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Scholarship FAQs

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What is the Indian Health Service Scholarship Program?

The Health Care Improvement Act ("The Act"), Public Law 94-437, and its subsequent amendments of 1980, 1988 and 1996 authorize the Indian Health Service (IHS) to conduct three interrelated, competitive scholarship programs to train the health professional personnel necessary to staff IHS health programs and other health programs serving the Indian people. 

What are the three scholarships offered?

  1. Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship (section 103)
  2. Health Professions Pregraduate Scholarship Program (section 103b)
  3. Health Professions Scholarship Program (section 104) 

What are the eligibility requirements for an applicant to participate?

  • be American Indian or Alaska Native;
  • have the capacity to complete a health professions course of study;
  • be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment in a compensatory preprofessional general education course or curriculum; or be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program leading to a degree in a health related professions school within the United States;
  • intend to serve Indian people upon completion of professions health care education as a health care provider in the discipline for which the student is funded. 

What do the scholarships include?

The Health Professions Prepatory (103) and the Health Professions Pregraduate (103b) scholarships include financial aid for tuition and required fees. The Health Professions (104) also includes financial aid for tuition and required fees. Visit the IHS Scholarship website at: for a list of educational and living expenses covered under this scholarship. 

How many awards are made each year?

The number of awards will vary from year to year. The IHS awards a scholarship to a student for the duration of their course work in the degree for which they are being funded, provided they comply with the requirements of the scholarship contract. That can be one to four years full-time and up to eight years part-time. Continuation students receive priority consideration for funding. Once those awards have been made for the year, we will begin making awards to new applicants until the money runs out.  

Is there a payback requirement?

If you are applying under the Health Professions Preparatory or Health Professions Pregraduate programs, there is no payback requirement. If you apply under the Health Professions program, there is a payback requirement of one year of service for each year of funding received, with a minimum of two years of service.

How do I apply?

You can apply online at This is the preferred method of applying for our scholarship. However, if submitting an online application is not possible, you may contact the Area Scholarship Coordinator that serves your state. You can find the list of coordinators on the IHS Scholarship website. The California Area Office serves the states of California and Hawaii. For further information, please contact 

Sergio Islas, Area Scholarship Coordinator
California Area Indian Health Service
650 Capitol Mall, Suite 7-100
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 930-3981, extension 371
(916) 930-3981, extension 724 - Information Line