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Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS)

Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students is a grant program that provides funds to eligible accredited U.S. health professions schools to make scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have financial need and are enrolled or accepted for enrollment as full time students.

Grantee schools develop and implement their own programs for recruiting and retaining students from disadvantaged backgrounds and select the students who receive the scholarship.

Active Grants and Abstracts

Eligible Schools

SDS Program

Apply for the SDS grant program -- check with your school's financial aid office to determine if you are able to participate.

Accredited schools located in the U.S. or its territories that are carrying out recruitment and retention programs for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and train students in any of the following health profession disciplines are eligible to apply to the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program:

  • Allopathic medicine
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Pharmacy
  • Chiropractic
  • Behavioral and mental health
  • Public health
  • Nursing
  • Allied health
  • Physician assistant

Schools receive priority points if they can demonstrate:

  • A 15 percent or better rate of Enrollment of under-represented minorities;
  • A 15 percent or better rate of graduates practicing primary care; and
  • A 10 percent or better rate of graduates working in medically underserved communities.

Grantees must demonstrate success based on the percentage of disadvantaged students who are enrolled or have graduated.

Schools can award scholarships only to students from a “disadvantaged background,” defined by the program as a student who

  • Comes from an environment that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions or nursing school; or
  • Comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for use in health professions and nursing programs.