Center for Rural Health

Medical Student Scholarship Program

What is the goal of this scholarship program?

The goal of the Medical Student Scholarship Program is to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in areas of Illinois that have an insufficient number of physicians in the specialties of family practice, general internal medicine, general pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology. The program is authorized by the Family Practice Residency Act (110 ILCS 935.1, et seq.)


What method is used to reach this goal?

Scholarships for tuition, mandatory fees and living expenses are available to a limited number of eligible medical students. Scholarship recipients repay the awards by completing graduate training in one of the primary care specialties and by practicing in areas of Illinois determined by the Illinois Department of Public Health to be physician shortage areas.


Who is eligible for a scholarship?

To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must be an Illinois resident, accepted for or enrolled in an allopathic or osteopathic medical school located in Illinois. Students waiting for confirmation of acceptance to medical school may apply. An applicant must demonstrate financial need. The medical school will be asked to attest to the applicant’s good academic standing and financial need. Only students who will pursue one, or a combination of the primary care specialties of family practice, general internal medicine, general pediatrics or obstetrics/gynecology will be eligible for scholarship funds.

Selection preference will be given to applicants who meet the above criteria and who demonstrate 1) a commitment to primary health care, 2) financial need, and 3) prior experience with populations whose health care needs are underserved. When all factors are equal, preference is given to applicants who have resided in Illinois for the longer period of time.


How does the application and selection process work?

Applications are provided to the financial aid offices of Illinois’ allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Completed applications must be postmarked no later than May 15. The Department may interview applicants as part of the selection process. Announcement of students selected for awards is scheduled for October. The scholarship will pay tuition, fees (matriculation fees and mandatory insurance) and living expenses of $950 a month for 12 months per year. Scholarship awards are sent to the medical schools for disbursement.


What are the details concerning scholarship repayment?

Each student who receives the scholarship will enter into a contract with the Illinois Department of Public Health detailing the terms and conditions of the scholarship. Failure by the recipient to meet the terms of the contract will require the recipient to reimburse the state three times the total amount of the scholarship over the same period of time the financial assistance was provided.

Within 30 days after completing residency training, the scholarship recipient begins to repay the award by establishing an office-based practice in an area in Illinois designated by the Department as having a shortage of primary care providers.

Fellowships in a primary care field, generally one year in length after residency, are allowable when approved by the Department. Time spent in residency or fellowship does not repay any part of the service obligation.

The recipient must practice on a full-time basis, one year for each year scholarship funds were received. The physicians (recipients) are considered to be in private practice and are not employees of the Department. Private practice may be as an individual or in a group. Physicians working in hospital settings must work full-time in ambulatory patient care through an outpatient clinic. Both salaried and fee-for-service practice arrangements are acceptable

For evaluation and approval of practice locations, a scholarship recipient must contact the Department prior to entering into a formal agreement with an employer or facility. Practice locations can be approved up to 18 months prior to initiating the service repayment.

The Department will not assign scholarship recipients to an area.


What are the details concerning a practice site location?

Applicants will need to be flexible about practice location as physician shortage areas in the state change. If an applicant hopes to practice in a particular city or county, serious consideration should be given to the importance of this preference before applying for this scholarship. A current list of physician shortage areas is available at www.illinoishealthpro.org.

Selecting a suitable location to fulfill the service obligation is the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. The Department will consider new geographic locations for designation as physician shortage areas and recipients, medical schools, hospitals, physicians or community organizations may submit proposed locations for review. In all instances, practice must begin within 30 days of recipient’s licensure or completion of a residency program.


 Questions may be directed to :

Illinois Department of Public Health
Center for Rural Health
Medical Student Scholarship Program
535 W. Jefferson St.
Springfield, IL 62761-0001

Telephone: 217-782-1624
TTY(hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466
 


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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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