Service & scholarship: the National Health Service Corps

How the hell am I going pay for school?

I’d bet money that every pre-med and med student in the United States today has asked himself that question before. (Seriously, I’ll make that bet–I could use the cash.)

One option for financing your education is to participate in the National Health Service Corps. The NHSC is a federal government program administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, under the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NHSC offers three key programs to help primary care providers pay for their education, in exchange for service to underserved patient communities.

These programs include the Loan Repayment Program (for qualified licensed providers), the Student to Service Program (for fourth year med students), and the Scholarship Program.

The application deadline for the Scholarship Program for the 2017-18 academic year is April 27, 2017.

I’ve considered applying to the NHSC since before being accepted to med school. I’m interested in family medicine and want to work in poor and working class communities, but I realize that primary care is among the lowest paid medical disciplines. If accepted, the Scholarship Program would cover the costs of my medical education up to four years in exchange for the same number of years of service following residency.

Of course, it’s not all about the money. In fact, failing to uphold your part of the bargain as an NHSC service member can have serious consequences.

Still, for those providers and students who seek to bring healthcare to those who need it most, the NHSC represents a great opportunity.

For more information, visit the HNSC’s website.

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