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FAQ: Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (DFLRP)

Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-22-046

Application Process

When I go into the system to apply, I’m getting a message stating “you need to create a workspace or your organization needs to add you to existing.” Can you please provide some guidance?

You need to create a workspace if you’re seeing this message. 

Contact Grants.gov Contact Center (24 hours a day, seven days a week. Closed on federal holidays):
Phone: 800-518-4726
International: 606-545-5035
E-mail: support@grants.gov

When I enter the Funding Opportunity Number on the page titled “Register with Grants.gov as Individual Applicant,” I receive the error message: “Error: Please verify that you have typed your Funding Opportunity Number correctly.” Can you please guide me, so I can get past this error? 

The grant is for Commission on Dental Accredidation (CODA)-accredited organizations. This message appears when an individual applicant tries to apply as an individual faculty member.

Does the SWP count toward the page limit?

No. Standard OMB-approved forms included in the workspace application package in Grants.gov, including the Standardized Work Plan (SWP), do not count in the page limit.

It was unclear whether the work plan should be included in the narrative as well as submitted through the Standardized Work Plan (SWP) form or if only the SWP form should be submitted and the work plan in no way described in the narrative. If the work plan should be included in the narrative, should it take a different form than that submitted through the SWP? If so, how?

Only the Standardized Work Plan (SWP) should be submitted. Reviewers will be instructed to review the SWP form for the work plan review criterion. Cutting and pasting the SWP into your narrative would be duplicative and would count towards your page limit. You may add a comment in your narrative directing readers to your SWP.

Can you elaborate on the Maintenance on Effort (MOE)? Is dedicating FTE slots sufficient or are we expected to have institutional loan repayment programs as a way of MOE?

Maintenance of Effort (MOE) means that you must maintain non-federal funding if you already have an existing Faculty Loan Repayment (FLRP) program and that you cannot use this funds from this award to supplant (replace) that original non-federal funding. Dedicating FTE slots to the program would constitute an “in-kind” effort, which is different from MOE.

Example for MOE: If your institution currently has a loan repayment program and is providing a $50,000 match, funds from this award cannot be used to supplant the $50,000. The institution must continue to maintain its current level of funding contribution for that program after this award is made.

Applying entities are not required to have a loan repayment program in existence.
 

Eligibility

Our university has a single EIN for all of our health professions schools – including two CODA-accredited dental schools located in two different states. Would HRSA consider a single EIN submission that describes how both dental schools meet the NOFO requirements OR are individual schools eligible to apply separately?

HRSA will not consider a single EIN submission that describes how both dental schools meet the NOFO requirement. 

An organization is defined by having a valid Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number or Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), not EIN. 

If your institution has more than one DUNS number or UEI (for example, a separate DUNS number or UEI for predoctoral program and for your pediatric residency), then each organization in the institution could apply separately. Multiple applications from the same organization are not allowed.

Are we eligible for this funding opportunity if our organization does not have any full-time faculty? 

No. You are not eligible for this funding opportunity if your organization does not have any full-time faculty.

I start dental school this fall. I would like to apply for the loan repayment program, am I eligible for this program?

No. Individuals are not eligible to apply. Only CODA-accredited training institutions are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity.

Who can apply for this funding opportunity? Which specialties are eligible for loan repayment? 

Eligible entities are dental or dental hygiene schools and residency or advanced education programs. Individuals are not eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. However, full-time faculty teaching primary care dentistry will be considered for loan repayment internally after the organization establishes its own program.
Primary care dentistry includes:

  • General dentistry
  • Pediatric dentistry
  • Dental public health
  • Dental hygiene

Please encourage your organization to apply for this funding opportunity if it meets the eligibility criteria.

Are dentists working at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) who supervise pediatric residents at a local hospital eligible to apply?

Only CODA-accredited dental or dental hygiene schools and residency or advanced education programs in the practice of general, pediatric, or public health dentistry are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. They will then develop an in-house DFLRP and select the faculty members to receive funding.

Note: Only one application per accredidation will be accepted. If your entity is affiliated with another CODA-approved entity, you must coordinate with them to submit a letter of support in Attachment 8 and accreditation documentation for the relevant training program in Attachment 7, as identified in Section III.1 (page 6) of the NOFO. 

Are prior Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program award recipients eligible for this fiscal year’s program? 

You are not eligible if your organization has applied for either the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (HRSA-18-120) or the FY 2021 Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (HRSA-21-019) and been awarded. 

How can I find out which organizations have been previously awarded through HRSA-18-120 and HRSA-21-019 funding announcements?

Access the HRSA Data Warehouse to look up past award recipients. Under Program Name select “Dental Faculty Loan Repayment (D87)” > under Year, select “2018” and “2021” > hit Submit.
 

Funding Restrictions

Per the NOFO "Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program": "Administrative operating costs (e.g., personnel costs, supplies, other) are limited to $10,000 for year 1 and $5,000 (per year) for Years 2, 3, 4, and 5. Examples of operating costs include, but are not limited to activities associated with selection committee creation, faculty application development, development of the loan repayment contract, final processing of selected faculty into the program, etc. […] HRSA’s Dental Faculty Loan Repayment funds must not be included on the Personnel line item of the federal award […], and fringe costs cannot be charged to the grant based on distributing the loan repayment funds to participating faculty via the payroll mechanism." 

Does it mean that the excert above disallows hiring a new staff member to administer the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program with grant funds?

No. You may hire new staff to administer the program. However, the amount you can allocate toward the personnel, which is considered an administrative expense, is limited to $10,000 for year 1 and $5,000 (per year) for Years 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Note: You may not consider loan repayment as salary or fringe for potential faculty for DFLRP, and the allocated loan repayment funds cannot be listed on Personnel budget line items. The NOFO suggests that you place these funds under “Other” budget line item.

Program-Specific Questions

Does HRSA disburse the funding directly to the faculty or lender?

HRSA will disburse the award funds to the awarded institution. The institution will determine how they make the loan repayments.

HRSA is not prescribing how the institution sets up their Faculty Loan Repayment program, including which method they use to disburse the funds. 

Awardees may reach out to respective lenders and negotiate annual payments on behalf of the faculty or make payments directly to the faculty. You must follow the legislatively-required payment amounts calculated based on the faculty’s debt at the time they enter the program.

Does HRSA provide regulations or guidelines on how to manage a dental faculty’s payment or salary? 

HRSA is not prescribing how the institutions should establish, maintain, or improve a dental Faculty Loan Repayment program including how to develop a contract or which method to use for making annual payment to their dental faculty.

HRSA recommends your program policy include a grievance procedure to resolve any questions from faculty regarding your recipient selections. Consistent selection procedures should be followed any time faculty are enrolled in the program.

Are National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment recipients eligible for this program? 

Faculty are not eligible for DFLRP funds if they are receiving financial support (loan repayment) from another federally funded program requiring the fulfillment of a service commitment that would run concurrently with the contracted DFLRP commitment.

Please refer to page 7 of the NOFO to learn more about restrictions on loan repayment awards.

Are loan repayment funds considered taxable income?

Yes. Loan repayment distributed to faculty is considered taxable income and must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. 

Loan repayment program-participating faculty are responsible for paying the federal, state, and local tax liability. HRSA cannot provide tax advice. 

We encourage you to consult with your financial department or tax attorney for more information.

Can the institution choose to fund only part of the faculty’s student loan debt in order to provide funding to more faculty?

No. The institution can’t choose to fund only part of the student loan debt of its faculty members in order to provide funding to more faculty. 

DFLRP awardees must pay the required percentages (10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, and 30% per year) toward the faculty’s initial loan balance, inclusive of principal and interest calculated at the start of the agreement.

Note: Keep in mind that 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.

Some faculty members have consolidated loans for undergraduate and graduate schools. How does the LRP distinguish between the loans, or does it not matter?

Consolidated loans are allowed if they only contain qualifying educational debt. If non-educational debt (car loans, mortgage debt, etc.) were rolled into the consolidation, no part of the consolidated loan can be included. 

For full disclosure on qualifying and non-qualifying educational loans, please refer to pages 22-23 of the National Health Service Corps (PDF - 696 KB) (NHSC) Application and Program Guidance.

Can the institution implement its own additional years of service in addition to the 12 months of service listed in the NOFO?

No. The institution cannot implement its own additional years of service as it relates to payments of these awards funds. 

The faculty must complete a full 12 months of service after the LRP contract is signed before receiving the loan repayment funds. 

Institutions may not withhold payments for additional months or years of service.

How many faculty members can the institution support with this grant? Is it expected that applicants already know who their loan re-payees will be at the time of application? If not, how will we know the loan amounts? Are only EXISTING faculty eligible for loan re-payment, i.e., no one hired after Year 1 would be eligible to participate?

The number of faculty you fund depends on what their student loan debt is, and what your operating costs are for the program. It is up to the applicant to relay in the application how they forecast the loan amounts. Use the loan repayment template (XLSX - 14 KB) (XLS - 14 KB) to estimate the payments based on different amounts of debt.

Can the first payment be made in August 2023 if a full-time faculty member begins on September 1, 2022 and is selected for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program?

No. The faculty must complete a full 12 months of service under the DFLRP contract before receiving their first loan repayment disbursement. 

HRSA understands that this creates annual carryover requests for loan repayment costs that are incurred in one year, but paid in the next. We will work closely with you to ensure these requests are processed appropriately.

Is the organizational chart for the institution or the project?

The organizational chart refers to the structure of your project and not your institution. Submit the organizational chart as Attachment 3.

Where can the grant performance measures for this NOFO be found?

Here are HRSA’s performance measurement requirements for this program. Scroll down to Oral Health Workforce Development Grants and locate Dental Faculty Loan Repayment (DFLRP) for details.

Can previous faculty in the HRSA Dental Faculty Repayment Program be eligible to participate? 

Yes. Faculty who have previously participated in a HRSA Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program may still participate. 

However, they cannot:

  • Exceed 5 years of participation, including prior history of participation;
  • Deviate from the statutorily prescribed repayment structure and receive more than a total of 100 percent payment (payments from previous program cycles need to be taken into account).

You will need to include their original debt amount on the LRP projections for their continuous participation. See Appendix A, Sample 2 in the NOFO.

Could full-time status include one day of faculty practice or must all days be dedicated to teaching activities?

You must have an internal policy that defines what “full-time” status is, including activities performed. This definition should be consistent across all institutional policies and procedures. You should be using the same definition for DFLRP faculty as other faculty.

Note: Participants must serve as a full-time faculty member within the disciplines of general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, dental public health, or dental hygiene to be eligible.

Are we eligible for this funding opportunity if our organization does not have any full-time faculty? 

No. You are not eligible for this funding opportunity if your organization does not have any full-time faculty.

Does the faculty member have to come from a disadvantaged background and demonstrate need beyond their outstanding loans? 

You decide how to establish and implement a Selection Committee to identify and determine individual loan repayment recipient(s), including likely committee members and a description of the review/scoring process. However, consideration for the rural or disadvantaged background status of individual loan repayment recipients is encouraged to be part of the review/scoring process.

You are also encouraged to identify and select potential faculty who are willing to pursue scholarly activity, precept students and faculty in community-based sites, and have an interest in formal training in teaching methodologies to ensure their long-term commitment and engagement in an academic career.

How can funds be used for faculty retention and recruitment?

Funds can be used toward administrative operating costs (e.g., personnel costs, supplies, or a small part of the project director’s time, and/or the selection committee members’ time could be supported on the grant for their work to operate the program), loan repayment, and indirect costs (IDC).

Faculty development activities cannot be funded through this loan repayment program. Please see the NOFO for restrictions.

Can we include the potential faculty loan recipient positions rather than key personnel? 

No. Include the staffing plan and key personnel on the project even if the effort is in-kind. Reviewers will be instructed to evaluate the staffing plan adequacy to implement the proposed work plan, which is different from the proposed faculty receiving loan repayment.

What is the purpose of the Selection Committee if we know who the faculty are during the application process? Should we list the faculty individuals in the grant and should a biosketch be included for them?

The Selection Committee is required as all eligible faculty must go through the fair selection process to participate in your Dental Faculty Loan Repayment program. You do not have to list any personal identifiable information in relation to that faculty in the application.

You are encouraged to identify and select potential faculty who are:

  • Willing to pursue scholarly activity
  • Precept students and faculty in community-based sites
  • Interested in formal training in teaching methodologies

Note: Biographical sketches need to be included only for key personnel/staff even if the effort is in-kind. You don’t have to include biosketches for the faculty.
 

Priorities and Preference Clarifications

How is the "practice setting serving underserved areas or health disparity populations" defined and what evidence do you need to submit for this priority?

You can search definitions in BHW’s Health Workforce Glossary

Refer to page 27 of the NOFO for qualifications on each priority.

Could you define pediatric dentistry faculty and what are the requirements to meet the pediatric dentistry funding preference? 

Pediatric dentistry faculty must:

  • Have completed a pediatric dental residency, and
  • Have an appointment in a division or department of pediatric dentistry, and
  • Teach in the field of pediatric dentistry at either the predoctoral or postdoctoral residency level.

If you claim a pediatric preference, the pediatric faculty has to be recruited into the program in Year 1.

Does the preference for "pediatric dental faculty" only include pediatric dentists or any faculty (including GP, hygiene, etc.) overseeing pediatric dental curriculum?

The preference for pediatric dental faculty includes only for pediatric dentistry faculty supervising dental students or residents AND providing clinical services in dental clinics located in dental schools, hospitals, and community-based affiliated sites. Please refer to page 30 of the NOFO.

To qualify for the preference, you must provide a concise narrative justification with:

  • The reasoning why you qualify and your ability to recruit and retain pediatric dentistry faculty throughout the entire grant period, and
  • Affirmation that loan repayment will be made to pediatric dentistry faculty, and 
  • Affirmation that these faculty will be supervising residents at dental training institutions that provide clinical services at dental clinics located in dental schools, hospitals, or community-based affiliated sites.
     

Budget and Budget Justification 

Is there a minimum or maximum amount for direct cost?

You must request funding for a project period of five years:

Year 1: up to $100,000
Year 2: up to $150,000
Year 3: up to $200,000
Year 4: up to $250,000
Year 5: up to $300,000

Annual administrative cost restrictions apply. Above amounts include direct and indirect costs. No minimum amount for these costs is required.

How is Indirect Costs Defined? Is $25,000 allocation for contract or subaward per year or all five years?

Indirect cost (IDC) is the cost 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 of this include operating and maintaining facilities, depreciation, etc.

Your agreed federal award indirect F&A rate is not applicable for this program. Indirect costs on training grants are limited to a fixed rate of 8% of MTDC (Modified Total Direct Cost) exclusive of tuition and related fees, direct expenditures for equipment, and subawards in excess of $25,000 (per each subaward or contract). Please refer to page 34, the Indirect Costs section, of HRSA’s SF-424 R&R Application Guide (PDF - 854 KB) document.

Note: If you request more operational funds and IDC, then you will have less money to pay faculty loans. You do not have to claim these expenses if your organization agrees to support them, but you should provide documentation that shows your intent to support these expenses as in-kind.

Do we need to create an annual Faculty Loan Repayment (LRP) chart in our application as described in Appendix A in the NOFO? 

Yes. Your application must also include a projected annual Faculty Loan Repayment (LRP) chart that indicates the number of faculty you plan to support for each year of the project. The work plan review criterion and the budget section refer to the same LRP chart. Attach the LRP chart as Attachment 4.

Is the salary cap applicable to the faculty selected for the loan repayment? 

You may not consider loan repayment as salary or fringe for potential faculty for DFLRP, and the allocated loan repayment funds cannot be listed on Personnel budget line items. You may not reduce or supplant any participating faculty’s salary with loan repayment funds. 

How should we reflect the loan repayment funds on the budget?

Your SF-424 R&R budget form and budget justification should reflect the annual amounts you included on your projected Faculty Loan Repayment chart. You should include these LRP funds under the “Other” budget line item. Do not include LRP funds under “Salary.”

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