1. Find money you don’t have to pay back
If you want to use your savings to help pay for your health professions degree, you should consider a few things first. You’ll want to make sure you can still pay your monthly bills as well as have some money set aside for any unplanned expenses. Creating a budget can help you understand what your monthly expenses are and how much of your savings you can put toward your education. Talk to a financial advisor if you have any questions.
School-based scholarships, assistantships, and grants
Some schools may have scholarships, assistantships, and grants their health professions students can apply to. Grants are often need-based while scholarships can be need- or merit-based. Assistantships tend to be merit-based. In exchange for 10 – 15 hours of work on campus, graduate students can get tuition remission and/or a living stipend. Look at the websites of the schools you’re applying to and talk to their financial aid offices to find out more.
Some professional associations and for-profit companies offer scholarships, fellowships, and grants to graduate health professions students and/or are a good resource for find funding opportunities. Here are a few of associations that health professions students may find helpful:
- National Student Nurses’ Association: This association’s foundation offers the Promise of Nursing Regional Faculty Fellowship Program for nurses who want to be educators. The awards, ranging from $1,000 to $7,500, are given out yearly based on nurses’ academic records, financial need, and more.footnote 2
- American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation: This group offers grants, fellowships, and scholarships for pharmacists at all stages of their career.footnote 3
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health: Public health students can find a comprehensive list of resources for finding scholarships, fellowships, and internships.footnote 4
- Association of University Programs in Health Administration: This association sponsors a few scholarships each year for health administration graduate students. These include the Corris Boyd Scholars Program, which is worth $40,000, and the David A. Winston Scholarship, which gives 10 students each a $10,000 scholarship.footnote 5
You can search for more scholarships using our Scholarship Search tool. You can also reach out directly to the organizations for more information or ask your department head for recommendations on which scholarships, awards, or grants may be right for you.
Depending on your area of study, you could qualify for a program that covers your health professions school costs in return for a set number of years of service to that organization. A few of the programs available to you include the following:
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship: This Department of Health & Human Services program will cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses for health professions students like nurses. In exchange, you must work for one to two years in an approved high-need area, either in a city or rural town.footnote 6 In return for scholarship awards, scholars commit to providing primary care health services in underserved communities. The program provides support to students who seek financial assistance to complete primary care health professions education. The NHSC SP pays for tuition and various other reasonable education-related expenses and also provides a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses in exchange for a minimum of two (2) years of full-time service.
- NHSC’s NURSE Corps: In addition to its NHSC program, the Department of Health & Human Services awards scholarships to nurse practitioner students in return for a commitment to provide health care in a community with limited access to care upon graduation.footnote 7
- Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP): This program is funded by the military—Army, Navy, and Air Force—for medical and health professions students. You can get all your tuition and fees covered, plus a living stipend.footnote 8
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you took out federal loans for health professions school, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness if you work at a certain qualifying institute like a nonprofit organization, government organization, or teaching hospital. Typically, you must have already made 120 consecutive payments toward your loan to qualify.footnote 9