Health Careers Opportunity Program
The Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) program strives to develop a more competitive applicant pool to build diversity in the health professions. The program's goal is to provide students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to develop the skills needed to successfully compete for, enter into and graduate from health professions schools, allied health professions schools, graduate programs in behavioral and mental health, and programs for the training of physician assistants.
In FY 2015, programmatic changes were made to focus on activities that have a more direct impact on expanding the primary care workforce. In order to accomplish the goal of the program, the HCOP redesign directed applicants/grantees to focus on specific entry points along a shorter educational pipeline that begins in the latter years of high school.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Office: Health Resources and Services Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Section 739 of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 293c), (Educational Assistance in the Health Professions Regarding Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds) as amended by Section 5402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148).
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Eligible applicants include accredited schools of medicine, osteopathic medicine, public health, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, pharmacy, allied health, chiropractic, podiatric medicine, public and nonprofit private schools that offer graduate programs in behavioral and mental health, programs for the training of physician assistants, and other public or private nonprofit health or educational entities. HCOP grant programs may only operate in the fifty (50) states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Eligible participants of the HCOP grant program must a) meet the definition of economically disadvantaged; b) be from an “educationally disadvantaged” background; and c) express an interest in pursuing a health degree program. Individuals must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or foreign nationals who possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States. An individual will be determined to be disadvantaged if he or she comes from a background that has inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school or program providing education or training in an allied health profession; or comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low income thresholds according to family size published by the Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary for use in health professions programs.
Applicants should review the individual HRSA funding opportunity announcement issued under this CFDA program for any required proof or certifications which must be submitted prior to or simultaneous with submission of an application package. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. HRSA requires all applicants to apply electronically through Grants.gov.
All eligible, qualified applications will be forwarded to an objective review committee. Based on the advice of the objective review committee, the HRSA program official with delegated authority is responsible for final selection and funding decisions. Notification is made in writing by a Notice of Award.
Notification of award is made in writing (electronic) through a Notice of Award.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days.
Depending on Agency priorities and availability of funding, during the final budget year of the approved project period competing continuation applications may be solicited from interested applicants.
How are proposals selected?
Procedures for assessing the technical merit of grant applications have been instituted to provide an objective review of applications and to assist the applicant in understanding the standards against which each application will be judged. Critical indicators have been developed for each review criterion to assist the applicant in presenting pertinent information related to that criterion and to provide the reviewer with a standard for evaluation. Competing applications are reviewed by nonfederal reviewers for technical merit recommendations.
Applications will be reviewed and evaluated against the following criteria: (1) Purpose and Need; (2) Response to Program Purpose; (3) Impact; (4) Organizational Information, Resources and Capabilities; and (5) Support Requested. See the most recent Funding Opportunity Announcement for detailed selection criteria.
How may assistance be used?
Section 739 provides for assisting individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake education to enter a health or allied health profession. Grant funds may be used for: (1) recruitment; (2) facilitating entry; (3) counseling, mentoring and other services; (4) preliminary education and health research training; (5) financial aid information dissemination; (6) primary care exposure activities; (7) development of a more competitive applicant pool; and (8) stipends.
Restricted Uses: Indirect costs under training awards to organizations other than State, local or American Indian tribal governments will be budgeted and reimbursed at 8 percent of modified total direct costs rather than on the basis of a negotiated rate agreement, and are not subject to upward or downward adjustment.
Funds may not be used for the following purposes: Student support through stipends, tuition, and fees is not eligible for support.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
The recipient will be required to submit semi-annual performance and annual progress reports. A Federal Financial Report (SF-425) is required according to the schedule in HRSA’s Application Guide. A final report is due within 90 days after the project period ends. If applicable, the recipient must submit a Tangible Personal Property Report (SF-428) and any related forms within 90 days after the project period ends. New awards (“Type 1”) issued under this funding opportunity announcement are subject to the reporting requirements of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) of 2006 (Pub. L. 109–282), as amended by section 6202 of Public Law 110–252, and implemented by 2 CFR Part 170. Grant and cooperative agreement recipients must report information for each first-tier subaward of $25,000 or more in federal funds and executive total compensation for the recipient’s and subrecipient’s five most highly compensated executives as outlined in Appendix A to 2 CFR Part 170 (The FFATA details are available online at http://www.hrsa.gov/grants/ffata.html). Competing continuation recipients, etc. may be subject to this requirement and will be so notified in the Notice of Award. Cash reports are not applicable. Progress reports are not applicable. No expenditure reports are required. No performance monitoring is required.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.
Recipients are required to maintain grant accounting records 3 years from the date they submit the FFR. If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit or other action involving the award has been started before the expiration of the 3-year period, the records shall be retained until completion of the action and resolution of all issues which arise from it, or until the end of the regular 3-year period, whichever is later.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
This funding opportunity provides support for a 3-year project period. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Recipients draw down funds, as necessary, from the Payment Management System (PMS). PMS is the centralized web based payment system for HHS awards.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None. Violet Woo, Project Officer, Health Careers Pipeline Branch, Division of Health Careers and Financial Support, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9C-26, Rockville, MD 20857, Email: VWoo@hrsa.gov, Phone: (301) 443-6950.
Meseret Bezuneh, Chief, Health Careers Pipeline Branch, Division of Health Careers and Financial Support, Parklawn Building, Bureau of Health Workforce Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 9C-15, Rockville, Maryland 20857 Email: MBezuneh@hrsa.gov
Phone: (301) 443-6950
(Project Grants) FY 14 $10,097,848; FY 15 est $11,000,000; and FY 16 Estimate Not Available
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
FY 2014 range: $241,411 to $750,000; average award: $593,991;
FY 2015 est. range: $400,000 - $650,000; average award est.: $550,000.
FY 16 Estimate not available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
All administrative and audit requirements and the cost principles that govern Federal monies associated with this activity will be subject to the Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 as codified by HHS at 45 CFR 75
HRSA awards are also subject to the requirements of the HHS Grants Policy Statement (HHS GPS) that are applicable based on recipient type and purpose of award. The HHS GPS is available at http://www.hrsa.gov/grants.
Examples of Funded Projects