The FAQs can also be found in the 2018-2019 Annual Program Guidance.
1. How do interested applicants apply to NHHSP?
The application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year is 11:59 pm HST, April 30, 2018. Those interested in applying to NHHSP should read the APG. To apply for NHHSP, complete the online and submit the required Supporting Documentation.
2. What if an awardee changes his/her mind about going into his/her chosen field after he/she has accepted NHHSP?
Accepting an NHHSP award is a serious commitment to serve Native Hawaiian communities. Individuals who accept the scholarship and change their mind before completing their degree or the service commitment, have breached their contract with the U.S. Government and must pay back all monies paid to directly them and to the school on their behalf, with interest. The amount owed, including interest, must be paid within 3 years of the date of default. Please note that participants who default on their NHHSP contract become ineligible to participate in any HRSA scholarship and loan repayment programs, including the NURSE Corps and the NHSC programs.
The Secretary or his/her designee may terminate an NHHSP contract for an academic year if the participant, on or before June 1 of the school year: (1) submits a written request to terminate his/her contract for that academic year; and (2) repays all amounts paid to, or on behalf of, that participant (tuition, stipends and ORC) for that academic year.
3. What if an NHHSP participant changes his/her mind about the type of degree he/she wants to complete?
Participants cannot change degree once the NHHSP contract has been signed. The terminal degree indicated on a participant’s application is the ONLY degree that NHHSP will support. Service commitment must be consistent with the degree for which the award was made. For example, if you received an award for NP degree, you must perform service as a NP, and not as a RN.
4. Can an NHHSP participant defer his/her scholarship start date?
No, scholarship start dates cannot be deferred. The scholarship will start at the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year.
5. Why are NHHSP awards taxable?
The NHHSP awards are considered payment for services required as a condition of receiving the scholarship, and therefore, the Internal Revenue Service classifies them as taxable. Consequently, HRSA withholds federal income tax on the components of the award (i.e., tuition, fees, stipend, ORC), as well as the “employee” share of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. All funds disbursed to scholars, or schools on your behalf, will be reported to the IRS on Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement). Federal scholarships with components exempt from taxation, such as the National Health Service Corps, are specified in statute.
6. What part of my NHHSP award is taxable?
All components of the NHHSP award are taxable, including tuition, fees, ORC annual payment and monthly stipend payments. Withholding income and employee FICA tax from tuition payments means that portions of your award may be reduced. If the amount withheld does not cover your tax obligations, you are responsible for paying the remainder to the IRS.
7. Is tax advice or assistance available to me?
HRSA does not provide tax advice and suggests you speak with a tax professional by visiting www.irs.gov or contacting the IRS through their TAX HELP LINE at (800) 829-1040.
8. What is an eligible health facility where NHHSP participants can fulfill the service obligation?
By law, the NHHSP service commitment must be completed in a full-time capacity, in order of priority, in:
- First, one of the five Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems (NHHCS), or
- Second, in a HPSA or MUA in Hawai`i (An MUA is an urban or rural area that the Secretary has determined to have a shortage of personal health services pursuant to criteria published in the Federal Register on October 15, 1976.)
- Located in the State of Hawai`i; and
- Has a designation that is similar to the designation that is made by the Secretary (“Secretary” means the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services or his/her designee.), acting through the Public Health Service.
Scholars cannot fulfill their Scholarship Program service obligations:
- by serving in one of the Armed Forces of the United States or a Veterans Health Administration facility; or
- by membership in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
NHHSP participants are responsible for finding their own employment site and confirming its eligibility with the Program. NHHSP reserves the right of final approval to ensure a participant’s compliance with statutory requirements related to the service obligation as referenced above.
9. How many hours must an NHHSP participant work at an NHHSP approved site to be considered full-time?
Full-time employment is considered no less than 32 hours of services per week. At least 26 hours of the minimum 32 hours per week must be spent providing clinical services (direct patient care) to patients.
10. When does the NHHSP service obligation begin?
Participants have up to nine months from the date of graduation to (1) obtain a license, and (2) accept an offer of employment from an NHHSP-approved facility.
11. How much is the NHHSP monthly stipend and when is the payment made?
For the 2018-2019 academic year, the monthly stipend will be $1,344.00. The stipend is disbursed by the end of each month; payments are not considered late until the 15th of the following month. The first stipend payment is issued in November and includes a lump sum payment for all months (July through October) of the Fall term and Summer term only if the Summer term was still in session on July 1.
Payment of tuition and fees are made directly to the school on the participant’s behalf. The Notice of Award Letter issued by NHHSP to the participant serves as authorization to the school to bill NHHSP directly for tuition and required fees. It takes approximately 6 weeks from date of receipt of the invoice by NHHSP for the school to receive payment.
12. Once a participant is selected to receive an NHHSP award, will the Program cover tuition and fees if his/her program started prior to July 1, 2018?
Yes, NHHSP will pay tuition and required fees for summer sessions when (1) summer school is an academic term normally required by the school for all students in the same program and (2) the summer session is in progress during the participant’s contract period (i.e., through July 1, 2018).
13. How are NHHSP stipend and other reasonable cost payments issued?
NHHSP stipend and other reasonable cost payments are transferred electronically to each participant’s financial institution through direct deposit. Direct deposit is mandatory.
14. What happens if tuition has been paid by another source of financial aid before the participant receives notice of NHHSP?
Tuition and fees are paid directly to the educational institution that the scholarship participant is attending. If tuition and fees for the initial Summer and/or Fall term of the academic year have been paid by another scholarship or a grant (e.g., Pell Grant, state grants or other scholarships), pending notice of an NHHSP award, the school may return payments to the source of funding and then submit an invoice to NHHSP for payment.
If a scholarship participant has taken out a student loan to cover the cost of tuition and fees for their initial summer and/or fall semester(s) while waiting for notice of an NHHSP award, the student should supply an itemized invoice to NHHSP showing the amount of tuition and fees paid for with the student loan. NHHSP will then pay that amount to the academic institution.
15. Does NHHSP cover additional books or materials a participant is required to purchase during the school year?
During the fall of the academic year, NHHSP makes a single ORC payment to the participant. This payment is to assist with covering expenses for required materials such as books, clinical supplies/ instruments, and uniforms during that school year. If additional expenses for books and other materials arise, those expenses are not covered by NHHSP. The participant is responsible for paying those expenses. The “other reasonable cost” payment is established in the initial award year and cannot be adjusted.
16. Is health insurance coverage included in the fees paid for by NHHSP?
If health insurance is required and purchase through the school is mandatory, the cost can be included in the fees paid by NHHSP to the school. Insurance for family members is not covered.
If the required insurance is purchased through any other source, then the school will not be allowed to submit the costs for the insurance fee.
17. Can the rules change after an individual selected to receive NHHSP has accepted the scholarship?
NHHSP participants may be subject to changes in the statute, regulations, and/or policies of NHHSP that occur after they have received their awards.
18. What happens if an NHHSP participant takes a leave of absence and/or repeats course work while attending college?
NHHSP will discontinue the payment of all benefits during a leave of absence approved by the school (for personal, medical or other reasons). If the participant is repeating course work for which NHHSP has already paid, NHHSP will not pay for that repeated course work but may maintain payments for stipends and all other non-repeated course work provided that the participant continues to meet the NHHSP requirements.
19. What if an NHHSP participant’s college does not offer courses needed during the participant’s first fall semester in the program?
NHHSP participants must be enrolled full-time in classes by September 30, 2018 in the program. If a participant’s school does not offer enough courses for the participant to enroll full-time, they will have to forfeit the scholarship. An exception is granted if the participant is on an official leave of absence from the school. In this case, the participant must provide official documentation from the school confirming the leave of absence. During this leave of absence, the participant will not be eligible to receive stipend or ORC payments, but can apply to have their stipend and ORC reinstated at the conclusion of their leave of absence.
20. When can an NHHSP participant start applying for positions to fulfill the service commitment?
Participants are encouraged to begin searching and applying for open positions as soon as possible. Participants have up to nine months from the date of graduation to obtain a license, begin an approved residency program or accept an offer of employment, and commence full-time (work providing clinical services.
21. Who pays the salary of an NHHSP participant fulfilling the service commitment?
The health care facility that employs the NHHSP participant pays the participant’s salary. Each NHHSP participant negotiates his/her own salary and benefits packages with the employer. There is no "typical" salary. Salaries vary by employing facility and location.
22. What does NHHSP mean when it says participants must make "at least a two-year service commitment”?
Individuals who receive NHHSP are required to serve, at a minimum, a two-year full-time service obligation. NHHSP participants who receive less than 2 years of scholarship support will still owe the equivalent of 2 years of full-time service. The service obligation is extended by one year for each full-time year of NHHSP support received beyond two years.
NHHSP hopes that participants will remain at their service sites and continue serving those in need even after the service commitment is fulfilled.
23. Can an NHHSP participant transfer schools and still receive NHHSP support?
Transferring to another school or changing programs is strongly discouraged once the applicant has been accepted into NHHSP. Transferring to another school or changing programs will be considered only for exceptional circumstances and must be approved in advance to ensure continued eligibility for funding. If a transfer is approved, no additional funding over the initial award amount will be given to pay nursing school expenses.
24. Can an NHHSP participant make changes to banking information after it has been submitted?
Yes, once the scholarship award has been accepted and the participant has signed his/her application he/she will be asked to enter banking information including a bank account and routing number along with the Enrollment Verification Form and W-4.