Students who plan to have a career as a physician’s assistant should be sure to explore potential funding mechanisms. A number of federal, state, and local scholarships have been created to help increase the number of physicians assistants. In addition, some specific universities and private organizations also maintain their own scholarships for students who plan to enter the PA field.
As a first step, students will want to complete the FAFSA application as early as possible. This application will help them determine whether they are eligible for any federal or state funding. Students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who are members of certain ethnic minority groups (i.e., American Indian), may qualify for special funding programs. Below is a list of other scholarships that provide funding specifically to PA students:
Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA): Students have the opportunity to earn up to $2,500 to put towards their career. In addition, students can find a list of other PA scholarships and an application form for the FAPA scholarship at this website: http://www.fapaonline.org/node/71.
Physician Assistant Foundation: Students may be eligible for scholarships that range from $1,000 to $2,500 through this program. In order to be eligible, the student must attend an accredited PA program, be a student member of the AAPA organization, and must have done well in their first semester of PA school. Some scholarships are geared specifically towards students who come from low financial resources or those who are underrepresented in the PA field. Additional information and an application can be found at this website: http://pa-foundation.org/scholarships-fellowships/pa-student-scholarships.
National Health Services Corps Loan Repayment Program: Through this program, students are eligible to receive up to $50,000 to defray the cost of their student loans. In exchange for the funding, students incur a two-year commitment to provide services at an NHSC-approved site. Additional information about the program can be found here: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment.
The California Academy of Physician Assistants: This award is open to students who are CA residents and who attend a PA school in CA. Students must show financial need and be a student member of the organization in order to apply. Several scholarships, each worth $2,000 are listed on their website along with complete application instructions: http://www.capanet.org/Students_Pre-PA/CAPA-Student-Scholarships.
Society of Army Physician Assistants: Students who are Army veterans or those with Army ties may be eligible for this scholarship. It provides winners with an award worth $6,000 to help defray the cost of their tuition. Check out the eligible details at the following website for a full list of requirements: http://sapa.org/THESEANP.GRIMESSCHOLARSHIP2.pdf.
Helen Elizabeth Gibbens Physician Assistant Scholarship Fund: This award provides students who attend Western Michigan University’s PA program with funding to defray the cost of their education. The amount of the award varies based on funds available. Students must hold at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to keep this scholarship.
Students may want to check with their school to see whether their program offers any specific funding for students in a PA program.