Affordable Care Act helps expand future primary care workforce

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
HHS Press Office (202) 690-6343

Funding for the National Health Service Corps will provide scholarships to students in training for primary health care careers

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the opening of the 2011 application cycle for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program. This year’s scholarships are being supported with up to $28 million of the Affordable Care Act funds dedicated to the NHSC, and will help address shortages in the primary health care workforce today and for the future.   

The NHSC Scholarship Program is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in primary care.  Recipients receive payment for tuition, required fees and other reasonable educational costs, a monthly support stipend, and assistance in finding a practice site upon completion of a training program.  Disciplines eligible for the NHSC scholarship program include: physician, dentist (general or pediatric), nurse practitioner (primary care), certified nurse-midwife, and physician assistant. Upon graduation, scholarship recipients serve as full-time or part-time primary care providers between two and eight years at an NHSC site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area.

“The NHSC Scholarship Program encourages the nation’s future medical and oral health providers to choose primary care,” said Secretary Sebelius.  “The program delivers on our commitment to help address our nation’s primary care workforce shortage.”

“More than 7,000 students with the drive to be nurses, doctors or dentists have signed up to be notified of this opportunity in just the last year,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, PhD., RN.  “Students should not be deterred by the cost of their education especially when they seek to make an impact on the health of our nation’s underserved communities.”

The NHSC also includes a Loan Repayment Program that provides financial incentives in the form of loan repayment to primary care providers who have completed their education in exchange for serving in an underserved community for a minimum of two years.

Interested students can apply online at The 2011 NHSC Scholarship Program application cycle will remain open until June 9, 2011.  For more information about the Affordable Care Act’s investments in primary care workforce, visit


The NHSC makes our communities healthier by providing financial and other incentives to medical, dental, and behavioral health care providers who are bringing their skills where they’re needed most:  Areas of the United States with limited access to health care. These areas can be rural or urban. The NHSC has been around since 1972 and has connected over 37,000 primary health care practitioners to communities all over America.

Date Last Reviewed:  March 2017