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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the NIH?

The NIH, or the National Institutes of Health, is the world's largest biomedical research institution. NIH seeks to improve health by conducting research in its own laboratories and by funding the research of other scientists throughout the United States and around the world.

The NIH, headquartered in a suburb of Washington, D.C., is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an agency of the Federal Government.


If selected, will i receive the full $20,000?

Your exact scholarship amount will be determined based on your educational expenses and your other sources of financial aid. Your scholarship award cannot exceed your unmet college expenses. You should also contact your financial aid office to determine how an outside scholarship will affect your financial aid package.


How many scholarships do you award?

The NIH awards approximately 15 scholarships each year. It is a highly competitive program.


In addition to the minimum requirements, what do you look for in applicants?

Strong applicants are able to demonstrate their commitment to a research career. Applicants are most able to demonstrate this commitment if they have already participated in laboratory research, been involved in extracurricular science activities, or have taken advanced courses relevant to their field.


What is considered a "disadvantage background"?

Disadvantaged background means that your financial aid office has certified you as having "exceptional financial need" (EFN), as defined by the Federal Government.


What if i don't meet this definition of "disadvantaged background"?

Federal regulations prevent us from considering applicants who do not meet the above definition of disadvantaged background; however, NIH offers other training programs that do not require students to be disadvantaged. For information on all of NIH's training programs, visit



UGSP recipients are Federal employees during their training at the NIH and must be eligible for Federal employment. In general, only U.S. citizens and nationals are eligible for Federal employment.