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 who are interested in pursuing a health profession to develop the needed skills to compete for, enter, and graduate from a health or allied health professions program, graduate program in behavioral and mental health, and/or programs for the training of physician assistants. IHCOP strives to improve retention, matriculation and graduation rates by implementing tailored enrichment programs designed to address the academic and social needs of trainees from disadvantaged backgrounds. It also provides opportunities for community-based health professions training, emphasizing experiences in underserved communities. HCOP focuses on three key milestones of education: (1) graduation from high school; (2) retention and graduation from college; and (3) acceptance, retention, and completion of a health careers? degree program.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2018 In Academic Year 2017-2018, HCOP supported 157 training programs and activities to promote interest in the health professions among prospective, disadvantaged students. In total, HCOP grantees reached 2,903 disadvantaged trainees across the country through structured programs. The establishment of National HCOP Academies is aimed at increasing the numbers of students in formal-structured programs in order to meet established targets. HCOP grantees partnered with 140 sites to provide 3,893 clinical training experiences for HCOP student trainees (e.g., academic institutions, community-based organizations, and hospitals). Approximately 78 percent of these training sites were located in medically underserved communities and/or rural settings. Additional students participated in HCOP activities and programs as well bringing 5,017 total students into the health professions pipeline of whom 2,868 completed their training.
Section 739 and Section 740(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 293c and 293 d)
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
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 including community, technical and tribal colleges. 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. Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Government and Native American Organizations may apply if they are otherwise eligible.
Beneficiary Eligibility
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 Notice of Funding Opportunity 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.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
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 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.
Award Procedure
Notification of award is made in writing (electronic) through a Notice of Award.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approximately 120 - 180 days after receipt of applications.
Not applicable.
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 Notice of Funding Opportunity 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; (8) stipends; and (9) scholarships. 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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
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 formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

This program has MOE requirements, see funding agency for further details. Additional Information:
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
This funding opportunity provides support for a 5-year project period.: Recipients draw down funds, as necessary, from the Payment Management System (PMS), the centralized web-based payment system for HHS awards. Recipients draw down funds, as necessary, from the Payment Management System (PMS), the centralized web based payment system for HHS awards.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Tammy Mayo-Blake, Division of Health Careers and Financial Support, Bureau of Health Workforce
Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Room 15N38D, 5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857 US
Phone: (301)443-0827
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 18$13,021,591.00; FY 19 est $13,109,475.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$12,794,324.00; FY 16$10,776,373.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
FY 2018 range: $442,220 to $640,000 Average award: $620,077 FY 2019 est. range: $550,420 to $640,000 Average award est.: $62,261 FY 2020 est. range: $0 Average award est.: $0
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
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


Federal Grants Resources