What is the Primary Care Loan Program?
The Primary Care Loan (PCL) program is a low cost federal loan program for medical
students committed to primary health care practice. The interest rate is 5 percent and
begins to accrue following a one-year grace period after you cease to be a full-time
student. When compared to other federal student loans and private loans, the PCL provides
significant savings. The loan also offers deferment of principal and interest not found in
other loan programs.
How much can I borrow?
Your financial aid office determines how much you can borrow based on your
eligibility, the amount of PCL funds available at your institution and other criteria. The
maximum award for first- and second- year students is cost of attendance (including
tuition, educational expenses, and reasonable living expenses). Amounts beyond this may be
awarded to third- and fourth-year students.
How Do I qualify for a PCL?
• You must be enrolled as a full-time student in a degree program leading to a doctor of
medicine or doctor of osteopathy.
• You must be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
• You must provide financial information about your parents.
• You must demonstrate financial need.
• You must not owe a federal grant refund or be in default on any federal loan.
• You must maintain good academic standing.
• You must register with Selective Service if required by law.
Why must I provide financial information about my parents to obtain a PCL?
To assist schools in allocating limited PCL funds, Health and Human Services requires
parental financial information from all students to determine financial need without
regard to age, tax, marital or independent status.
What is the service requirement for PCL?
• You must enter a residency training program in family medicine, internal medicine,
pediatrics, combined medicine/pediatrics, preventive medicine, or osteopathic general
• You must complete your residency program within four years of graduation.
• You must practice in primary health care until the loan is paid in full.
What are some examples of primary health care and non-primary care residency and
practice activities for the PCL Program?
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE ACCEPTABLE
• Clinical Preventive Medicine
• Occupational Medicine
• Public Health
• Public Policy Fellowship
• Senior Residencies in one of the above
• Faculty administrators / policy makers certified in one of the primary health care
• Adolescent Medicine
• Adolescent Pediatrics
• Sports Medicine
NON-PRIMARY HEALTH CARE NON- ACCEPTABLE
• Emergency Medicine
• Rehabilitation Medicine
Are there exceptions to the primary health care service obligation?
YES, however, your loan repayment obligation remains.
Your primary health care service obligation may be waived if you terminate studies before
graduating and do not later resume studies.
Your primary health care service obligation may be suspended for the period you are not
enrolled because you have terminated studies before graduating; your obligation is resumed
when you return to medical school to complete your studies.
What if I do not fulfill the primary care service obligation?
At the point you fail to fulfill your service obligation, the outstanding loan balance
will be computed at an interest rate of 18 percent from the date of noncompliance,
What if I accept PCL and change my mind about primary health care?
If you are not firmly committed to the practice of primary health care, you should not
accept a PCL.
What if I want additional certification?
You may obtain additional certification in primary health care while fulfilling your
service obligation, as long as you complete your primary health care residency program
within four years after graduation. For example, if your primary care residency is
completed in three years after graduation, you may obtain certification in an area of
training to enhance your primary health care practice (i.e., geriatrics) at anytime, and
it will be considered an acceptable activity for fulfillment of your service obligation.
However, you may not do additional training or obtain certification in any non-primary
health care sub-specialty.
When does repayment begin and end?
Repayment begins following a twelve-month grace period after you cease to be a
Interest at 5 percent is computed on the unpaid principal balance and begins to accrue
upon expiration of your grace period unless you are eligible to defer payment.
Loans are repayable over a period of not less than ten years nor more than twenty-five
years, at the discretion of the institution.
What are the payment deferment options for my PCL?
Up to four years in an eligible primary health care residency program.
Up to three years as a volunteer under the Peace Corps Act practicing in an eligible
primary health care activity.
Up to three years as a member of a uniformed service. To be eligible for deferment, you
must be on sustained full-time active duty practicing in an eligible primary health care
activity in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration Corps or the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
For periods of advanced professional training in primary health care.
Is a PCL eligible for consolidation?
PCL is not eligible for consolidation because of the service obligation.
What happens to my PCL in the event of death or disability?
Your obligation to repay the loan will be canceled upon receipt of the required
documentation in the event of your death or permanent and total disability.
Who do I contact about the status of my PCL?
The CWRU Student Loan Office will administer this loan throughout your repayment
Send Correspondence to our office address:
CWRU Student Loan Office
407 YOST HALL
10900 EUCLID AVE.
CLEVELAND, OH 44106-7041
Send Payments to our Lock box:
CLEVELAND, OH 44191-0070