Undergraduate Scholarship Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds


To provide service-conditioned scholarships to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who agree to pursue undergraduate education at accredited institutions. Individuals must pursue a course of academic study which prepares them for professions needed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH expects to facilitate interest of these individuals in pursuing careers in the biomedical/biobehavioral sciences at the NIH.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
C - Direct Payments For Specified Use
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Public Health Service Act, Title IV, Part G, Section 487D
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
An eligible applicant must be (1) A U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident; (2) enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited undergraduate institution (4 year school) of higher education; (3) from a disadvantaged background as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; (4) in good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.3 or be in the top 5 percent) with his/her educational institution; and (5) submit an application to participate in the Undergraduate Scholarship (UGS) Program; (6) agree to serve as a full-time NIH employee for not less than 10 consecutive weeks of each year during which the individual is attending the educational institution and receiving a scholarship; (7) agree to serve as a full-time NIH employee for 12 months for each academic year during which the scholarship was provided, not later than 60 days after obtaining his or her academic degree, unless a service deferment is granted.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursuing academic programs supporting professions needed by the NIH.
Applicants must submit documentation of the following, as appropriate: (1) Verification of enrollment or acceptance to a 4-year accredited institution of higher education (4 year school); (2) a proposed academic program for the school year; (3) certification from the academic institution that the applicant is in good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.3, or be in the top 5 percent); (4) certification from the academic institution that the applicant qualifies for participation in an educational assistance program for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services; and (5) other documentation as may be required by law, statute, or regulation.
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. Application, a signed contract, and other required information (as listed in the application packet) are submitted to the Program office. Once an application package is received by the administering Program Office, preliminary eligibility will be determined and highly qualified applicants will be interviewed. Final determination of awards will be made upon review by the Undergraduate Scholarship Program Scientific Review Committee at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Award Procedure
Priority will be given to applicants who are prior recipients. The NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program Committee will review, rank, and approve or disapprove applications submitted for program participation. Criteria which determine competitive ranking for awards may include: (1) career goal in biomedical/biobehavioral research; (2) academic performance; and (3) letters of recommendation. A student's financial need alone does not affect selection. Applicants approved for award will be notified by the Program Director. The Secretary, and his/her designee will sign the service contract of approved applicants, provide a copy to the participant and under graduate institution notice of approved award amount. Scholarship payments, including room and board, books, fees and transportation are made to the college or university for dispersal.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
The NIH Undergraduate Scholarship Program Committee will review, rank, and approve or disapprove applications based on career goals and academic performance. Priority will be given to applicants who have demonstrated good academic performance, demonstrated a career goal to pursue biomedical/biobehavioral research, and have characteristics which support the likelihood they will complete their service obligations.
How may assistance be used?
This program will provide scholarships to individuals who have completed their first academic term of studies at an accredited 4-year undergraduate institution of higher education. Recipients must be full-time students and who are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Each award recipient must agree by written contract to serve as a full-time NIH employee for not less than 10 consecutive weeks during the summer immediately following the year of the award. No later than 60 days after obtaining a qualified educational degree, each recipient must begin serving as a full-time NIH employee for one year in exchange for each year of NIH scholarship support (a deferment of the service obligation may be obtained if the Director, NIH, determines that such is appropriate). Applicants must submit a proposed academic program for each academic year and agree that this program will not be altered without prior approval. The applicant must be in good academic (maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3) standing with their educational institution for continuation under the scholarship program. Maximum scholarship per academic year is $20,000. Scholarship funds may only be used for tuition expenses and qualified educational and living expenses incurred while attending school.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
The NIH will maintain applicant records for 3 years after rejection and participant records for 6 years after completion of final service obligation.
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.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Each award covers 1 academic year, and may be extended for a maximum of 4 years. No awardee may receive more than 4 years of support. Scholarships are disbursed to the student's university at the beginning of each academic term, contingent on recipient eligibility.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Contact: Darryl Murray, 301-594-2222, murrayda@mail.nih.gov
Headquarters Office
Darryl Murray
Building 2, Room 2E20
Two Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892 US
Phone: 301-594-2222
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 22$4,399,851.00; FY 23 est $4,399,851.00; FY 24 est $4,500,000.00; FY 21$4,739,963.00; FY 20$4,216,292.00; FY 19$3,814,774.00; FY 18$3,803,279.00; FY 17$4,150,531.00; FY 16$3,837,463.00; - Funds are obligated from the appropriated budget to cover scholarship awards to a maximum of $20,000 per participant per academic year. Additional funds are used to fund the salaries of participants completing their service obligation, which are performed in exchange for the award they received as an undergraduate.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Scholarship awards over the past seven years have ranged from $2,000-$20,000, with the average award amount of $9,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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