SMU Wins Over $7 Million in Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

The amount is the most awarded to a university and aims to diversify the healthcare workforce

Oakland, Calif. (July 15, 2016) —  An agency with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Samuel Merritt University (SMU) $7.8 million in scholarship money for disadvantaged students who will join the University’s mission to diversify healthcare and improve outcomes in underserved communities.

The grant money — distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) — is available to SMU students entering or enrolled in the family nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and physical therapy programs. It is the largest amount of scholarship money awarded by HRSA to a single university or college in the U.S. this year.

“The more diverse our healthcare professionals, the healthier our communities,” said SMU President Sharon Diaz. “That begins with diversity on our campuses. We are grateful for HRSA’s recognition of our ongoing effort to make healthcare education accessible to all, and we welcome the students who want to join us in making health outcomes equitable for all.”

The federal assistance, known as the Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, will be available to severely financially disadvantaged students over the next four years.

The purpose of the SDS program is to increase diversity in the health professions by providing grants to eligible schools for the benefit of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The scholarship program gives funding priority to educational institutions with certain percentages of full-time underrepresented minorities, graduates practicing in primary care, and graduates working in medically underserved communities.

Required documentation: "This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under award number T08HP30207-01-00, T08HP30160-01-00, and T08HP30181-01-00. The award amounts are each $650,000 for four years. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government."

For more info about HRSA’s Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students Program:  

Direct contact: Terry Nordstrom, Vice President, Enrollment and Student Services, 510.869.6649

Media contact: Justin Berton, Associate Director of Media Relations, 510.869.6511 ext.3250

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