Scholarship Options for PharmacistsDecember 15, 2021
The latest report from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) finds that average student loan debt among graduates is $173,561. That’s a pretty hefty sum.
If you’re hoping to go through pharmacy school and begin a career as a pharmacist, getting scholarships can help you reduce how much you owe. Here are some pharmacy school scholarships designed to help you get through school with less debt.
7 pharmacy school scholarships
If you’re trying to find a scholarship for pharmacy students, there are several options to consider. Here are some pharmacy scholarships to consider applying for.
1. American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE)
The AFPE offers a variety of pharmacy scholarships and grant programs. If you’re hoping to get free money for your education, this can be one good option. It’s important to look at each program individually, since they have different application requirements and due dates. However, if you’re hoping to get a little extra money, here are the options available:
- Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutical Sciences
- AFPE Regional Award
- ASHP-AFPE Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
- Dr. Paul B. Myrdal Memorial Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Pharmaceutics
- Herb and Nina Demuth Memorial Award
- Kappa Epsilon — AFPE Fellowship
- Phi Lambda Sigma — AFPE First Year Graduate School Fellowship
- Rho Chi — AFPE First Year Graduate School Fellowship
- Gateway to Research Scholarship
- Underrepresented Minority Gateway Award
- William M. Heller Mentor of the Year Award
2. AACP and Administrative Sciences (SAS) Section Summer Research Exchange Mentorship Program Award
If you’re looking for a scholarship for pharmacy students that focuses more on research, this program could be one way to get some extra cash for your studies. It’s a way to receive $2,500 and get involved in research with a host mentor over the summer.
Not only do you end up with a bit of cash, but you also learn valuable skills that can help you later in your career.
3. American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Foundation Student Scholarship Program
This industry association has chapters at various schools. It funds scholarships for students who have been studying pharmacy for at least a year and are active in their local APhA chapter. Different scholarships have various requirements, so review the eligibility criteria before moving forward with an application. Scholarships include:
- George F. Achambault Scholarship
- Paul Pumian Scholarship
- Robert D. Gibson Scholarship
- Tery Baskin Scholarship
- Theodore G. Tong Scholarship
- Charles C. Thomas Scholarship
- Boyle Family Scholarship
- Juan and Esperanza Luna Scholarship
- Mary Munson Runge Scholarship
- Hamilton, Harris, and Tucker APhA-ASP Chapter President Scholarship
- John A. Gans Scholarship
- Gloria Francke Scholarship
- Colonel Jerry W. Ross Scholarship
- APhA Foundation Scholarship
- Pharmacists Mutual Community Scholarship
4. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Foundation Scholarships
Like some of the other industry associations, the NCPA has its own scholarship programs, with a number of pharmacy school scholarships to apply for. Again, these programs have a variety of eligibility requirements and application criteria. Carefully study each to determine which is likely to work best for you.
- Presidential Scholarship
- Partners in Pharmacy Scholarship
- Willard B. Simmons Memorial Scholarship for Pharmacy Management
- J.C. and Rheba Cobb Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Government Affairs
- Neil Pruitt St. Memorial Scholarship in Entrepreneurism
5. American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) Student Leadership Award
Students that belong to this industry group can apply for the student leadership award. This award amounts to $2,000 and recognizes students that have a GPA of at least 2.75 at their accredited pharmacy school and are involved in some type of ASHP leadership position.
This is another great option for those hoping to reduce the need for student loans.
6. CVS Health Minority Scholarship
This scholarship program, which is run in conjunction between the AACP and CVS, is a terrific option for minority students, who are often underrepresented in pharmacy schools. Five recipients each get $7,000 as a one-time scholarship award. Students must already be accepted into a PharmD program, or be enrolled in their first year of a PharmD program.
7. Tylenol Future Care Scholarships
You won’t find specifically pharmacy scholarships with the Tylenol program. However, those attending pharmacy school do have access to the program. You need to be in an accredited college or university and have more than a year left in your program in order to qualify. Awards are for $5,000 or $10,000, and are granted to 35 students.
Other ways to get help paying for pharmacy school
Getting a scholarship for pharmacy students isn’t the only way you can reduce your overall student loan debt. Some of the other options for pharmacists and pharmacy students include loan repayment assistance and other Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
The U.S. government offers help for financially disadvantaged students, including those who are attending pharmacy school. If you can demonstrate adequate financial need, you might be able to qualify for this program, which is targeted at health professions and nursing programs.
National Health Services Corps (NHSC)
Once you finish pharmacy school, you could get help repaying your student loan debt by providing pharmacy services in an qualifying underserved area. For pharmacists, it’s possible to get up to $75,000 to help repay student loan debt, as long as you’re willing to work full-time for three years in the program.
Even if you’ve received a few pharmacy school scholarships, this can help to take care of outstanding debt.
Indian Health Service (IHS) Division of Health Professions Support
To aid in recruiting and retaining pharmacy workers at Native American healthcare facilities, there are a number of programs available for professionals in these areas. If you’re attending pharmacy school, or even if you finish, there are different resources available through the IHS Division of Health Professions Support:
- Loan repayment assistance
State loan repayment programs
In addition to federal loan repayment programs, there are also state programs designed to encourage healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, with student loan repayment. Programs vary by state, but in general, you have to agree to serve in an underserved or rural community in order to qualify for help with student loan repayment.
Additionally, more funds were recently made available to these state programs as part of the American Rescue Plan. Check with your state to see what programs are available and how you can apply for them.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Finally, if you’re struggling to qualify for pharmacy scholarships and loan repayment programs, consider PSLF. As long as you work for an eligible employer, you might be able to have your loan balance forgiven after you make 120 qualifying payments. Even working for a nonprofit hospital as a pharmacist may help you reach PSLF eligibility.
Student loan refinancing
Even if you get a scholarship for pharmacy students, it might not be enough to cover your entire cost of schooling. When you have a college funding gap, federal and private student loans can make a difference.
Once you finish with your PharmD, though, you might still have a significant amount of debt. Review your interest rates and then consider student loan refinancing to see if you could reduce your interest rate and save money on your repayment.
Keep in mind, though, that if you’re taking advantage of federal student loan benefits, refinancing may not be right for you. When you refinance, your loans become private, so you can’t use federal deferment, income-driven repayment, or PSLF to ease your student debt burden.
Even if you are relying on federal loan benefits, refinancing your private student loans can be a great financial choice. Depending on your credit score, you might be able to get a lower interest rate and even pay off your student debt faster. This can be a huge advantage as you move forward with your career and build a strong financial foundation.
There are a number of pharmacy school scholarships available that can help you reduce your need for federal student loans. However, some of these programs can be competitive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll receive an award.
Instead of relying entirely on a scholarship for pharmacy students, consider other strategies that can complement your efforts. Look into loan repayment assistance programs and other scholarships. Also, if you end up with student loans after exhausting your other resources, consider student loan refinancing if it makes sense for your situation.
ELFI offers a variety of student loan refinancing options with flexible repayment terms and the chance to reduce your interest rate and pay off your debt faster.*