Rural Health Education Financial Aid

Many rural areas experience shortages of physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and other essential health care providers. Many government and private sources offer programs which assist students with the cost of education in health care fields through grants, loans, fellowships, scholarships, and student loan repayment.

Some programs require a specified term of service in an underserved area or have other special conditions. General student financial aid is also available to qualified applicants. This guide is designed to help you locate programs and organizations which make health education more accessible and affordable.


Federal Student Aid Information Center:
Help page:
Phone: 1.800.433.3243 or 319.337.5665

State Higher Education Agency State Directory:
Provides information on each state's education programs, colleges and universities, financial aid assistance programs, grants, scholarships, continuing education programs and career opportunities.

There are more organizations related to Health Education Financial Aid in the organizations section.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a loan repayment program for faculty who work in a health profession?

Yes. It is called the Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP).

FLRP provides financial incentive for degree-trained health professionals to pursue academic careers. If selected, you must agree to serve on the faculty of an accredited health professions school for a minimum of two years. In return, the Federal government agrees to pay, for each year of faculty service, up to $20,000 of the outstanding principal and interest on the participant's educational loans.

Another program is the NIH (National Institute of Health) Loan Repayment Program. This program aims to attract health professionals to careers in clinical, pediatric, health disparity, or contraceptive and infertility research.

Are there grants, fellowships and cooperative programs available in specific health profession areas?

Yes. Please note that many of these programs are not accepting applications at this time due to deadlines already passed. However, see the various links for upcoming application dates:

Where is there information on repaying a student loan?

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have anywhere from six to nine months before you begin repayment on your federal student loans. You will receive information about repayment and will be notified by your loan provider of the date loan repayment begins.

What is the first step in applying for financial aid?

The first thing you need to do is to see if you qualify for federal sources of financial aid. To find out if you do, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What is the FAFSA form and how is it accessed?

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, determines a student's financial aid eligibility by applying a standard financial aid eligibility calculation to personal and financial details, and conducting checks with other government agencies (e.g. Social Security Administration and Selective Service) to ensure eligibility for federal student aid. A record of the application is electronically forwarded to the school/schools of the student's choice. This form is mailed to the U.S. Department of Education.

FAFSA forms are available for free at school financial aid offices or through the U.S. Department of Education website. Various commercial websites will submit the form to the U.S. Department of Education for a fee.

Fill this form out as early as possible.

What types of loans and grants are available for student financial aid?

Grants, work-study, and low-interest loans are available to help with educational costs. For example: Perkins Loans, Federal Pell Grants, the Federal Work Study Program, Direct Loans, and Plus Loans (Parent Loans).

  • Federal Perkins Loan
    A low-interest (5 percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. The loan is made with government funds with a share contributed by the school. The school acts as the lender, so repayment is submitted to them
  • Pell Grants
    Do not have to be repaid. They are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
    Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses
  • Direct Loans
    Have variable interest rates (unlike federal Perkins Loans) and are for both undergraduate and graduate students. Their loans will be either subsidized (requires financial need) or unsubsidized (does not require financial need)
  • PLUS Loans or Parent Loans
    Available through the Direct Loan Program to meet students' education costs. See also

Where do I find someone to help me find and apply for student financial aid?

Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1.800.433.3243. Free help is also available at the schools you're applying to. Talk to the financial aid administrator at the school you plan to attend. Information is available at your local public or college library.

Is student aid available through states?

Contact your state higher education agency for information on any available programs.

What financial aid programs are available to veterans?

Educational financial aid information is available at the GI Bill website or access details on specific programs at: