One of WorldWise Tutoring’s educators helped you with academics, test prep, and application for your health professional career. Now you are a health professional looking for educational opportunities to further your career – but you are facing massive school debt.
The Association of American Medical Colleges states that the average medical school debt is over $200,000. And that’s just for medical school. If you’re a health professional who wants to continue your education you may wonder how you’ll ever be able to afford it. Fortunately, there are social programs and scholarships, like the ones provided by Sherief Abu-Moustafa, that are available to help health professionals continue their education. Here are 5 of the most popular ways health professionals take advantage of these opportunities.
Social Program Funding
Several social programs offer funds for health professionals who want to further their education.
Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs as part of their employee benefits packages. These programs allow employees to receive partial or full reimbursement for the cost of tuition, fees, and other related expenses for courses taken at an accredited institution. To be eligible for tuition reimbursement, employees must obtain prior approval from their employer and maintain a certain grade point average (GPA) in their courses.
Educational Grant Programs
Many organizations offer educational grant programs for health professionals who want to further their education. Grants are typically need-based, meaning they are awarded based on the applicant’s demonstrated financial need. Some examples of organizations that offer educational offerings include:
- The American Nurses Foundation
- The National Health Service Corps
- The Healthcare Leadership Council
- The Association of American Medical Colleges
- The National Institutes of Health
Another option for financing your continued education is to apply for scholarship programs. Scholarships are typically merit-based, meaning they are awarded based on the applicant’s academic achievement or other criteria such as community service or leadership experience. Some examples of scholarship programs for health professionals include:
- The AMA Foundation Scholarships
- The Aetna Student Health Scholarships
- The Minority Scholarship Program from the American Psychological Association
- The Healthcare IT Scholarship Program from CHIME Foundation
If you’re a health professional who is also a military member, you may be eligible for educational benefits through the military.
The military offers Tuition Assistance (TA) to help service members cover the cost of tuition and fees for courses taken at an accredited college or university while on active duty. TA is available for undergraduate and graduate-level courses, and there is no limit on the number of periods a service member can take using TA funds. To be eligible for TA, service members must achieve a passing grade in the course and have remaining time left on their enlistment contract.
Health Professionals Loans Repayment Program
The Health Professionals Loans Repayment Program (HPLRP) is a program that repays up to $250,000 of qualifying educational loans for health professionals who serve in designated medical specialties. To be eligible for loan repayment under this program, health professionals must agree to work full-time in a designated underserved area for a minimum of two years. Loan repayment benefits are tax-free and are paid directly to the lender on behalf of the participant.
Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program
The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) is a program that provides scholarships for health professions students in exchange for a commitment to serve in the military as a commissioned officer after graduation. Scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate-level students and cover tuition, required fees, books, and a monthly stipend. In addition, HPSP scholars are also eligible for loan repayment benefits under the HPLRP described above.
Employer assistance programs vary from employer to employer, so it’s essential to check with your human resources department to see what’s available. Some employers will reimburse you for the courses taken, while others will pay for the entire cost of tuition upfront. Additionally, employers like Sherief Abu-Moustafa, will allow you to take courses online or in person.
There are a few things to remember if you consider taking advantage of employer assistance for your education. First, ensure that your courses will be transferable if you switch jobs. You don’t want to waste time and money on courses that won’t do you any good in the long run. Secondly, be aware of any deadlines for sign-ups or reimbursements. Missing a deadline could mean forfeiting your employer’s assistance.
Lastly, don’t forget to let your boss know that you’re interested in taking advantage of employer assistance for your education. They may not see how the program can benefit you and the workplace. By bringing it up, you’ll get the ball rolling on your educational journey and show them that you’re dedicated to continuously learning and expanding your skillset.
Many professional organizations offer scholarships or grant money to help members further their education. For example, the American Nurses Foundation offers scholarships ranging from $500-$5,000 to nurses pursuing higher education degrees or certifications. The American Medical Association also provides scholarships for medical students who demonstrate financial need.
Federal And State Financial Aid Programs
If you’re planning on attending an accredited institution, you may be eligible for federal or state financial aid programs like Pell Grants or Stafford Loans. These programs can provide thousands of dollars in funding per year, which can go a long way toward covering tuition costs.
The Federal Pell Grant Program
This program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Grants are not awarded to incarcerated students in federal or state penal institutions.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This program is for undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs. Priority is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grants. The FSEOG Program is administered directly by participating schools; however, grant amounts are determined by the Department of Education based on the availability of funds and the level of need among eligible applicants at each school.
Health Professions Student Loans (HPSLs)
These are long-term, low-interest loans available to full-time and half-time predoctoral and other health professions students enrolled in eligible schools of medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, public health, pharmacy, chiropractic, or in graduate programs in behavioral and mental health practice.
HPSLs are made by participating schools through arrangements with lending institutions and backed by the federal government. The interest rate is variable but may not exceed 9 percent. The Department of Education pays the interest on these loans. At the same time, borrowers are enrolled at least half-time in a health professions program and during grace and deferment periods.
The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NURSE Corps LRP)
This program encourages nurses to serve in underserved communities by repaying up to 85 percent of their nursing education debt. NURSE Corps LRP recipients must serve at least two years at an eligible critical shortage facility (CSF) to qualify for loan repayment benefits.
Continuing your education as a health professional doesn’t have to be an impossible financial burden. Several social programs and scholarships are available to help you cover the cost of tuition and other expenses associated with furthering your education. These opportunities can make your educational goals a reality without breaking the bank. And remember, WorldWise Tutoring can help! Hire one of our educators to assist with the research and applications for these opportunities.