will be reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. The application period will close on Oct. 31, 2023, at 5 p.m. CST. Application requirements include:

  • U.S. Citizen (U.S. born or naturalized) or U.S. national,
  • Licensed to practice in South Dakota,
  • Applying to, accepted to, or currently working at an eligible site that is located in a federally designated HPSA,
  • Unpaid government or commercial loans for school tuition, and reasonable education and living expenses related to the education of the participant,
  • Loans must be segregated from all other debts (that is, not consolidated with non-educational loans).

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, please visit our website.

At the heart of the Department of Health’s mission is a simple yet profound goal: to protect and improve the health of all South Dakotans. The department is entrusted with the vital task of promoting wellness, preventing disease and ensuring access to quality healthcare for all South Dakotans across our great state.