National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) serves two roles.

  1. We award scholarships to students training to become health care workers.
  2. We pay school loans for current primary health care workers.

What drives our work?

We want everyone to be healthy.

To do our part:

How great is our impact?

More than

NHSC members providing care to 17 million

More than

NHSC scholars in residency or school preparing to serve

More than

of NHSC members serve at 8,400-plus community health centers


Our NHSC Impact Summary (PDF - 600 KB) highlights a strong network of current providers and pipeline residents and students. Currently, 17 million people receive care from more than 16,000 clinicians serving at NHSC-approved sites in urban, rural and tribal communities.

Since the NHSC began, more than 63,000 primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health professionals have served.

How does our work serve the public?

There aren’t enough primary health care workers. That means some people can’t get the health care they need. We work to change that.

We focus on:

  • Caring for everyone, even if they can’t pay.
  • Preventing disease and illness.

Why should I apply to the NHSC?

You can help those in need. And—you can be free of school debt.

How do I become an NHSC member?

First, decide which program fits you – loan repayment or the scholarship program. Then find out if you’re eligible and apply.

How do I become an NHSC-approved site?

NHSC-approved sites provide outpatient, primary health services in HPSAs.

If you’re eligible, you can apply to become an NHSC site. In some cases, we auto-approve sites. If we approve your site, you gain access to primary care providers.

What is the history of the NHSC?

We created the NHSC because of the health care crisis in the 1950s and 1960s.

Older physicians retired and young doctors stopped choosing general practice. This meant areas of the country would have no access to primary care.

So we stepped in to support health centers in rural, urban, and tribal communities. Our efforts addressed a growing primary health care shortage.

Major Milestones



NHSC creation

Awarded first scholarships

Grew from 181 providers to over 1,800

Budget 10x larger by decade’s end



Launch of Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

Predicted more physicians than needed—budget reduced

1989: Field strength reaches 1,500



Early 90s: only 1,000 providers serve

Loan Repayment Program adds mental health discipline

End of decade: Over 2,500 providers serve



Unprecedented growth in field strength due to increased funding

Added new primary care disciplines

2008 – 2011: Number of NHSC members doubled



Behavioral health becomes top discipline among NHSC clinicians

Students to Service (S2S) adds dentistry discipline

Telehealth increases rural healthcare access


How many people have served in the NHSC?

NHSC alumni include 50,000 primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health providers.

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2020

Contact Us

Call 1-800-221-9393
(TTY: 1-877-897-9910)
8 am - 8 pm ET | Mon - Fri
(except federal holidays)
Contact us via email

Program Updates