The following are twenty-two of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (DFLRP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) HRSA-18-120.
Q1. Why does the error message “please verify that you have typed your Funding Opportunity Number correctly” display after entering the Funding Opportunity Number on the page titled “Register with Grants.gov as Individual Applicant?”
A: This funding opportunity is for Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) accredited training institutions only and not for individual faculty members. The accredited institution would have to apply for the NOFO.
Q2. Can individual departments apply for the funding opportunity or does the university have to apply on its behalf?
A: If the department has its own Employer Identification Number (EIN), then it can submit an application as a department. If it shares an EIN with the university, then submit the application under the university’s Grants.gov account.
The department should work closely with the administration and the business or financial officials of the institution.
Note: If two departments, sharing an EIN, apply for the funding opportunity, only the last submitted application that HRSA receives will be accepted. We encourage departments to collaborate with each other at your institution.
A: No. This funding opportunity is for CODA-accredited institutions to provide loan repayment to full-time dental faculty members only.
Q4. The dentists at our Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) supervise Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) and Pediatric residents from a CODA-accredited program at the local hospital daily. Is our FQHC eligible to apply for this NOFO?
A: Only CODA accredited programs are eligible to apply for the NOFO. Since the accredited residency programs are at the local hospital, the FQHC would not be eligible to apply.
The accredited organization would have to apply for the funding opportunity. If awarded, and if the dentists at the FQHC met the eligibility requirements of the NOFO, the institution can choose to select the FQHC faculty to receive loan repayment.
Q5. A faculty member in our AEGD program is a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment recipient. If our institution receives the DFLRP award, would that faculty member be eligible to receive funding?
A: Recipients of the DFLRP funds cannot receive financial support from another federally-supported program requiring the fulfillment of a service commitment that would run concurrently with the contracted DFLRP commitment.
Q6. If a faculty member was previously an NHSC recipient but still has student loan debt, are they eligible to receive DFLRP funding?
A: Yes. If the faculty member completed their service commitment then they are eligible to receive funding. They must not have defaulted on their service obligation to NHSC.
A: Yes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers loan repayment as taxable income and it must be reported to the IRS. Loan repayment recipients are responsible for paying the federal, state, and local tax liability.
HRSA cannot provide tax advice. We encourage the institution to consult with its financial department or tax attorney for more information.
A: HRSA will make grant awards to the applying institution. The institution determines how they disburse the loan repayment funds.
We do not prescribe how the institution sets up their Faculty Loan Repayment Programs, including which method they use to disburse the funds.
Q9. Can the institution choose to fund only part of the student loan debt of its faculty members in order to provide funding to more faculty?
A: No. The awardee of the funding opportunity must pay the required percentages (10, 15, 20, 25, and 30% per year) towards the faculty’s total eligible student loan balance, inclusive of principle and interest calculated at the start of the agreement. (See page 5 of the NOFO).
Keep in mind, faculty initiating agreements in later years will not receive five years of annual payments due to this structured repayment schedule and the 5-year project period of the grant.
Q10. In addition to the requirements in the NOFO for 12 months of service, can the institution implement its own additional years of service?
A: No, as specifically prescribed in the law, the faculty member must complete a full 12 months of service after the initiation of the DFLRP contract before they receive the disbursement. Institutions may not withhold payments for additional months or years of service.
A: It varies. This NOFO provides funding for institutions to develop and implement a loan repayment for five years.
The maximum funding amount starts at $100,000 in year one and increases by $50,000 per year in years two through five. The mandatory repayment for the student loan debt starts at 10% in year one and increases by 5% per year in years two through five.
How many faculty you support depends on the amount of the faculty member’s student loan debt and the operating costs for your program.
Q12. Can the institution disburse the funds in August 2019 for a faculty member selected to receive the funding on September 1, 2018?
A: No, the faculty member must complete a full 12 months of service after the initiation of the DFLRP contract before they receive the disbursement.
Q13. A faculty member has been teaching full-time at our institution for two years. Can they receive the disbursement as soon as the institution receives the funds?
A: No, the faculty member must complete a full 12 months of service after the selection committee chooses them as a recipient and after the initiation of the DFLRP contract before receiving DFLRP funds.
Q14. On page 8 of the NOFO, it states that a loan repayment chart be included in Attachment 1. The directions for Attachment 1 on page 12 states to attach a work plan that accounts for all the information in the narrative. Is Attachment 1 a work plan or loan repayment chart?
A: It is both. The work plan must describe in detail, the activities or steps to achieve the goals and objectives of your program, including who is responsible for the activities and a timeline that estimates the time to carry out each of these steps.
The work plan must include a projected annual loan repayment chart that clearly indicates the number of faculty you plan to support through loan repayment for each year of the grant.
A: Submit the work plan with the timeline estimated to carry out each activity as Attachment 1. (See page 8 of the NOFO for further instructions).
A: The organizational chart refers to the structure of the project, not the applicant organization. Submit the chart as Attachment 3.
A: There is no minimum for direct costs. You must request funding for a project period of five years, at no more than the following amounts in total costs (direct and indirect) for each year of the award:
- Year 1: $100,000
- Year 2: $150,000
- Year 3: $200,000
- Year 4: $250,000
- Year 5: $300,000
A: Indirect costs (IDC) are costs incurred for common or joint objectives that cannot be readily and specifically identified for the project but are necessary to the operation of the organization.
Examples include: operating and maintaining facilities, depreciation, etc.
The IDC rate cannot exceed 8%. The more operational and IDCs you request, the less money you will have available to pay on faculty loans.
You do not have to claim these expenses if your organization agrees to support them. You should provide documentation that shows your intent to support operational and IDCs. There is no minimum amount for these costs required.
A: We are meeting to determine the data elements associated with the DFLRP.
We will include data on your faculty demographics and teaching activities. A full reporting manual will be available in 2019 prior to the July 31 due date.
Q20. What happens if a recipient goes on disability or maternity leave during the program, but they return during in the same year?
A: HRSA does not prescribe specific leave limits or caps for maternity, FMLA, or other circumstances. The faculty’s service obligation to your institution should be clearly stated in their service agreement, including any permitted leave. You should have human resource policies in place at your institution regarding allowed leave.
HRSA will typically defer to your institutional policies, provided the institution applies the policies consistently for all supported faculty. Policies and procedures must be applied uniformly to both federally financed and other activities of your institution. Contact your HRSA project officer regarding any faculty who leave the program before completion.
Q21. Is the recipient committed to staying at that institution for the full five years; or, can the agreement be renewed with them on an annual basis?
A: The initial agreement with selected candidates should be for the full five-year project period. You should only consider removal of individual participants from the program if the individual has not fulfilled their contractual obligation to serve as a participant.
A: Ideally, the same person(s) will receive the funding for the full five years, as the intent of the NOFO is to recruit and retain faculty members. However, we understand that sometimes this is not possible and therefore, there is some flexibility within the grant.
If the faculty member leaves before their five-year obligation is complete, the organization may select an alternate faculty member(s), provided individual(s) has/have been cleared through the same review and selection process as any previously-selected candidates.
Any participant who leaves the program before their 12 months of service obligation has been fulfilled would not receive any LRP funding for that year. Finally, keep in mind that recipients selected in subsequent years of the grant would start at the year one repayment rate of 10%.
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