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FAQ: Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (DFLRP)

Funding Opportunity Number: HRSA-21-019

Application Process

  1. 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

  2. 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 CODA accredited organizations. This message appears when an individual applicant tries to apply as an individual faculty member.

Eligibility

  1. 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 does 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.

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

    No. Individuals aren’t eligible to apply. Only CODA accredited training institutions are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity.

  3. I am an orthodontist, but my fellowship training is specifically related to treating the pediatric population of cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial anomalies. I also have a PhD and have done research in the topic area. How can I apply?

    This program is for dental schools and residency programs and not individuals. The program offers loan repayment for faculty funded institutions teaching primary care dentistry full-time. 

    Primary care dentistry includes:

    • General dentistry
    • Pediatric dentistry
    • Dental public health
    • Dental hygiene
  4. The dentists at our FQHC supervise AEGD and Pediatric Residents from a residency at the local hospital during their rotations here. The residents are here daily. Are we eligible to apply? 

    Only CODA accredited dental schools and residency programs are eligible to apply for the funding opportunity. They would develop the DFLRP and select the faculty members to receive funding.

    Note: Only one application per accreditation 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 9 and accreditation documentation for the relevant training program in Attachment 5, as identified in Section IV.2.v of the NOFO. 

  5. Can you please confirm that we are as an organization NOT eligible to apply for the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program because we are a prior award recipient? 

    You are not eligible if your organization has applied for either the 2017 Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (HRSA-17-115) or the 2018 Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program (HRSA-18-120) and been awarded. 

Funding Restrictions

  1. Per the NOFO for HRSA-21-019 "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 excerpt above disallows hiring a new staff member to administer the Dental Faculty Loan Repayment Program with grant funds?

    Applicants may budget for administrative expenses (ex., personnel who will be associated with activities to run the program in your organization). There’s a limit to how much you can allocate toward those costs. 

    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

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

    HRSA will be disburse the award funds to the applying 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. 

    You 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 legislative required payment amounts calculated based on the faculty’s debt at the time they enter the program. 

  2. A faculty member in our AEGD program is a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipient. Would they be eligible to receive funding through this program? 

    Faculty members aren’t eligible for DFLRP funds if they’re receiving financial support (LRP) from another federally funded program requiring the fulfillment of a service commitment that would run concurrently with the contracted DFLRP commitment.

  3. Are loan repayment funds considered taxable income?

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

    Loan repayment recipients 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.

  4. 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?

    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, 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.

  5. 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. 

    Refer to page 11 of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) guidelines (PDF - 646 KB) for full disclosure on qualifying and non-qualifying educational loans

  6. In addition to the requirements set by the NOFO for 12 months of service, can the institution implement its own additional years of service?

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

    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.

  7. How many faculty members can the institution support with this grant? Is it expected that applicants will 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.

    You are not required to know who the loan repayment program faculty participants are going to be. Participants may be current employees or potential recruits.

    Applicants must select loan repayment recipient(s) prior to the end of the first budget period of the award (September 1, 2021 - August 31, 2022).

  8. If a full-time faculty starts on September 1, 2021 and is selected for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program, can the first payment be made in August 2022?

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

  9. Should the work plan timeline be included in the narrative or in Attachment 1?

    Submit the work plan as Attachment 1. Your work plan must describe, in detail, the activities or steps to achieve the goals and objectives of your program, such as who is responsible for various activities associated with the development and/or management of your loan repayment program, and include a timeline for each activity. 

    Here is a sample work plan (PDF - 67 KB)

  10. Is the organization chart for the institution or the project?

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

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

    Here are HRSA’s performance measurement requirements for this program.

  12. Our organization has previously received the HRSA grant other than HRSA-17-115 or HRSA-18-120 that required us to develop and maintain Dental Faculty Loan Repayment program. Can we plan to include those participating faculty this time?

    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, and
    • Deviate from the statutorily prescribed repayment structure and receive more than a total of 100% 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.

  13. Could “full time” 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: You have to serve as a full-time faculty member within the disciplines of general dentistry, pediatric dentistry, dental public health, or dental hygiene to be eligible.

  14. We do not have any faculty. We provide direct pediatric services to our patients and our pediatric dentist oversees pediatric dental residents but does not function as faculty. We are an FQHC. Our we eligible for this program since we do not have any faculty?

    You are ineligible for this funding opportunity if your organization does not have any full-time faculty. 

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

    You can decide what to include in the scoring rubric.

    Note: We encourage the Selection Committee to include, as part of its review/scoring process, consideration for individual loan repayment recipients from a rural or disadvantaged background. 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.

  16. Can you comment about using the funds for faculty retention and well as 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.

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

  17. The NOFO indicates that the staffing plan job descriptions should include key personnel. For the DFLRP, however, since we are not requesting funding for key personnel, it seems to make more program sense to include job descriptions for the prospective faculty positions who would be loan repayment recipients. The page limitation makes strategy important. If we include the potential faculty loan recipient positions rather than key personnel, will that be considered non-responsive?

    Include the staffing plan and key personnel on the project, even if the effort is in-kind. Reviewers will look for who is implementing the project, which is different from the proposed faculty receiving repayment.

  18. 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

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

    You can search definitions in BHW’s Health Workforce Glossary

    Refer to page 23 of the NOFO for qualifications on each priority.

  2. Could you define pediatric dentistry faculty and talk about the experience required to meet the peds dentistry funding preference? Must they supervise residents to qualify our application for the pediatric funding preference or is predoc enough?

    Pediatric dentistry faculty are:

    • Individuals who have completed a pediatric dental residency
    • Have an appointment in a division or department of pediatric dentistry
    • Teach in the field of pediatric dentistry at either the predoctoral or postdoctoral residency level.
  3. Does the preference for 'pediatric dental faculty' only include pediatric dentists or any faculty (including GP, hygiene, etc.) overseeing pediatric dental curriculum?

    At least one proposed faculty for the loan repayment has to supervise dental students or residents and provide clinical services at eligible sites to qualify

    You must provide a concise narrative justification as to why you qualify, affirm that loan repayment will be made to pediatric dentistry faculty and affirm that this faculty will be supervising residents at an eligible site.

Budget and Funding

  1. Is there a minimum or maximum amount for direct cost?

    You must request funding for a project period of 5 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 cost. There is no minimum amount for these costs required.

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

    Indirect costs are costs that are not directly accountable to the project but necessary for the operation of the organization. Examples include operating and maintaining facilities, depreciation, etc. IDC is capped at 8%.

    Indirect costs on training grants are limited to a fixed rate of 8% of MTDC 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, Indirect Costs section, of the HRSA’s SF-424 R&R Application Guide (PDF - 880 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. 

  3. 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. Do not reduce or supplant any participating faculty’s salary with loan repayment funds.

  4. I see the NOFO has Appendix A with a chart sample. Do I need to create one as well for the application? 

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

    Note: The Work plan itself needs to be submitted as Attachment 1.

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

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

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