In my prior post I explained how the Armed Forces Health Profession Scholarship Program works. This time I cover the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
The NHSC is considered a uniform service, but a uniform is no longer required. This program is looking for applicants to be from disadvantaged backgrounds and have experienced or understand working with underserved populations. It is not clear what makes a successful applicant for this program. The amount of funds provided the student is based on what are the reported cost of tuition and other related costs (books, supplies, health insurance, etc…). The scholar is responsible for securing a civilian residency in one of the acceptable areas. Upon the completion of their training, the scholar is responsible for securing a position with a clinic or health care facility that is qualified to place a NHSC scholar. There is no guarantee that the scholar will be able to secure a position close to where they would like to be permanently. Also, because the NHSC program is limited to certain areas of medicine, there is always the potential for a medical student or resident to change their mind, which may find them in breach of their NHSC agreement. This can be extremely painful financially with the scholarship required to pay back three times the amount of the scholarship plus penalties of 18% retroactive interest on the scholarship initially received.
The HPSP and the NHSC are just a couple of examples that medical students can consider as an alternative to borrowing for medical school. Although they seek a commitment from the student before they enter medical school, or in some cases in their first or second year of medical school, it is an option for those do not fear commitment and have a fairly strong conviction that they will follow through on their commitment. For the young spirit, it can be an exciting option.