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The National Health Service Corps: Reduce or Pay Off Your School Debt
For more than 50 years, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has been building healthy communities by connecting highly qualified health care providers to underserved areas nationwide. The NHSC provides scholarship and loan repayment to skilled health care workers in exchange for providing health care to high-need rural, urban, and tribal areas that are designated Health Professional Shortage Areas.
NHSC scholarship and loan repayment programs provide a unique career path for service-minded health professionals who want to be part of the communities they serve. More than 20,000 NHSC physicians are currently in the community building trust and long-lasting relationships with over 21 million patients who otherwise may be apprehensive about seeking health care. Over time, these relationships are not only rewarding for the health care provider; they help address health equity and make a difference in the way that the community responds to treatment recommendations. Within their clinics, NHSC health care providers have opportunities to work on integrated care teams and often go on to serve as medical directors or other leadership positions.
The need for health professionals in underserved areas is clear. Nationwide, racial inequities continue to cause health disparities; health care worker shortages are growing; and mental health and substance abuse matters have been on the rise. To address these challenges, the NHSC's programs incentivize clinicians to work in areas of the country that have limited access to care.
The NHSC offers three programs that are designed to offset the expense of education for individuals pursuing health professions in exchange for service in high-need communities:
- Students pursuing primary care health professions training may be eligible to receive full scholarships in exchange for practicing at an NHSC-approved site upon graduation and licensure. The NHSC Scholarship Program typically opens for applications annually in the spring.
Students to Service Loan Repayment Program
- Medical, physician assistant, nursing, and dental students in their final year of school may be eligible to receive loan repayment assistance in exchange for service at an NHSC-approved site. The 2024 National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Students to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) is open for applications. Eligible students can apply for awards of up to $120,000. In exchange, they serve a three-year commitment providing primary care services at NHSC-approved sites in high-need, underserved areas.
- The deadline to submit an application for the NHSC S2S LRP application cycle is December 7, 2023, at 7:30 pm ET. Students who are interested and eligible are encouraged to apply now.
Loan Repayment Program
- Working health professionals may be eligible to receive loan repayment in exchange for service at an NHSC-approved site. The NHSC Loan Repayment Program typically opens for applications annually in the winter and has three offerings with different eligibilities, award amounts, and service requirements – original, rural, and substance use disorder.
Don't miss out on an opportunity to apply to these programs! Sign up and get NHSC email alerts when application cycles open. Please share this information with other health career professionals who may be interested.
The NHSC is a program administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration.