Health Professions Student Loan Program (HPSL) and Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)

The Health Professions Student Loan Program (HPSL) and the Loans for Disadvantaged Students Program (LDS) are long-term, low-interest rate, need-based federal loan programs designed to encourage increased participation of disadvantaged populations in the health professions. The programs are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Professions, and are available to students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University.

What do the Health Professions Student Loan and Loans for Disadvantaged Students provide?

Health Professions Student Loans and Loans for Disadvantaged Students are awarded to students who demonstrate financial need and meet awarding criteria. The amount of HPSL or LDS funds awarded to a student plus the amount of the student's expected family contribution (EFC), including parent contribution, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. There is no lifetime aggregate maximum under this program.

Please note: Due to limited funding, Mercer University may not be able to award the maximum allowable by HPSL or LDS guidelines.

Summary of terms

Terms and conditions of these programs are subject to change; therefore, you should refer to your promissory note(s) for the specific terms that apply to your loan(s).

  • The interest rate is currently 5% annually
  • It carries no origination and guarantee fees
  • Repayment of principal and interest begins twelve months after graduation, withdrawal, or the commencement of less than full-time enrollment
  • No interest accumulates while enrolled full-time or during the one-year grace period
  • In cases of economic hardship, payments may be deferred, extended, or reduced
  • The loan is forgiven in case of permanent disability or death
  • You may be allowed up to 10 years to repay loans
  • HPSL and LDS may be consolidated with Stafford Loans for repayment purposes

The loan offers deferment of pricipal and interest while the borrower:

  1. Serves on active duty as a member of a uniformed service of the United States, for up to three years;
  2. Serves as a volunteer under the Peace Corps Act, for up to three years;
  3. Pursues advanced professional training, including internships and residencies;
  4. Pursues a full-time course of study at a health professions school eligible for participation in the HPSL program;
  5. Leaves the institution, with the intent to return to the institution as a full-time student, to engage in a full-time educational activity which is directly related to the health profession for which the borrower is preparing, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary), for up to two years; and participates in a fellowship training program or a full-time educational activity which is directly related to the health profession for which the borrower prepared at the institution, and is engaged in by the borrower within 12 months after completion of the borrower’s participation in advanced professional training described in (C) above or prior to the completion of the borrower’s participation in such training, for up to two years

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Eligibility for HPSL and LDS programs is determined by the Financial Aid Office and is based on information provided in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who want to apply for these funds must meet each of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Enroll as a full-time student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program; be in good standing and meet SAP requirements
  • Report parent income and asset information on the FAFSA even if an independent student
  • Be a citizen, national, or a lawful permanent resident of the United States or the District of Columbia, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico or the Marianas Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the American Samoa, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated State of Micronesia
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Not have unresolved defaults or overpayments owed on Title IV educational loans and grants
  • Satisfy all Selective Service Act requirements

In addition, students applying for Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) funds must be from a disadvantaged background as defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). See application for additional information.

What is the process for applying?

Loans are awarded by the Office of Financial Planning. Once you have accepted the award, all further administration of the loan is provided by the Student Loan Office (Macon). The Student Loan Office will notify you by email to provide additional information and to complete a Promissory Note. In addition, the Federal regulations mandate that the University provide various disclosures prior to the loans funds being disbursed to your student account. Loan proceeds will not disburse until all requirements are completed online.

Disbursements of Funds

Funds will credit first to your Mercer bill and any excess funds will be processed based on your selected refund method.

Exit Interview

Students who graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time enrollment are required to complete an exit interview to understand their rights and responsibilities and repayment terms.

If you meet eligibility requirements and have questions about applying, contact:

Shoshanna Henry 
Director of Atlanta and RAC Financial Planning
Office of Student Financial Planning
3001 Mercer University Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-4155
(678) 547-6444