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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Visalia RN program student awarded $8,000 Health Professions Education Foundation scholarship

August 15, 2017

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David Price, a Registered Nursing program student on the Visalia campus, recently found out that he was selected to receive an $8,000 scholarship from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), an organization committed to ensuring safe access and quality healthcare environments that meet California’s diverse needs.

This sought-after scholarship is provided through the Health Professions Education Foundation (HPEF), a California non-profit entity established in 1987. HPEF has awarded almost 13,000 scholarships and more than $146.7 million in scholarships and loan repayments to health professionals in under-served areas of all 58 California counties.

“I was looking online for every possible financial help out there and started applying late last year,” says David. “Less than 100 of these financial awards are given out each year, statewide, and there was a short window to apply.”

The criteria for the HPEF scholarship application were exact and any error in compliance could disqualify an applicant immediately. “If at any point you are missing one item out of what they are asking, you are automatically rejected until the following year,” says David.

HPEF applicants must:

  • Be currently accepted or enrolled in an Associate Degree nursing program in California
  • Be free from any other service obligation
  • Have a GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Graduate after June 30, 2017
  • Be willing to work in a medically underserved area for one year

It is particularly important for award recipients to fulfill their one-year obligation to provide direct patient care at a qualified facility, which includes those designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources Administration as a Medically Underserved Area, Primary Care Shortage Area, Health Professional Shortage Area – Primary Care, county, state or veteran’s facility.

“They (OSHPD) want you to go back to school to provide more medical resources for California communities,” says David. “They want these hospitals and clinics to be staffed. Hospitals have to close entire floors because they don’t have the staff. It means fewer beds for those who are sick and who need them.”

David put a lot of work into completing the application process, even though he was balancing part-time work, school, clinics and his responsibilities as a father to his 9-year-old daughter, Karlie. “I got letters of recommendation from people I work with,” he says of the lengthy process that he began in October last year. “A huge portion was a several-page essay about my how I would use the money, how I could serve the community, what I could give back, and demonstrate my need (financially).”

“When you are a student and you are working part-time, $8,000 is a lot of money,” he says. “That’s a huge relief on financial strain, as well.”

David submitted his initial application package before the February 28th deadline. A few months later, he found out he had made the initial cut and went through a secondary screening.

“I know there’s probably 100-plus RN programs in the state and a lot of applications,” he says. “Too many variables in there.” The competition was going to be steep.

It was June, and David was in the middle of clinicals when he got the email. About 20 minutes later, he got the phone call.

“I was pretty shocked,” he admitted. “In the end, it’s by the grace of God that I got it.”

David looks forward to completing his RN program in December. He is excited to help fill the nursing shortage and continue to serve communities most in need of his ever-increasing medical care expertise.

Learn more about upcoming scholarship opportunities from HPEF.

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