CHC-Related Federal and State Programs

All Community Health Centers (CHCs) are automatically located in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the nature of being Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The federal government has set up many programs to help Community Health Centers attract and retain qualified personnel.

Note: For a more detailed explanation of CHCs and FQHCs, please link to our About CHCs page.
For an explanation of HPSA designation, please link to our Understanding HPSAs and MUAs page.

The following is a list of some federal and state programs that target HPSAs, and therefore CHCs, with a brief description of each:

Please click or scroll down for:
National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
NHSC Scholarship Program
NHSC Federal & State Program Loan Repayment Programs
Nurse Corps
Rural Health Clinics Act
Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program
J-1 Visa Waivers

1. The NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE CORPS (NHSC) strengthens and grows the primary care workforce by awarding scholarships and loan repayment to primary care providers in eligible disciplines in exchange for service within designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). The NHSC mission is to build healthy communities by supporting qualified health care providers dedicated to working in areas of the United States with limited access to care.

Click HERE to link to the Bureau of Health Workforce’s (BHW’s) NHSC webpage.

Click HERE to link to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA’s) NHSC website.

Click HERE to link to the Health Workforce Connector, a searchable job bank of open positions at NHSC and NURSE Corps sites.

2. The NHSC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM provides scholarships for the training of health professionals who agree to serve in the NHSC; requires obligated service in designated HPSAs.

Click HERE to link to the BPHC’s scholar-related application information.

3. NHSC LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAMS provide full- and part-time primary care health professionals with awards to be used in repayment of educational loans, in exchange for a service commitment within a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). NHSC also provides matching funds to states operating their own loan repayment programs for clinicians.

Click HERE for information on NHSC’s Loan Repayment Programs awarded directly to individual clinicians.

Click HERE for information on NHSC’s State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), where cost-sharing grants are provided to states and territories to operate their own loan repayment programs. 

4. NURSE CORPS awards loan repayment or scholarships to registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, and nursing students in exchange for a minimum commitment of two years of service at a facility experiencing a critical shortage of nurses.

Click HERE the Bureau of Health Workforce’s (BHW’s) Nurse Corps webpage.

5. The RURAL HEALTH CLINICS ACT (Public Law 95-210) provides for Medicare and Medicaid cost-based reimbursement of services provided by physician assistants and nurse practitioners in clinics in rural HPSAs.

Click HERE to link to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Rural Health Clinics Center webpage.

6. The AREA HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER (AHEC) Program aims to develop and enhance education and training networks within communities, academic institutions, and community-based organizations. In turn, these networks support increased diversity among health professionals, broaden the distribution of the health workforce, enhance health care quality, and improve health care delivery to rural and underserved areas and populations.

Click HERE to link to the National AHEC Association’s webpage.

6. The J-1 VISA WAIVER PROGRAM allows foreign physicians educated at U.S. institutions to remain in the country in exchange for service in public health.

Click HERE for more information on J-1 Visa Waiver eligible physicians.