National Health Service Corps Students to Service Program Eligibility Expanded to PA Students
In a significant advocacy victory for PA education, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has expanded eligibility for the National Health Service Corps Students to Service program to graduating PA students for the first time in the program’s history.
While PAs and PA students have long been eligible for the larger National Health Service Corps loan repayment and scholarship programs, PA students have traditionally not been able to participate in the Students to Service program. First established in 2012 for medical and dental students, the Students to Service program provides graduating students with up to $120,000 in loan repayment assistance in exchange for a three-year full-time or six-year part-time service commitment in a designated health professional shortage area. In 2020, eligibility for the program was expanded for the first time to include graduating nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife students.
Over the course of late 2020 and 2021, PAEA’s Government Relations team collaborated with AAPA advocacy staff to ensure further expansion of the program to include PA students. On September 18, 2020, former PAEA President Howard Straker, EdD, MPH, PA-C, and former AAPA President Beth Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, sent a letter to HRSA leadership in support of the expansion, emphasizing the unique role of PAs in ensuring access to high-quality care in rural and underserved communities. PAEA and AAPA subsequently conducted follow-up advocacy with congressional stakeholders and the White House Domestic Policy Council to secure this policy change.
The application period for the 2022 Students to Service cycle will be open until November 4, 2021. PA students interested in participating must be in the final year of their program, a U.S. citizen or U.S. National, and be willing to provide primary care services in an underserved community. Additional information regarding eligibility and program requirements can be found here.
Members and students with questions about the Students to Service program are invited to contact Tyler Smith at tsmith@PAEAonline.org.