32 Opportunities to Get PA School Scholarships


For many PA students, going to PA school means incurring large student loan debts. But that’s not your only choice!


There are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there that can help you pay for PA school. Some are full rides, which, in exchange, you agree to some degree of service following graduation. Others are smaller awards ($500-$5000) that you can earn without making any future commitments.


Searching for scholarships isn’t for the faint of heart. Trust me, I know because I spent hours hunting these down. But, the potential for free money is worth the effort.


No matter which scholarships you pursue, following these few keys can help you to be more successful:


  • Apply early. Have your application ready to go in advance, and submit it as soon as you are eligible.
  • Scholarships are about more than just grades, so get out there and get involved in your community. Your involvement in organizations and commitment to your community will bolster your applications.
  • Keep a running list of your contributions to your community, school, and (if you’re applying later in PA school) your program and the PA profession.
  • Save copies of your applications and your essay. You’ll save yourself time on future applications if you have all of your information readily available and you may be able to reuse or tweak an essay to use on another application.
  • Apply to any and all scholarships that might seem like a fit. You only have a shot at the ones you go for, so cast a wide net!


Now, let’s check out your best options for PA school scholarships.



The Full Rides


National Health Service Corps

Scholarship includes full tuition + monthly stipend in exchange for working in a designated medically underserved area after graduation. You are eligible to apply after acceptance to a PA program.


Veterans Affairs Scholarship

Scholarship includes full tuition, an annual book stipend, and a monthly living stipend in exchange for working at an underserved VA for a length of service that matches the length of your scholarship. You are eligible to apply after acceptance to a PA program, and you may also apply during your PA program. Preference is given to those with less education remaining, so you may be more likely to get the scholarship if you only have one year of PA school remaining.


Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program  (HPSP)

Scholarship includes full tuition, monthly stipend, all educational fees paid, reimbursement of books/supplies. In exchange, you serve as active duty for each year of your scholarship (2 years of scholarship = 2 years of active duty).


Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP)

Same deal as the Navy.



Specialty organizations

A number of PA specialty organizations offer scholarships to PA students. If you had prior experience in the specialty, had a clinical rotation in the area, or plan to pursue a career in the field, you could be a contender for one (or more) of these scholarships.


American Academy of Physician Assistants in Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAPA-AAI)

No further details provided on their website, at least not for non-members.


American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants (AASPA)

Susan and Tom Lusty Memorial Scholarship
At least one (1) $1,000 award granted each year. PA students who are in didactic or clinical year are eligible.


Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology (APAO)

One (1) $2,500 award granted to a student in their clinical year.


Physician Assistants in Orthopaedic Surgery (PAOS)

Susan Lindahl Memorial Scholarship
Two (2) $5,000 awards granted to students in their clinical year.


Society for Physician Assistants in Pediatrics (SPAP)

One (1) $500 award to a student in their didactic or clinical year.


Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA)

Paul S. Robinson Award
At least one (1) $3,000 award to a student in their clinical year.


The Society of Physician Assistants in Otorhinolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery (SPAO-HNS)

Number and amount of awards granted based on donations for a given year.



The PA Foundation Scholarship Opportunities

The PA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA). Each year, they offer several scholarships to PA students in both their didactic and clinical years.


To be eligible for a PA Foundation scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a student member of AAPA
  • Attend an ARC-PA-accredited PA program
  • Have successfully completed at least one term of PA studies (semester or quarter) and be in good academic standing
  • Be enrolled in PA school at the time the application period closes


For 2018, the PA Foundation scholarship cycle is currently open with the following scholarships offered:

PA Foundation Scholarship – minimum of ten (10) $1,000 awards
Open to all applicants who meet the general eligibility criteria listed above.


AAPA Past Presidents Scholarship – two (2) $1,000 awards
Awarded to students who demonstrate service leadership through their PA program or a community health organization/project.


32 Organizations with PA School ScholarshipslBe a Physician Assistant

NCCPA Endowed Scholarship – three (3) $2,000 awards
Awarded to underrepresented minority students and/or those who are economically and/or educationally disadvantaged.


Ron Pace Memorial Scholarship – one (1) $1,000 award
Awarded to a Florida-based student who is a veteran or the child/dependent of a veteran. Named in memory of Ron Pace, a Florida Academy of Physician Assistants past president and AAPA Outstanding PA of the Year Award recipient, who served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years.


Timi Agar Barwick Scholarship for Humanism in Medicine – one (1) $1,000 award
Awarded to underrepresented minority students and/or those who are economically and/or educationally disadvantaged.


See all of the PA Foundation scholarship opportunities here.



State Chapter Organizations

Many state PA organizations offer scholarships for PA students. Some (but not all) require that you be a member of AAPA or the state organization to apply.


But, PA programs often require that you hold student memberships to these organizations anyway, and the cost is typically pretty low.


Based on the eligibility criteria, you may be able to widen the scope of your search beyond your state. Some organizations allow for residents, past residents, or future residents to apply.


So, if you grew up in a state different than where you are attending PA school, or you plan to move to another state to practice following graduation, you may qualify for scholarships in more than one state.


Some state organizations are a little more forthcoming or specific on the scholarship requirements and award amounts than others, so you may have to be a member (which is usually required by your PA program) to get access to all of the details.  


Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants (AKAPA)

At least one (1) scholarship of not less than $500. The number of scholarships and amount of awards may increase based upon the number of applicants and scholarship funds for the year.


The Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants (ASAPA)

One (1) $500 scholarship is awarded to a student from each of the three PA programs in Arizona.


California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA)

Scholarships and, apparently, information about the scholarship are only available to members.


Colorado Academy of PAs (CAPA)

Only members are privy to additional info.


Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA)

Two (2) awards of $1,000 each are granted to students who have completed 2 semesters of the didactic year by May 31.


Iowa Physician Assistant Society (IPAS)

Four (4) awards of $1,000 each for students enrolled in an in-state PA program.


The Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA)

One (1) award of $1,000 for a student in their clinical year.


Michigan Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA)

Awards may be granted to multiple recipients during their clinical year, amount is a mystery.


Minnesota Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA)

In prior years, $4,500/year has been granted, but it’s unclear how many students that represents. Unique in that it’s available exclusively to first year PA students (with award paid in the spring).


New Hampshire Society of Physician Assistants (NHSPA)

Awards of $500 to an individual first-year students at each PA program in the state. (Currently, this means two awards.)


New Mexico Academy of Physician Assistants (NMAPA)

Up to two (2) awards of $500 for students in their clinical year at the UNM PA program.


New York State Society of Physician Assistants (NYSSPA)

Six (6) awards, unknown amount, available to students in their didactic or clinical year.


North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants (NCAPA)

Number of awards varies, $500 each, available to students in their didactic or clinical year.


Ohio Association of Physician Assistants (OAPA)

OAPA offers three different scholarships, totaling 5 awards.
General scholarship - three (3) $500 awards for first or second year PA students.  
Diversity Scholarship - one (1) $500 award for a candidate who embodies the principles of diversity.
Past Presidents Leadership Scholarship - one (1), $500 award for candidate who demonstrates leadership.


Physician Assistant Academy of Vermont (PAAV)

One award, unpublished amount.


Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA)

Three (3) awards of $2,000 each, available to first or second year PA students through an essay contest. Additionally, PSPA provides students an opportunity to participate in the Thomas J. Lemley Award for Health Disparities Competition, with a first place award of $1,500 and a second place award of $1,000.


Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA)

Two scholarships available (one for students with military experience). The number of awards and award amounts were not listed.


Washington Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA)

Three scholarships available (one for military veterans). The number of total awards and award amounts were not listed.


Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants (WAPA)

Five (5) awards ranging from $500-1000 are available, with eligibility based on the phase of an applicant’s PA education.


Wyoming Association of Physician Assistants (WAPA)

Two (2) $1,000 awards granted. Applicants eligible upon acceptance to a PA program.


Scoping out potential scholarships takes some work, but so does getting into PA school. If you spend a little time now mapping out a financial plan for school, you can save yourself some serious money stress in the future.