(a) The board shall establish and award, according to the judgment of the board, loans to provide for the training of qualified applicants for admission or students in any accredited master's degree program for physician assistant studies at a medical school or college. The board may permit eligible people to apply for a loan under the Alabama Physician's Assistants Service Program in any scholastic year and for any previously completed scholastic year. The board's awarding of loans shall be done after consultation with the physician's assistant advisory committee of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.
(b) The board may award to an eligible person a loan or loans totaling in value as much as the average in-state tuition and required fees charged at public institutions in Alabama for completing on time a master's degree program for physician assistant studies. But a loan or loans may be awarded only to people who have signed contracts with the board to work following graduation in full-time clinical practice for three years as licensed physician’s assistants in areas of critical need.
A person who has signed such a contract with the board may postpone choosing an area of critical need in which to work to a time set by the board.
(c) Each participant's loan or loans shall be repaid by the participant fulfilling the terms of the contract he or she signed with the board for work in an area of critical need for three years.
(d) The board shall make a careful and thorough investigation of the ability, character, and qualifications of each applicant, and award a loan or loans according to the judgment of the board and the requirements of this article.
(e) A participant, subject to approval by the board, may change the area of critical need where he or she will work to repay loans under this program, but in no case shall the participant work in full-time practice for less than three years in a new area of critical need.