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Scholarship Benefits

NIH Undergraduate Scholarships are awarded for 1-year periods (renewable up to 4 years) and cover tuition and reasonable educational and living expenses up to $20,000 for each academic year. In return, recipients commit to two types of service obligation for each year of scholarship: (1) 10-week summer service as a paid employee in an NIH research laboratory and (2) after graduation, 1 year of full-time paid employment in an NIH research laboratory.


Scholarship benefits

The NIH UGSP will make payments directly to your institution, which will be responsible for administering the funds.

Tuition and fees. The UGSP will pay your institution directly for tuition and fees. If you have already paid your tuition and required fees, you will be reimbursed by the school after payment is received from the UGSP.

Reasonable educational and living expenses. The NIH UGSP will make payments to your school at the beginning of each term or quarter for reasonable educational expenses. These expenses may include required books, laboratory expenses, and graduation fees. The scholarship will not pay for tuition costs unrelated to the degree program, membership dues for student societies or associations, loan processing fees, and similar expenses.

Note: The receipt of scholarship funds during the school year does not mean you are employed by the Federal Government or that you participate in any of the benefits available to Federal employees.


Approval of academic program and acceptable performance
The NIH must approve your proposed academic program for the scholarship year, and you must agree not to alter the program without prior approval from the NIH. You must send a copy of your course schedule as soon as it has been set by the school. In addition, you must maintain an acceptable level of academic standing, as determined by your academic institution, in accordance with regulations issued by the NIH. If you delay the submission of your academic program, the release of UGSP funds will also be delayed.


Questions and answers about scholarship benefits

Can I receive benefits from other sources?
Receipt of an NIH scholarship does not automatically mean you cannot receive funds from other sources, as long as the sources do not involve service obligations. However, many student assistance programs are based on financial need and may cover expenses already paid by the scholarship. You should contact your school's financial aid officer to determine how an NIH scholarship may affect other assistance. Usually, the total of all awards cannot exceed your expenses.

Note: Educational benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (under the G.I. Bill) continue along with scholarship funds, since these benefits were earned by prior active duty in a uniformed service.

Are the benefits taxable? The scholarship is taxable in rare situations.   Applicants should consult IRS Topic No. 421 to determine the potential effect of scholarship funds on taxable income.  It is your responsibility to arrange for the payment of any Federal, State, and local taxes that may be owed. 

What if I need additional funds? If tuition, educational, and living expenses exceed $20,000, the NIH UGSP cannot provide additional funds.

What if I need to repeat courses or take a lighter schedule? The NIH UGSP will pay tuition for courses taken for the first time only. However, if a repeated course is taken in addition to a full-time course load and the repeated course does not delay the graduation date, payment of the stipend will continue, but the scholarship will not pay for repeated courses.

What if there are breaks in my course work? Scholars who have breaks in their course work must submit documentation explaining the circumstances and demonstrating a continued commitment to biomedical research. If scholarship recipients have breaks in their course work extending beyond 1 year, an interview will be required before the NIH can resume scholarship support.

Participants incurring a break in their education must also submit documentation from a school official confirming that they (1) are enrolled as full-time students in courses leading to the degree for which they received scholarship support and (2) are not repeating course work.

What if I delay my graduation? The NIH UGSP will discontinue the payment of all benefits when: (1) the school has approved a scholar's leave of absence for personal or medical reasons or (2) a scholar's graduation is delayed by a requirement to repeat course work or by a change to a decelerated, nontraditional, or part-time program.

You are required to notify the NIH UGSP office in writing when considering a leave of absence, repeat of course work, or a decelerated, nontraditional, or part-time program. You must also forward a letter from your school verifying the changes made in your undergraduate program.