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Harrison C. Spencer
Harrison C. Spencer President & CEO, ASPPH View bio

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The U.S. economy will add more than 15.6 million new healthcare jobs by 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means plenty of opportunities for people who want to pursue careers in public health. Nursing, teaching and physician-based jobs are just the start. The public health sector offers a spectrum of careers spanning research, communications, community health coordination and emergency response to name a few.

If you are studying or plan to study public health you will find a unique set of programs available to help defray some of the cost of higher education. Beyond traditional scholarships and grants, public health students can tap government programs designed just for them. This comprehensive list of scholarships and grants will get you started.

Public Health Grants And Scholarships

Scholarship Name Amount Eligibility Deadline Where to Apply
American Public Health Association Get Ready Scholarship Program $500 Open to high school students, undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to improving public health. February View
National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program Up to $20,000 per year Open to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are pursuing careers in biomedical, behavioral and social science health related research. Award includes internships with the NIH. March 14 View
Society For Public Health Education Student Member Fellowships and Awards 21st Century Scholarships $500 Open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students who are members of SOPHE. Must be sponsored by a faculty member and pursuing a degree in health education or a related area. October View
Society For Public Health Education Student Member Fellowships and Awards Vivian Drenckhan Student Scholarship $1,500 Open to full-time undergraduate and graduate students who are SOPHE members and have excelled academically and showed a commitment to public health. Students must demonstrate financial need. October View
Udall Undergraduate Scholarship $7,000 Open to college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations. At least 20 of the 60 scholarships awarded in tribal public policy and native health care. March 2 View
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Scholarships $500-$3,000 Open to academy members enrolled in the junior or senior year of a dietetics program or the second year of a study in a dietetic technician program, internship or graduate program. March 1 View
Arkansas Public Health Association Scholarship $1,000 Open to Arkansas residents pursuing a degree in a public health field. Must have a GPA of 2.5 or better March 16 View
Campus Safety Scholarship Award Program $2,000 Open to all undergraduate and graduate students in all majors. Designed to encourage the study of environmental and occupational health, safety and related disciplines. March 31 View
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation General Mills Health Scholarship Program Varies Open to African American or black students who live in the Congressional Black Caucus districts and is pursuing an education in medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition or health related field. Feb. 28 View
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships Full tuition and living stipend Open to students accepted to an accredited U.S. school pursuing a degree in a healthcare field. Must commit to work for at least two years at an NHSC approved site in a medically underserved community. Spring View
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships Nurse Corps Full tuition Open to undergraduate or graduate nursing students who agree to work at an eligible NURSE Corps. Site upon graduation. Varies View
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships For Disadvantaged Students Varies Open to fulltime financially needy student from disadvantaged backgrounds who are enrolled in health professions and nursing programs. The funds are given to schools which make the scholarships available to students. Varies View
National Environmental Health Association Scholarship $1,000-$2,000 Open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in environmental health services. Feb. 1 View
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Varies Offers more than 50 research programs for undergraduate students at national laboratories and federal research facilities around the country and internationally. Open to students pursuing a bachelor’s degree Varies View
Tylenol Future Care Scholarship $500-$10,000 Open to undergraduate and graduate students who have completed one year or more of course work. June View
Haiti Community Health Initiative Scholarship $1,200 Open to medical students who participate in one of Community Health Initiative Haiti’s Medical Mobile Clinics. Must be enrolled in a medical school full-time and be in good academic standing. Jan. View
Dr. Alma S. Adams Scholarship Varies Open to undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate community service activities, show financial need and be pursuing a course of study in public health, communications, social work and other related fields. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or better. April View
Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship Program $7,500 Open to all undergraduate students pursuing a health related career. Must demonstrate financial need. May View
Healthcare Information Management Systems Scholarship $5,000 Open to undergraduate students enrolled in a program related to healthcare information and management systems field. Must be a member in good standing of the HIMSS. Spring View
Texas Medical Association Minority Scholarship $10,000 Must be a minority incoming freshmen pursuing a health related field. Must demonstrate financial need. Have to be a Texas resident. Feb. View
Joan Weinberg Wolf Scholarship Varies Open to undergraduate students studying dietetics in the Department of Applied Health Science. Students must have a GPA of at least 3.0. Feb. View
Mat-Su Health Foundation Scholarships Varies Open to residents of the Mat-Su Borough interested in pursuing health related careers. Covers both vocational and traditional academic programs. Early 2016 View
Scholarship Name Amount Eligibility Deadline Where to Apply
Healthcare Information Management Systems Scholarship $5,000 Open to graduate students enrolled in a program related to healthcare information and management systems field. Must be a member in good standing of the HIMSS. Spring View
Walden University Advancing Public Health Excellence Scholarships $10,000-Full tuition Open to students enrolling in Walden’s Master of Public Health program. Award is merit based. June View
National Environmental Health Association Scholarship $1,000-$2,000 Open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in environmental health services. Feb. 1 View
Society For Public Health Education Student Member Fellowships and Awards Graduate Student Research Paper $250 Open to graduate students who demonstrate creative and innovative research through a paper. October View
American Public Health Association Get Ready Scholarship Program $500 Open to high school students, undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to improving public health. February View
Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship $5,000 Open to minority students enrolled in a healthcare management graduate program. Must be in the final year in the program. March 31 View
Cathy L. Brock Scholarship $1,000 Open to graduate students who have demonstrated leadership and represents an ethnically diverse background. Must be enrolled in a MHA or comparable program and have a GPA of at least 3.0. Must demonstrate a financial need. Jan. View
Cooley Scholarship Masters Scholarship $1,000 Open to graduate students enrolled in a health education program. Must have a GPA of 3.0 or better. Nov. View
Corris Boyd Scholars Program $40,000 Open to students accepted into an AUPHA Full Member master’s degree program. Must be a student of color and have a GPA of at least 3.0 April View
David A. Winston Health Policy Fellowship Varies Open to first-year graduate students in their second full-time equivalent semester or third full-time equivalent quarter studying at any AUPHA-member graduate program or affiliated health policy program. April View
Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship $1,000 Open to graduate students who demonstrate leadership and represent an ethnically diverse culture. Must demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of 3.0 or more. Jan. View
Lowell & Leslie Kruse Scholarship For Community Performance Excellence Up to $15,000 Open to full-time graduate students in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Must have experience in improving the health of communities. Dec. View
Hopkins Sommer Scholars Program Full tuition and stipend Must be accepted in to the Master of Public Health program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins. Varies View
Welch Scholarship $20,000 per year for three years Open to students enrolled in the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health online/part-time MPH program. Varies View
Texas Medical Association Fifty Year Club Scholarship $1,500 Open to students in their second, third or fourth year of medical school who display outstanding academic progress. October View

Strategies for Assembling Resources for Your Public Health Education

How much will it cost to launch your career in public health? It depends on the career you want to pursue. Becoming a doctor or lead researcher requires a graduate degree, which can cost over $100,000 on its own. But there are plenty of ways to launch a public health career with a bachelor’s degree.

As always, start with the standard applications for financial aid. After that, pursue resources for scholarships based on your field of study and your unique qualifications. For instance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers public health students full tuition scholarships in return for working for two years at a National Health Service Corps. -approved site in a medically underserved community upon graduation. Colleges and universities also have their own work-study programs for students.

An unorthodox way to get financing, but one that is gaining in popularity, is turning to peer-to-peer lenders. These Internet-based platforms enable a person or multiple people to lend a student money at an agreed upon interest rate. Just like with a private loan, students have a period in which they have to pay back the loan.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Public health jobs are necessary for community and individual well-being, which is why such jobs are distributed across all types of communities and in many types of organizations, from universities to hospitals to clinics to public schools. This ongoing demand is why the government offers incentives to get people to go into public health fields. One of those incentives is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, created to encourage individuals to work in public service jobs. Under the program graduates who are employed full time by certain public service employers and make 120 loan payments may have their federal direct loan forgiven. The graduate has to work for a government approved public service employer and doesn’t have to make the payments consecutively. A wide spectrum of careers are eligible under this program, from nurses to emergency management professionals, including nursepractioners, public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly and emergency management professionals. While you have to commit to working in an underserved community, many public health graduates want to do exactly that, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Getting a Degree in Public Health: Questions and Answers

Harrison C. Spencer Dr. Harrison Spencer

Dr. Harrison Spencer, MD, MPH, DTM&H, CPH, is president and CEO of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. He offers some tips for students pursuing a degree in the public health field.

What attracts people to a career in public health?

Public Health is an exciting field with many career opportunities, which focus on preventing and reducing the impact of the world’s most pressing health problems. A public health career allows individuals to make a real difference on a global scale and far into the future. Public health works to improve the health of both individuals and populations. I recommend those interested in the field look at the This Is Public Health campaign (www.thisispublichealth.org) which allows public health professionals to promote they work they do.

How affordable is pursuing a degree in public health? Is it cost prohibitive to many or is it more affordable?

There are over 160 CEPH-accredited schools and programs. Tuition varies significantly from less than $10,000 a year to over $50,000 a year. Students should not only consider the cost of tuition, but the overall cost of the degree, which includes living expenses, time required to complete the program, and additional non-tuition costs.

Is there a lot of financial aid, grants and or scholarships available for people pursuing a degree in public health?

Some schools and programs offer financial aid and scholarships opportunities. Some have an earlier decision for scholarships consideration so it is important to be prepared to apply early in the admissions cycle, typically by early December. Many schools and programs also offer research or teaching assistantships for doctoral students and occasionally masters students. There are also many opportunities to apply for school-based assistance and private scholarships as well as federal financial aid.

What are some of the best strategies to achieve a degree in public health but from a financial and academic perspective?

Many schools and programs offer flexible schedules which allow students to work while they are attending a degree program, such as evening programs, distance learning programs and executive programs. Applicants should consider these options in addition to applying for scholarships and financial aid.

What other advice/thoughts do you have for students pursing a degree in public health?

Be persistent and thoroughly explore your options. There are many degree options, many of which can be accessed through the centralized application service, SOPHAS (http://sophas.org/). Apply to as many scholarship opportunities as you can. It will take some work up front, but the payoff could be worth the effort. There are many options that students may be aware of. For example, some state institutions grant in-state tuition to residents of nearby states. For those who follow a career in the public sector, they may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance.

Updated: July 28, 2017