SOM Awarded $4 Million for Disadvantaged Students

For More Information, Contact Cindy Foster (505) 269-6035

The University Of New Mexico School of Medicine recently was awarded two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program. Altogether, the UNM School of Medicine will receive $4,460,000 over four years to award scholarships to medical students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“These awards are substantial ones that will provide our students with the means to continue their medical education,” said Mary B. W. Fenton, MA , Director, Student Financial Aid Services for the Health Sciences Center.

“ Individual student awards must cover at least half of the cost of tuition (with a cap of $15,000 per student award year) and awards of $15,000 for students whose tuitions are over $30,000 per year. It is an amount that can have a tremendous positive impact on a disadvantaged student in school,” said Fenton.

It is also hoped that by providing this financial support students will feel less burdened by educational debt and, hopefully, feel freer to serve in a medically underserved community, she said.

HRSA is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable and the SDS Program addresses a major barrier to disadvantaged students’ access to health professions education -- namely, high tuition costs. Education can be interrupted due to the lack of funds, so scholarship awards may allow students to complete their education sooner without interruption.

The SDS program provides funds to schools. In turn, the schools make scholarships to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enrolled in health professions and programs.

Participating schools are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, making reasonable determinations of need, and providing scholarships that do not exceed the cost allowed by HRSA.

Funding priority is given to health professions schools with certain percentages of:

• full-time underrepresented minorities,

• graduates practicing in primary care,

• graduates working in medically underserved communities.

Several important components of the program were recently revamped.

“We are honored to have been selected to participate in this revised program. We know it will help our students,” said Fenton.

Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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