NHSC Scholarship Program Overview

The National Health Service Corps or NHSC Scholarship Program offers students scholarships to help them pursue their health professions training based on specific eligibility criteria. As a way of giving back for the program, scholars dedicate their services to areas of primary healthcare. Usually, scholars have to commit to providing at least two years of full-time primary care health service in return for scholarship support for a full year. 

Plus, you have to provide this service at an NHSC-approved site in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HSPSA). Per the conditions, the number of years you have to serve is directly proportional to the number of years you received the NHSC scholarship program while in school. However, you need to know that the number of school years of NHSC SP cannot exceed four school years. 

The Essence of The NHSC Scholarship

If you’re a scholar in the 2020/2021 academic year, there are lots of scholarship programs at your disposal. One of these being the NHSC scholarship program. The program has some of the best benefits for those in the health sector. Hence, it is totally worth applying and benefiting from, provided that you meet the requirements of the program. 

You should not underestimate the ability of this program to help you in your education. Because it helps cover the cost of tuition and expenses as supplies, books, and equipment for four education years. Also, it includes monthly stipends for your personal expenses. Despite these upsides, NHSC scholarship statistics show that it has a downside. The downside is the condition attached to the scholarship program. 

As mentioned in the previous section, the program limits your freedom to choose which area to serve immediately after you complete it. Hence, beneficiaries have to work in a location in dire need of health workers immediately their training comes to an end. Some people find a compromise isn’t worth it. When you think about it, there are times that such places are the areas people would rather not work. 

Often, the only areas that fit this criteria are places like underdeveloped or high-risk inner-city locations. Nevertheless, to assess the NHSC scholarship program, and verify if it is the right fit for you, read through the following details listed below. 

Concerns For the Program

We’ll get to the point where we figure out how the entire program works in a minute. But before then, let’s get acquainted with one vital concept: One of the best ways of overcoming unpaid student loans is by getting all your facts and figures right. This you can do by accessing the resources provided on our website. 

However, if you happen to be reading about the NHSC nurse corps scholarship program or any other NSHC program for that matter, chances are, you are a medical or health worker. In that case, we have good news for you; you can get different types of private and federal student loan forgiveness opportunities. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re working as a nurse, dentist, nursing, or medical school faculty member, doctor, or serving in an admin role in the medical field. Your chances of qualifying for a considerable amount of student loans to be forgiven are very high. You can determine what you qualify for, you call the Student Loan Relief Helpline and elaborate on the field in which you work. Also, find out how you get help to benefit from the NHSC scholarship program. 

They will give you a clear outline of the options at your disposal. Next, they’ll tell you the necessary steps you can take to set you down the road towards your loan forgiveness. The NHSC scholarship program is a legit program, and now let’s look at the various eligibility requirements you need to meet to benefit from this program. 

Get Your Free Assessment

Subscribe and get notified when we launch our platform and be one of the first to try it for free for an entire year. Already subscribed?

Eligibility and Requirements for the NHSC Scholarship Program

The first and foremost requirement you have to meet to qualify for the NHSC is that you haven’t amassed a lot of debt from student loans, and you still have lots of education programs to complete. The requirements are quite easy to understand. Technically, the program isn’t like your typical forgiveness program, where you find help to get rid of your existing debt. Instead, the NSHC exists to help prevent students from amassing new debt. 

As part of the conditions, you’ll be provided a commitment form to sign. This is a binding contract that states your agreement to work in any eligible field and provide primary care. Also, the contract will state that you have to provide this service for no less than 12 months in a location designated as a “highest need” area. 

Finally, you have to be a national or citizen of the U.S. Furthermore; you must have already been enrolled or accepted in an institution of higher education that has accreditations by the time of your application for the program. Then you also need to be studying for any of the following roles in the medical or healthcare field: 

  • Physician (MD or DO)
  • Dentist 
  • Physician Assistant
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner 

Pay Attention

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice from the conditions stated above; it’s possible to qualify for the NHSC. It doesn’t matter if you’re still an undergraduate. Once you’re in the “pre-professional phase” of your training to become a healthcare practitioner. Also, if you’re in the undergraduates pre-requisite phase, you’ll have to provide proof that you can qualify for getting into a health professionals training program. 

Once you can satisfy these requirements, you can safely secure up to four years worth of scholarship under the NHSC program. This scholarship will cover costs like tuition fees and monthly personal expenses. 

How the Program Works

Once you agree to the service conditions and meet the necessary eligibility criteria, you have to complete your training and begin work at any of the medically underserved areas with the approval of the authorities of the program. The contract you signed will contain the number of years you have to provide this service. However, it has to be no less than one year for each year you received benefits of the scholarship. 

Therefore, if you had to benefit from the NHSC nurse corps scholarship program three years of your training, then you’ll have to serve for no less than three years. Provided you fulfill the contract during your training, the NHSC will not stop sending money toward your training and personal expenses in the form of the monthly stipend. 

Also, the NHSC lends you a hand to get a job upon completion of your training at any of the sites available that meet the description in the commitment form. They will go on to offer you many kinds of educational resources, networking opportunities, and training resources. Indeed, it’s a near-perfect opportunity for scholars who have no other choice to finance the education and would rather avoid heaps of student loan debt. 

What Really Matters

However, people who have specific areas they’d rather live or work after school wouldn’t find the NHSC scholarship program very accommodating. Also, if you plan to work at one of these ultra-modern medical facilities after your medical training, then this program isn’t the ideal path to realize this dream. Because the NHSC scholarship statistics show that your probability of getting a job in a very rural environment or worse, prison is quite high. 

To many potential applicants, this is the only drawback the NHSC program has that prevents more people from applying. However, if you weigh this against the odds of borrowing tons of student loans and drowning in debt, it looks like the better option. 

How NHSC Awards Scholarships

The NHSC evaluates applicants eligible for the program through a number of funding priorities and selection factors. Using these criteria, they determine the best applicants to receive different scholarship awards. Let’s take a closer look at these criteria. 

Funding Priorities

First Priority

These are scholars that are currently under the NHSC SP or formerly enjoyed benefits under the program fall under this category. 

Second Priority

This category belongs to applicants who are likely to remain in areas of highest need after completing their education. Usually, these applicants are characterized by their high probability of remaining in service at an HPSA upon completion of the obligatory NHSC SP years of service. 

Third Priority

There are applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds. These could be scholars from low-income neighborhoods. Hence, if such an applicant displays the interest to return to such areas after they complete their program, and serving the NHSC SP service obligation, they fall within this category. 

Selection Factors

There are five selection factors that the NHSC uses to select applicants that will receive benefits from this program. 

  • Factor 1 – The applications previous ability to honor legal obligations
  • Factor 2 – The academic performance of the applicant. 
  • Factor 3 – Your commitments to serve as a healthcare provider in an underserved community upon completion of your education. 
  • Factor 4 – THe applicant must not have prior judgment liens due to any federal debt.
  • Factor 5 – The applicant isn’t currently suspended, excluded, or disqualified by any agencies at the federal level. 

Mode of Application

You can apply once each year for the NHSC scholarship program and this application to be submitted at a particular period during the year. This is because there is a deadline, and as you would expect, there are large numbers of applications that need processing. Therefore, the program has to get these applications in time so as to process them accordingly. 

Usually, the application period extends from the initial three months of each year – between January, February, or March. However, the actual dates vary. Therefore, you have to find out from the necessary authorities to know the right time to forward your application. 

Good thing, the process for application is quite straightforward. You only have to visit the Application Portal of the NHSC Scholarship to start your application. 

Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Help

If you struggle with university student loan forgiveness, then you should get help with that. Because the employees in these agencies are dealing with the student loans every day and they have enough experience for solving different kinds of student loan problems.

Other Details You Should Know

The program is very widespread; as such, there are other nuances you need to consider before you finally decide this is something you want to commit your working years too. Therefore, before you begin filling an application form for the NHSC scholarship program, we strongly recommend you read this page to the very end. Because, you want to ensure that there are no deal-breakers you don’t know yet. 

Next, once you’ve finished reading the full overview of this scholarship program, head over to the NHSC program page and check out the PDF that guides you through the application, the document will help you with all the copious details. This should remove any doubts about the program and help you determine if this is something you really want. You can download the scholarship program application guide here

Will I Pay Taxes on My Benefits?

This subject is a sensitive one for many people, even though many don’t know this fact. Because, you’ll receive way less money than you initially thought if your scholarship benefits attract taxes. 

Fortunately, the benefits of the NHSC scholarship program are not taxed – at least not completely. To explain, the majority of what you’ll receive, you don’t have to pay any taxes on. This includes educational expenses, tuition, and other fees. However, you need to pay taxes on the stipends you get every month. Therefore, it has to appear in your iRA filings. Here, you’re paying back a percentage to the Federal Government. 

There are several incidents that lead to an increase in the percentage of money that the taxpayer had to pay. Ultimately, it depends on the tax bracket to which you belong. It also means you need to be extra responsible for how you spend the money you receive from the NHSC. It’s your duty to set aside each time you receive it. Hence, the risk of spending all is higher. 

Understandably, most students will find this very difficult to do. This is mainly because most of them are totally ignorant of the fact that they have to pay any tax on their monthly stipends. 

Issues to Avoid – Taxations

Generally, benefits from federal student loan forgiveness programs are texed. However, the industry-wide issue is the fact that many beneficiaries of these programs are ignorant of the fact that they need to pay taxes. However, this fact is clear under the Loan Forgiveness & Taxable Income Laws of the IRS. 

With some experience, you can appreciate the fact that this poses a great challenge to all parties, since the majority of enrolled beneficiaries of loan forgiveness programs don’t have any clue that suggests they need to pay taxes. Hene, many of these people are likely to run into a huge bill from the IRS. 

You can avoid many problems caused by taxes associated with loan forgiveness programs if you make such inquiries before your application. It helps prevent IRS debt, as if the student loan debt crisis isn’t enough of a problem. 

Other Student Loan Relief Programs to Consider

You shouldn’t make a final decision and commit the years of your early work-life to any “highest need area”, until you ensure that you’ve considered all other available student loan discharge and forgiveness programs at your disposal. 

If you’re wondering why, the reason is quite simple, healthcare workers have a good chance of finding some other discharge or forgiveness program that enables them to prevent work in deplorable conditions even if they have to work as a doctor, dentist or nurse. 

Indeed, if you have plans to borrow federal loans for the costs of your education, your options will be quite extensive. These will help you get rid of debt, and some of these options include the following: 

  • Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
  • The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program
  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
  • Perkins Loan Forgiveness for Nurses & Licensed Medical Technicians
  • Student Loan Forgiveness for Government Employees
  • The NHSC Students to Service (S2S) Loan Repayment Program
  • Student Loan Forgiveness for Military Personnel 
  • The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program
  • Student Loan Forgiveness for Non-Profit Workers
  • The NHSC Loan Repayment Program

AS mentioned earlier, you have a lot of choices if you plan to pursue student loan relief. Hence, the NHSC isn’t the only option you have, especially if you plan to serve in public service roles such as Military, NGO, or the government. 

Try to fully review all these programs before you decide to go with the NHSC scholarship program because failure to complete service contracts will have serious ramifications. Usually, this includes beneficiaries paying back the money they received under the program for their education. But, that’s not all – you need to pay additional penalties, taxes, and fees. 

Your Next steps

The steps you have to take depend on the particular situations you’re dealing with. Some of these details include your future plans and financial background. Our advice for scholars who are attempting to solve the puzzle of how to deal with the future or present student loan is to try everything possible to be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Simply because the PSLF is among the most robust loan forgiveness programs at the disposal of students. 

Nevertheless, the NHSC scholarship program will still remain the most viable option in some situations. You can only determine for sure after reviewing their application guidelines in detail.