How We Calculate NHSC Scholar Placement Scores

Each year, we publish a Scholar Placement Score. NHSC-approved sites must meet or exceed this minimum HPSA score to hire a scholar.

What do you consider when you calculate the score?

We consider

  • written laws;
  • the number of NHSC scholars ready for service; and
  • data on available positions.

How do you calculate the Scholar Placement Score?

We follow three steps to calculate the score.

  1. NHSC scholars ready for service + all entities with openings for eligible scholars.
    Entities must post vacancies on the Health Workforce Connector.
  2. We rank the entities by highest-to-lowest HPSA score.
    We do this until the list of entities reflects the mandated 2:1 ratio of entities-to-scholars.
  3. We use the HPSA score of the last entity on the list where there is a 2:1 ratio to set the score for that cycle.

How do you complete the steps?

We look at each HPSA discipline and provider type separately; then all provider types within each discipline; and finally all the disciplines and provider types together.

This provides three options for the score.

  • Option 1: Different scores for each discipline.
  • Option 2: Different scores for each provider type.
  • Option 3: A single overall score for all NHSC scholars.

We determine the final score(s) using these options.

Where do you publish the final score(s)?

We publish it at Review Site HPSA Score and Job Search Requirements for NHSC Scholars.

Do you ever combine these options?

Yes. Sometimes we calculate a single score that covers most scholars, with a different score for one or two provider types.

Why would you combine these options?

We combine options when there are very few vacancies on the Health Workforce Connector for a particular provider type.

Certified nurse midwives (CNMs) had a lower score than the other provider types because only a few entities posted CNM vacancies.

Can I hire a scholar?

If you meet the current year's HPSA score requirement, you’re eligible to hire a scholar. This applies to any of your matching vacancies at all eligible sites.

How does the entity-to-scholar ratio affect scholars?

The law requires the entity-to-scholar ratio not exceed 2:1. However, the vacancy-to-scholar ratio is higher than the 2:1 NHSC entities-to-scholar ratio, giving scholars wider choices for placement.

For the current year’s cycle at the time of calculation:

  • Available psychiatrists = 20
  • Full-time psychiatrist vacancies = 108 (posted on the Health Workforce Connector at the time NHSC calculated the Scholar Placement Score)


Entity– an institution, group, health center system with multiple satellite sites, or single facility. Entities may have many sites and multiple open vacancies.

Site– a single health care delivery facility. A site may be a group practice, satellite, or private practice.

Vacancy– an open clinical position advertised by an entity or site. Sites and entities advertise vacancies on the Health Workforce Connector.

Date Last Reviewed: