38 U.S. Code § 7681. Authority for program
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(a) In General.—
As part of the Educational Assistance Program, the Secretary may carry out an education debt reduction program under this subchapter. The program shall be known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Education Debt Reduction Program (hereinafter in this subchapter referred to as the “Education Debt Reduction Program”).
(b) Relationship to Educational Assistance Program.—
Education debt reduction payments under the Education Debt Reduction Program may be in addition to other assistance available to individuals under the Educational Assistance Program.
2010—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 111–163 inserted “and retention” after “assist in the recruitment”.
2001—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 107–14 substituted “hereinafter” for “hereafter”.
Pilot Program for Repayment of Educational Loans for Certain Psychiatrists of Veterans Health Administration
“(a) Establishment.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a pilot program to repay loans of individuals described in subsection (b) that—
“(1) were used by such individuals to finance education relating to psychiatric medicine, including education leading to—
a degree of doctor of medicine; or
a degree of doctor of osteopathy; and
“(2) were obtained from any of the following:
A governmental entity.
A private financial institution.
Any other authorized entity as determined by the Secretary.
“(b) Eligible Individuals.—
“(1) In general.—Subject to paragraph (2), an individual eligible for participation in the pilot program is an individual who—
is licensed or eligible for licensure to practice psychiatric medicine in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs; or
is enrolled in the final year of a residency program leading to a specialty qualification in psychiatric medicine that is approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; and
demonstrates a commitment to a long-term career as a psychiatrist in the Veterans Health Administration, as determined by the Secretary.
“(2) Prohibition on simultaneous eligibility.—
An individual who is participating in any other program of the Federal Government that repays the educational loans of the individual is not eligible to participate in the pilot program.
The Secretary shall select not less than 10 individuals described in subsection (b) to participate in the pilot program for each year in which the Secretary carries out the pilot program.
“(d) Period of Obligated Service.—
The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with each individual selected under subsection (c) in which such individual agrees to serve a period of 2 or more years of obligated service for the Veterans Health Administration in the field of psychiatric medicine, as determined by the Secretary.
“(e) Loan Repayments.—
Subject to paragraph (2), a loan repayment under this section may consist of payment of the principal, interest, and related expenses of a loan obtained by an individual who is participating in the pilot program for all educational expenses (including tuition, fees, books, and laboratory expenses) of such individual relating to education described in subsection (a)(1).
For each year of obligated service that an individual who is participating in the pilot program agrees to serve under subsection (d), the Secretary may pay not more than $30,000 in loan repayment on behalf of such individual.
An individual who participates in the pilot program and fails to satisfy the period of obligated service under subsection (d) shall be liable to the United States, in lieu of such obligated service, for the amount that has been paid or is payable to or on behalf of the individual under the pilot program, reduced by the proportion that the number of days served for completion of the period of obligated service bears to the total number of days in the period of obligated service of such individual.
“(2) Repayment period.—
Any amount of damages that the United States is entitled to recover under this subsection shall be paid to the United States not later than 1 year after the date of the breach of the agreement.
“(1) Initial report.—
Not later than 2 years after the date on which the pilot program under subsection (a) commences, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the pilot program.
“(2) Elements.—The report required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:
The number of individuals who participated in the pilot program, including the number of new hires.
The locations in which such individuals were employed by the Department, including how many such locations were rural or urban locations.
An assessment of the quality of the work performed by such individuals in the course of such employment, including the performance reviews of such individuals.
The number of psychiatrists the Secretary determines is needed by the Department in the future.
“(3) Final report.—
Not later than 90 days before the date on which the pilot program terminates under subsection (i), the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives an update to the report submitted under paragraph (1) and any recommendations that the Secretary considers appropriate.
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section, including standards for qualified loans and authorized payees and other terms and conditions for the making of loan repayments.
The authority to carry out the pilot program shall expire on the date that is 3 years after the date on which the Secretary commences the pilot program.”
Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers From Disadvantaged Backgrounds
“(a) In General.—
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, use the authorities available in [former] section 487E of the Public Health Service Act ([former] 42 U.S.C. 288–5) for the repayment of the principal and interest of educational loans of appropriately qualified health professionals who are from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to secure clinical research by such professionals for the Veterans Health Administration.
Amounts for the repayment of principal and interest of educational loans under this section shall be derived from amounts available to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the Veterans Health Administration for Medical Services.”