Overview of Submitting an LRP Reference Letter (For Referees/Mentors)

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Submitting a Reference Letter for an LRP Applicant

Replacing a Previously Submitted Reference Letter for an LRP Applicant

Overview for Mentors/Referees who are submitting a reference letter for an LRP Applicant

If a person applies for the NIH Loan Repayment Program (LRP), part of the LRP applicant's process is to have mentors and colleagues (i.e., "referees") submit reference letters on behalf of the applicant. You might receive an email from the NIH Loan Repayment Program or from a colleague asking you to submit a reference letter in support of their LRP application.

This help topic contains instructions for submitting letters on behalf of an LRP applicant. The letters must be submitted according to the LRP application due dates (for due dates, ask the applicant or see the bottom of this web page: https://www.lrp.nih.gov/eligibility-programs).

A minimum of three reference letters (7,500 character/2-page limit) are required for an LRP applicant, and no more than five will be accepted. For mentored research scientists, one of the reference letters must be from the mentor. It is important to understand if you are the research mentor or a referee, which the LRP applicant can clarify.

Are you a Referee or a Mentor?

Referee/Recommender: Persons who submit a letter on the LRP applicant's behalf. They receive a personal communication from the LRP applicant asking for a reference letter. For more information on referees/recommenders, see Referees/Recommenders.

Mentor/Research Supervisor: Persons who help advise LRP applicant on research activities and verify those activities with NIH LRP. They have a formal mentor relationship with the LRP applicant and mentors receive an email from NIH LRP asking for a reference letter. For more information on mentors, see Mentors.

Mentors Receive an Email from NIH LRP

LRP applicants specify the mentor in the LRP application that they submit to NIH (via ASSIST). They do NOT specify the referees. Mentors receive an automated email asking them to submit a reference letter, which includes the URL to access the reference letter submission portal and instructions.

Referees Receive a Personal Communication from the LRP Applicant

Referees do not receive this automated email; therefore the LRP applicant must personally communicate through email or another method to referees, asking them for a reference letter and providing them their (the LRP applicant's) eRA Commons ID and the URL below for the reference letter submission portal.

URL to Reference Letter Portal


Both mentors and referees access the above URL to submit a reference letter for the LRP applicant.

After a reference letter submission, the mentor or referee receives an email with a reference letter submission confirmation number. To replace and resubmit a letter, they need to retain this confirmation number.

IMPORTANT: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) applicants: If you are applying to the General Research LRP for ACGME Fellows, Division of Loan Repayment (DLR, which manages the LRP) will receive your reference letters through the NIH ACGME fellowship office - ASSIST will not require or accept reference letters for ACGME applications.

IMPORTANT: Consult the following for LRP policy guidance, including assistance on each field on the LRP application forms:
Instruction Guide for Extramural LRP Applicants:

Instruction Guide for Intramural LRP Applicants:
Also see the LRP website: