Pursuant to the Podiatric Scholarship and Residency Act [110 ILCS 978]
The goal of the Podiatric Scholarship Program is to increase the number of podiatric physicians practicing in underserved areas of Illinois.
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. The maximum duration of the scholarship award is four years. Recipients repay the awards by practicing as podiatric physicians in areas of the State determined by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to be health professional shortage areas (HPSA).
To be eligible for the scholarship, an applicant must:
- Be an Illinois resident at the time of application;
- Be enrolled in or accepted for admission to an accredited podiatric medical school in Illinois;
- Exhibit financial need as determined by IDPH, using financial information provided by the applicant and his or her podiatric medical school; and
- Agree to practice full-time at a medical facility in a HPSA in Illinois as a podiatric physician one year for each year he or she is a scholarship recipient.
Applicants are ineligible for this scholarship if they receive funds from other scholarship or loan programs that require service commitments that prevent the applicants from fulfilling the service obligation of this program.
Individuals apply for the scholarship through this link: http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/forms/formsoppspodiatric-scholarship-application-fy18.pdf
In addition to the application form, applicants will need to furnish the following documents:
- A copy of your birth certificate, or documentation you are a naturalized citizen, or documentation you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.;
- A copy of your Student Aid Report from your FAFSA application or other documentation provided by your podiatric medical school which demonstrates financial need;
- Proof of enrollment or letter of acceptance into a podiatric medical school located in Illinois;
- Official transcripts from your undergraduate or podiatric medical school; transcripts must be received by IDPH directly from the school or have been issued to the applicant in a sealed envelope, which shall remain sealed until its arrival at IDPH; transcripts must include the institution's seal, the date the transcript was issued, and the registrar's signature; transcripts that do not conform to these requirements will not be accepted; and
- Completed narrative questions.
Individuals who have previously received a scholarship can renew their awards for the upcoming academic year (up to a maximum of four years), provided that the recipients:
- Request a continuation of scholarship funds;
- Would not be repeating the same year of school for the second consecutive year because of poor academic performance; and
- Have not voluntarily withdrawn from podiatric medical school.
If current recipients are not seeking scholarship funds for the upcoming academic year, new recipients will be selected for the scholarship based on the following criteria:
- Interest in pursuing podiatric medicine;
- Previous experience with medically underserved populations;
- Previous experience in the health care delivery system, with preference given to those whose experience has involved one or the primary care specialty areas;
- Academic capabilities as documented in official transcripts;
- Financial need;
- Greater number of years of podiatric medical school remaining;
- Stated willingness to provide podiatric medical care to Illinois residents residing in HPSAs;
- Greater number of years of residency in Illinois; and
- U.S. citizens, or those granted permanent residence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In addition, minority students receive preference in the selection of scholarships. Minority students include people who are:
- African-American – having origins in any of the black racial groups in Africa;
- Hispanic – having origins in Mexico, South or Central America, or the Caribbean Islands;
- Asian American – having origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands; or
- Native American or Alaskan Native – having origins in any of the original peoples of North America.
Prior to receiving scholarship funds for any academic year, a recipient must sign a grant agreement with the State of Illinois. This agreement will detail how scholarship funds will be disbursed and stipulations on how recipients will fulfill the service obligation.
Within 30 days after a recipient is licensed to practice podiatric medicine or, if already licensed in Illinois, within 30 days of completion of residency training, the recipient shall begin to repay the scholarship award. Repayment is achieved by practicing podiatric medicine in a medical facility in a HPSA in Illinois. The recipient must practice on a full-time basis, one year for each year scholarship funds were received.
The recipient is responsible for securing a suitable practice site to fulfill the service obligation. IDPH must approve the practice location prior to the recipient entering into a formal agreement with a medical facility. Practice locations can be approved up to 18 months prior to initiating the service obligation.
If an applicant desires to practice in a particular city or county, serious consideration should be given to the importance of this preference before apply for the scholarship. Applicants will need to be flexible as HPSA designations in Illinois change periodically.
Recipients default on the scholarship if they do not:
- complete podiatric medical school due to academic failure;
- complete podiatric medical school due to voluntary actions (e.g., withdraw from podiatric medical school);
- become licensed as a podiatrist in Illinois; or
- fulfill the service obligation.
A recipient who defaults on the scholarship must repay IDPH a sum equal to three times the amount of annual scholarship funds for each year the recipient attended podiatric medical school.
HEALTH PROFESSIONAL SHORTAGE AREA
A HPSA is a designation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that identifies areas which have a shortage or primary care, dental, or mental health providers. Designations can be found at: https://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/tools/analyzers/geo/ShortageArea.aspx
APPLICATION SUBMISSION TIMEFRAME
IDPH will accept applications June 15, 2017 through July 31, 2017. Applications received after July 31, 2017 will not be accepted.
Announcement of the student(s) selected for the scholarship is scheduled for August 2017. Scholarship awards are sent directly to the recipient's school. Recipients will be required to have verification of class enrollment forms completed by their school prior to receiving payments.