Friday, July 13, 2012

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students in Health and Behavioral Research

When we think of federal scholarships, we think of the Department of Education.  And while a lot are there, some nuggets remain in other parts of the fed.  The Department of Health and Human Services is one of these.  A whole list of their goodies, including education loan forgiveness, loan programs and service repayment programs are here. 

But don't we all want scholarships, the kind you just get and don't have to repay?  Here's a couple; the first is a program for students in health, allied health, and veterinary programs, and it's for disadvantaged students.  What does that mean? According to HHS, it means:
"one who comes from an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school, or from a program providing education or training in an allied health profession; or comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary, HHS, for use in health professions and nursing programs.”  In other words, poor people. 

The trick in finding this scholarship is that while the money comes from the federal government, you don't apply there.  Grants are given to accredited schools, and you apply for the money there.  So the trick is to find out if a school that you are attending, or want to attend, has this grant.  See the financial aid page of the school you are attending to see if they offer this. 

The second is a grant for undergrad students in biomedical,behavioral, and social science health-related research from disadvantagedbackgrounds, and you apply directly from the National Institute of Health.  It's a biggie (up to $20,000 a year in student expenses), but highly competitive (only 15 are given a year), and it's aimed at people who have a strong desire to do research.  The FAQ, including the definition of disadvantaged, is here.  And the form to certify your financial need is here


Anonymous said...

Might want to take a hard look at how financial aid money is actually awarded. When you are a nontraditional student (e.g. not living off mommy and daddy anymore) your financial status per FAFSA is based on your previous year's tax return. Does not take into account what's going on NOW. You now may be living in complete destitution but if you had more than even a 12k income in 2011 you are considered ineligible for grants; if you are over 50 no one will loan to you privately and the average govt student loans (if any still available for 2012 academic year) amortize out as being worth about $150 a month to cover everything - tuition, books, fees, and all living expenses. And NO guarantee of getting employed afterward. Also please note that the so-called Rural Incentive programs for all types of health care providers to be partially or fully "forgiven" their student debts if practicing in rural areas - those programs simply have not been funded by most states. Federal money is tied to contributing or matching state funds and the states are broke. The entice students into these programs with patently false promises leaving students still responsible for extortionate student loans with no way to pay.

Linda Koss said...

You raise some really good points. The money is not necessarily a reflection on how you are living right now. And often, if you're an older worker, it's harder to get loans. And the problem of state funding is tough for any federal program. Not all states take the federal money, or may take it and spend it for something else. Finally, there is no guarantee of getting a job, as you say. You need to look carefully at 1) your school's costs and 2) the demand for the job and 3) whether the school will in fact prepare you to get certified (if that's required). I dealt with that in a previous post ( Law schools are coming under heavy criticism right now for creating deceptive information about the employment of their grads.