National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program, enacted by Public Law 94- 484 on October 12, 1976, is a program established to bring health care to regions of the country that have critical shortages of health personnel.

Scholarship recipients are contracted to the Corps, which attempts to place practitioners in health personnel shortage areas in which they prefer to serve, and where they may decide to stay and retain their practice after completing their service obligations.


  1. Payment to the school of tuition and required fees;
  2. Payment to the student of a monthly stipend (which is taxable income; and
  3. A single payment to the student to cover the cost of certain educational expenses, primarily books and equipment. The amount of this payment will be based on the average expenditure on these specified educational expenses incurred by students in the same class and year as the scholarship recipient.

Applicant Eligibility Criteria for a NHSC Scholarship

  • Applied for or been accepted for enrollment in an accredited eligible school. To be qualified to actually receive a scholarship award, the applicant must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible school;
  • Have and maintain an acceptable level of academic standing;
  • Be citizens or nationals of the United States; and
  • Be eligible for federal civil service employment.

Recipient Obligations

Scholarship recipients agree to serve one year in full-time clinical practice in a federally designated health personnel shortage area for each year of scholarship support. The minimum commitment is two years. Scholarship recipients will have the option of serving all or part of their service obligation through private practice or employment by a public or private nonprofit health care agency in an area eligible for Corps assignees. Students determined by the Department of Health and Human Services to have exceptional promise for medical research may be granted individual post-doctoral fellowships and be allowed to perform their service as participants in the National Research Service Award Program. The post-doctoral fellowships are highly competitive and positions extremely limited.

Priorities for Scholarship Awards

Priority in awarding scholarships is given to former EFN and FADHPS scholarship recipients; applicants having characteristics that increase the probability of their practicing primary care in a health personnel shortage area; and applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Deferments for Residency Training

Medical students may defer their service obligations to complete residency training only in the following specialties: general internal medicine, family practice, general pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology.

Penalty for Failure to Complete Service Obligation

Students failing to fulfill service obligations incurred for scholarship support will be liable to repay within one year three times the amount of the scholarship assistance, plus interest at the maximum prevailing rate. No relief is available under bankruptcy laws until five years after repayment becomes due.

How to Obtain an Application 

Applications may requested by calling 1-800-638-0824. Further information can be obtained from the NHSC Scholarship Program website.