Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program Changing Jobs, Breaching the Contract, Suspension & Waiver
2012 Application is Closed. No New Applications Will Be Accepted Until the 2013 Application Opens.
- Applicants who submitted complete application packages will be notified, whether or not they are selected for funding, no later than October 31.
- Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.
- Sign up to receive e-mail notification when the 2013 Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program application opens.
What steps do I need to take if I want to transfer to a different Critical Shortage Facility or school of nursing prior to completing my service?
NELRP expects that a participant will fulfill his or her obligation at the initial CSF or school of nursing; however, NELRP does understand that circumstances may arise that require a participant to leave the initial facility or school of nursing and complete service at another approved site. If a participant feels he or she can no longer continue working at the facility or school of nursing, the participant should contact the NELRP immediately through the BCRS Program Portal, phone (1-800-221-9393), or email (email@example.com). If the participant leaves his/her service site without prior written approval of the NELRP, he/she may be placed in default.
How do I request a transfer to another facility or school of nursing?
If a participant needs a transfer to another site, the participant must notify the NELRP through the BCRS Program Portal before leaving the facility or school of nursing. The request should include: (a) the reason for the transfer; (b) a letter/certification from the facility or school of nursing where the participant is requesting to transfer to (i.e., the new site) verifying the facility type and indicating if the facility or school is a private nonprofit, private for-profit, or public/government-owned. Please note that if the facility or school of nursing is private for-profit, the transfer request will not be approved, as NELRP participants must fulfill their service commitment at a public or private nonprofit critical shortage facility or eligible school of nursing. (See page 7 for qualifying service sites.)
Participants will receive an official decision from the NELRP regarding the approval or denial of a transfer request. Leaving the approved service site without prior NELRP approval will result in immediate suspension of payments until the NELRP: (a) receives all required forms and supporting documentation verifying the transfer site’s status and the participant’s full-time employment, and (b) approves the participant’s transfer request.
The following are additional requirements applicable to transfer requests:
- Participants who are awarded in FY 2012 and sign a contract to serve at a CSF must transfer to a CSF that falls in one of the funding preference tiers under which NELRP made awards during the FY 2012 application cycle. Participants should contact NELRP to ensure that the site they are interested in transferring to is an approvable CSF.
- Participants who were awarded prior to FY 2012 and signed a contract to serve at a CSF may transfer to a CSF as defined in the fiscal year they were awarded or a CSF as defined in this FY 2012 Guidance.
- Participants who sign a contract to serve as nurse faculty at a school of nursing must transfer to another eligible school of nursing.
- NELRP payments will not be interrupted if there is a break in service between the initial site and the approved transfer site of less than 30 days. However, if the participant fails to resume service within 30 days of the stop-work date at the initial facility or school of nursing, the NELRP will stop all loan repayments. Once the participant begins full-time service at another approved CSF or school of nursing, the service end date will be extended accordingly and loan repayments will resume;
- If a participant ceases full-time employment at the initial site and does not resume service at an eligible approved facility or school of nursing within 60 days, the participant will be recommended for default.
Breaching the Contract
What if I breach my NELRP contract?
The NELRP encourages participants to immediately contact the NELRP if a situation arises in which a participant is potentially unable to fulfill his/her service obligation. The NELRP will work with participants to assist them to the extent possible to avoid a breach and fulfill the service obligation. A participant who breaches the NELRP contract by failing to begin or complete the required NELRP service obligation will be placed in default. The following applies to those who breach their NELRP contract:
- Breach of Initial Contract. A participant who fails to begin or complete his/her initial two-year contract is liable to repay all the NELRP payments received (including amounts withheld for Federal taxes), plus interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate from the date of the participant’s breach. Breach of contract will permanently disqualify the individual from receiving future awards under the NELRP and some other Federal programs.
- Breach of Continuation Contract. A participant who enters into a one-year continuation contract but fails to begin or complete his/her obligation is liable to repay all the NELRP payments received for the third year of service (including amounts withheld for Federal taxes), plus interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate from the date of the participant’s breach. Breach of contract will permanently disqualify the individual from receiving future awards under the NELRP and some other Federal programs.
Any indebtedness owed to the Federal government is due within three years of the participant’s service breach date. The debt amount will be subject to interest at the maximum legal prevailing rate from the date of the breach until paid in full. Other charges and penalties for delinquent or past due payments may be assessed.
Suspension and Waiver
What should I do if I cannot continue my service or payment obligation?
The Secretary of Health and Human Services may, under certain circumstances, suspend (put “on hold”) or waive (excuse) the NELRP service or payment obligation. A request for a suspension or waiver must be submitted through the BCRS Program Portal. Additional supporting documentation will be required following submission of the request.
- Suspension. This mechanism provides temporary relief to a NELRP participant if he/she has short-term (not permanent) circumstances that currently make compliance with the obligation impossible or would involve an extreme hardship such that enforcement of the obligation would be unconscionable. Periods of approved suspension will extend a participant’s NELRP service obligation end date.
All periods of time away from the approved facility or school of nursing should be documented by the participant’s service site on the six-month service verification form. If the total time away from the site, including the period of suspension, exceeds 7 weeks (28 work days) per service year (see Service Requirements), the service obligation end date will be extended accordingly.
The major categories of service suspensions are set forth below.
- Leave of Absence for Medical or Personal Hardship – A suspension may be granted for up to one year, if the participant provides independent medical documentation of a physical or mental health disability, or personal hardship, including a terminal illness of an immediate family member, which results in the participant’s temporary inability to perform the NELRP obligation. Upon receipt of the suspension request, the NELRP will notify the participant of instructions for submitting supporting documentation.
- Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Leave –Participants must notify the NELRP of pending maternity/paternity/adoption leave and provide appropriate documentation. Maternity/paternity/adoption leave of 12 weeks or less will be automatically approved, if properly documented. If the participant’s maternity/paternity/adoption leave will exceed 12 weeks during that service year, a suspension may be granted by the NELRP based on documented medical need or if additional parental leave time is permitted under State law.
- Call to Active Duty in the Armed Forces – Participants who are also military reservists and are called to active duty will be granted a suspension, for up to one year, beginning on the activation date described in the reservist’s call to active duty order. In addition to the written request for a suspension, a copy of the order to active duty must be submitted to NELRP. The suspension will be extended if the applicable Armed Forces entity continues the period of active duty. The period of active military duty will not be credited toward the NELRP service obligation.
- Waiver. A waiver permanently relieves the participant of all or part of the NELRP obligation. A waiver will be granted only if the participant demonstrates that compliance with his/her obligation (a) is permanently impossible or (b) would involve an extreme hardship such that enforcement of the obligation would be unconscionable. A request must be submitted in writing to the NELRP and must specify the reason(s) the waiver is being sought. The participant will be contacted directly by the NELRP regarding the medical and financial documentation necessary to process the waiver request. Please note that waivers are not routinely granted, and require a demonstration of compelling circumstances.
When would my service obligation be cancelled?
A participant’s obligation will be cancelled only in the unfortunate event of death. No liability will be transferred to the participant’s heirs.
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