Program Description

The SDS program promotes service in primary care and in medically underserved communities and diversity among health professions students and practitioners by providing grants to eligible health professions and nursing schools for use in awarding scholarships. The purpose is to provide entrance into a career as a health professional to help diversify the health workforce and encourage service in primary care and in medically underserved communities.

General Program Requirements

For the SDS program, scholarships are awarded by the school to any full-time student who is an eligible individual as defined by statute. The definition of "eligible individual" means an individual who: (A) is from a disadvantaged background; (B) has a financial need for a scholarship; and (C) is enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, at an eligible health professions or nursing school as a full-time student in a program leading to a degree in a health profession or nursing. Colleges and universities receiving SDS funds must maintain and operate a program to recruit and retain students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups.

Students receiving scholarship awards must be citizens or nationals of the United States, or lawful permanent residents of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Federated States of Micronesia. A student who is in this country on a student or visitor's visa is not eligible.

Also, in providing scholarships under the SDS program, schools are required to give preference to students for whom the cost of attendance would constitute a severe financial hardship and to former recipients of scholarships under sections 736 [Scholarships for Students of Exceptional Financial Need] and 740(d)(2)(B) [Financial Assistance for Disadvantaged Health Professions Students] (as such sections existed on the day before the date of enactment of this section) of the Public Health Service Act. The SDS program gives funding priority to health professions and nursing schools with certain percentages of: (1) full-time underrepresented minority (URM), students (2) graduates practicing in primary care, and (3) graduates working in medically underserved communities (MUCs). The table below provides the percentages and range of priority points.

Graduating students practicing in primary care: To be eligible for this priority, applicants must have a certain percentage of their graduates enter service in primary care. 2 points for 15-29.99 percent graduates entering PC 3 points for 30-49.99 percent graduates entering PC 4 points for 50 percent or more graduates entering PC

Graduates working in MUCs: To be eligible for this priority, applicants must have a certain percentage of their graduates enter service in a medically underserved community. 1 point for 10-29.99 percent serving in a MUC 2 points for 30-49.99 percent serving in a MUC 3 points for 50 percent or more serving in a MUC

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

For more information about all this and other potential HRSA funding opportunities, please visit the HRSA Opportunity page.

Program Contact Information

Denise Sorrell
Senior Advisor
dsorrell@hrsa.gov
(301) 443-1173

Additional Information

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number93.925
Current Method of Tribal EligibilityProgram not specific to American Indians and Alaska Natives, but they are eligible
Can the funding from the program be renewedNo
Funding TypeDiscretionary
Entities Eligible for Grant AssistanceFederally Recognized Tribes and Tribal Organizations, Non-Tribal Entities
Matching Funds RequiredNo
Number of People Served by this Program (Approximate)5,285
Length of Program4 years
Recurring Base Funding for TribesNo
Do Tribes compete with other entities for funding from the program?Yes
Tribes Funded by this Program1-Oglala Lakota College

Didn't find what you were looking for?


Try using our Benefit Finder questionnaire to view a list of benefit programs you may be eligible to receive.