The National Health Service Corps is not conducting interviews for its 2007-2008 scholarship cycle...it just never ends with this program.
Let me start from the beginning. When I was applying to grad school, I found out that there really isn't any good financial aid for programs like mine (direct-entry/grad-entry programs in nursing, also called bridge programs) nor for graduate professional school in general. Everyone speaks of one or two programs when considering aid: the National Health Service Corp Scholarship & Loan Repayment Program, and the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program. (The Nursing Scholarship Program is mostly for undergrads)
NHSC does not accept students in bridge programs, so we apply after the first year when, technically, we are no longer in a bridge program. You can see a snipet of the history of NHSC here, pay specific attention to the "NHSC milestones." Over the years, the program has been reducing its scholarship offerings in favor of the loan repayment program, which costs them less to provide, and in the '80's there was a severe decline in aid because the country expected a physician surplus. At this point, the program is almost all loan repayment, and I predict that in the next few years the scholarship will no longer be offered. I believe this will directly impact the number of minority physicians and APRNs because I have read articles stating that at times the number of minority students in this program exceeds 50% of the total of participants. (I will try to find a public link to one of these articles or at least tell you the name of it so you can look it up!)
The problem this year is that they all of a sudden decided not to conduct interviews for this program! Instead, they will select awardees based solely on their application...an application that has no essay, no place to indicate involvement in the community or any other volunteer experiences, no way to indicate who you are! How do you select people like this? The application is basically a personality assessment...and it happens to be culturally biased. I think the interviews were crucial to the selection process, and that in the absence of these interviews the demographics of their awardees will change significantly...that is unless they use the demographic section of the application to select a specific percentage of minority and non-minority applicants...is that still legal?
Anyway, all of this is just to say my number one plan for funding the next two years of school looks like it just fell through. I'm still applying, but interviews are a strength of mine, and with only the application it doesn't look good. The positive is that I can just stay and go straight to the doctoral program (maybe part time, I'm tired of school).
Oh! And the problem with the Schlarships for Disadvantaged Students Program is that none of the schools I applied to participate. You must apply through the financial aid office of your school. When I asked about this, they said that they don't meet the requirements for the program - mainly, they don't have enough minority students enrolled to qualify for the program, which seems backwards to me...