Center for Rural Health

Podiatric Scholarship Program

Pursuant to Illinois Podiatric Scholarship and Residency Act
(110 ILCS 978)

What is the goal of this scholarship program?

To increase the number of podiatric physicians practicing in underserved areas of Illinois.

What method is used to reach this goal?

Scholarship awards are available to a limited number of eligible podiatric medicine students in Illinois. The award provides full tuition, matriculation fees and a living stipend. Scholarship recipients repay the awards by practicing as podiatric physicians in areas of the state determined by the Illinois Department of Public Health (Department) to be designated shortage areas.

Who is eligible for a scholarship?

To be eligible for a scholarship, the podiatric medicine student must be an Illinois resident at the time of application and must be accepted or enrolled in a school located in Illinois and accredited in its field. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and must apply to their school's financial aid department on or before the school's designated application deadline date. The school will be asked to attest to the applicant's good academic standing and financial need.

In selecting award recipients, preference will be shown to applicants meeting the above criteria and demonstrating 1) previous experience with medically underserved populations; 2) financial need; and 3) commitment to practicing in a designated underserved area of Illinois.

How does the scholarship program work?

Scholarship applications will be provided through the financial aid offices of Illinois schools offering credentials for podiatric physicians. Completed applications must be received by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Rural Health, no later than June 30. The Department may interview applicants as part of the selection process. Announcement of the students selected for awards is scheduled for September. Scholarship awards are sent directly to the recipientís school. Recipients will be required to have verification of class enrollment forms completed by their schools prior to receiving payments. The recipients repay the awards by working as podiatric physicians in areas of Illinois that have been determined by the Department to be designated shortage areas.

What are the details concerning scholarship repayment?

Within 30 days after student's licensure to practice or, if already licensed in Illinois, within 30 days of completion of residency training, the scholarship recipient shall begin to repay the award by practicing in an area in Illinois designated by the Department as having a shortage of primary care providers. The recipient must practice on a full-time basis, one year for each year scholarship funds were received. There is no other repayment obligation to the Department other than providing direct patient care in a designated shortage area. For evaluation and approval of practice locations, a scholarship recipient must contact the Department prior to entering into a formal agreement with an individual or facility. Practice locations will be approved up to 18 months prior to initiating the service repayment obligation.

Before receiving a scholarship, each applicant will enter into a binding contract with the state of Illinois to meet conditions of the scholarship. Failure to meet the terms of the contract will require the recipient to reimburse the state three times the total amount of the scholarship grant received for each unfulfilled year of the obligation.

What constitutes a designated shortage area?

A designated shortage area is a geographic area or a facility determined by the director of Public Health to be a physician shortage area, a medically underserved area or a health professional shortage area as defined by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, or as further defined by the Department. For purposes of this scholarship, shortage area designations will be the same as identified for the Illinois Medical Student Scholarship recipients.  

What are the details concerning a practice site location?

The responsibility of securing a suitable practice site to fulfill the obligation lies with the scholarship recipient. Department staff will provide current lists of shortage areas to the recipient. The Department will consider new geographic locations for designation as shortage areas. The proposed locations may be submitted by scholarship recipients, schools, community hospitals, local physicians or community organizations. However, practice must begin within 30 days of licensure or completion of training.

If an applicant desires to practice in a particular city or county, serious consideration should be given to the importance of this preference before applying for this scholarship. Applicants will need to be flexible as designated shortage areas in the state change.


Completed applications for scholarship assistance for the upcoming academic year must be received by the Center for Rural Health no later than June 30.

 Questions may be directed to :

Illinois Department of Public Health
Center for Rural Health
Podiatric Scholarship Program
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 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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