Skip to site content

IHS Scholarship Programs (Sections 103 and 104)

The IHS Scholarship Program consists of three scholarships. The Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships, authorized under Section 103 of the IHCIA, prepare students to enter a health profession training program. The Preparatory Scholarship provides financial assistance for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students from federal or state-recognized Tribes enrolled in compensatory or preparatory courses leading to entry into health professional schools; these courses include nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, medical technology and others. The Pre-Graduate Scholarship provides financial support for AI/AN students from federal or state-recognized Tribes enrolled in courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in specific pre-professional areas which will allow for application to a postgraduate health professions program such as medicine, dentistry, podiatry, optometry and others as needed by Indian health programs.

The Health Professions Scholarship, authorized under Section 104 of the IHCIA, provides support for AI/AN students from federally recognized Tribes only (state-recognized Tribal members are not eligible) enrolled in health professions or allied health professions programs. Students incur a service obligation and payback requirement on acceptance of this scholarship.

Determining Scholarship Discipline Needs

Before the start of the FY 2015 scholarship cycle, the IHS Scholarship Program requested the help of Tribal and federal health programs to assist in identifying specific health professional discipline priorities by providing a recommended list of disciplines for scholarships. The highest priority health disciplines identified for the FY 2015 scholarship cycle were:

For Section 103 — Pre-Clinical Psychology, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Pharmacy and Pre-Social Work

For Section 104 — Chemical Dependency Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Dental Hygienist, Dentist, Nurse, Physician Assistant, Physician, Pharmacist and Social Work

Scholarship Application Process

The IHS Scholarship Program uses an online application process for new and continuing applicants. The online application reduces common application errors and improves the tracking and processing of applications.

The Scholarship Program office received a total of 990 new online applications and 217 extension applications. Three hundred eighty-five new applications were complete. The applications were evaluated and scored by a three-member review committee using criteria that included the student’s transcripts, references and essays. Of the 385 new applications reviewed, 289 received a score of 70 or above and were considered for funding.

Scholarship Awards

The IHS Scholarship Program gave 334 scholarship awards to students in FY 2015. A total of 149 (or 55 percent) of the 289 eligible new applications (those scoring 70 or higher) were funded. A total of 185 students who received an IHS scholarship previously (extension students) were awarded continuation support. Ten fewer students (334 vs. 344) were awarded in FY 2015 than in FY 2014 due to higher average tuition, fees and stipend costs associated with Health Professions Scholarship Program awards. An additional $3.3 million in scholarship funding would have been needed to fund all qualified scholarship applicants.

In FY 2015, the average cost per scholar including tuition, fees, monthly stipend and other school-related costs was $27,596 for the Preparatory Scholarship Program (Section 103); $34,497 for the Pre-Graduate Scholarship Program (Section 103P); and $48,004 for the Health Professions Scholarship Program (Section 104). The average scholarship per year cost for all three programs combined increased from $42,441 in FY 2014 to $44,007 in FY 2015.

Seventy-five percent of the scholarships went to students in the Health Professions Scholarship Program. These students received a total of 251 scholarships (97 new and 154 continuing). Nine percent — or 31 scholarships (23 new and eight continuing) — went to students in the Health Professions Preparatory Scholarship Program and 16 percent — or 52 scholarships — (29 new and 23 continuing) went to students in the Health Professions Pre-Graduate Program.

Section 103 Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Awards in FY 2015 (for Academic Year 2015 –2016)
Discipline Awards Discipline Awards
Pre-Clinical Psychology 3 Pre-Dentistry 10
Pre-Nursing 16 Pre-Medicine 40
Pre-Pharmacy 10 Pre-Optometry 2
Pre-Social Work 2 Total 52
Total 31

Section 104 Health Professions Awards FY 2015 (for Academic Year 2015 – 2016)
Discipline Awards Discipline Awards
Chemical Dependency Counseling 3 Physical Therapy 13
Clinical Psychology 10 Physician Assistant 12
Dentistry 36 Physician, Allopathic 28
Health Records 5 Physician, Osteopathic 9
Medical Technology 3 Podiatry 1
Nurse Midwife 3 Respiratory Therapy 1
Nurse Practitioner 15 Sanitarian 1
Nurse, Associate Degree 12 Social Work 16
Nurse, Baccalaureate Degree 31 Ultrasonography 1
Nurse, Master's Degree 2 X-Ray Technology 2
Optometry 11 Total 251
Pharmacy 36

Students choose the Area office they want to be associated with. It could be in the Area they currently reside, the Area they attend school or the Area in which their Tribe is located.

FY 2015 Scholarship Awards By Area
Area Awards Area Awards
Alaska 13 Navajo 30
Albuquerque 25 Oklahoma City 148
Bemidji 20 Phoenix 24
Billings 12 Portland 19
California 11 Tucson 2
Great Plains 10 Total 334
Nashville 20

To learn more, visit the IHS Scholarship Program.