Graduate school scholarships for PTs are made available by various sources including the Federal Government, professional physical therapy associations, schools, foundations, and more.

Physical Therapy LoveWhen looking for funding or financial aid, prospective or current students often find themselves inundated with a plethora of information about scholarships, grants, and loans. This guide will focus on scholarships, but start with differentiating between all three sources of financial aid. We’ll also offer you resources to help you find the scholarships that are right for you!

Scholarships vs. Grants vs. Loans

Scholarships: Offer you money you don’t have to pay back. Therefore, no interest or fees accumulate on the money you receive. Some scholarships require that you fill out The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they have a need based component, where as many other scholarships do not, such as those that are merit or talent based, or are privately funded.

Grants: Like scholarships, grants offer you funding that does not need to be paid back, and has no interest or fees. Many grants do require a FAFSA application.

Loans: Unlike scholarships and grants, loans offer financial aid that must be paid back. Fees will accumulate on the money loaned, so you should do your research. Almost all federal loans require a FAFSA application, there are, however, nonfederal loan programs that do not.

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Resources to Find Scholarships

There are many scholarships out there to help students fund their education- whether it be undergraduate or graduate. There are need, merit, talent, specialty, research, and ethnicity based scholarships, and more. They can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The good news is you can usually apply for more than one!

Our advice is that you exhaust your options. Yes, many scholarship applications require filling out paperwork and writing essays, but every dollar counts in the pursuit of your PT degree. Here are a few good places to start looking for the scholarships and below we will highlight a few as examples. And remember, always check the schools you want to apply to, as you may find university specific scholarships that are a perfect fit!

  • APTA’s Scholarships, Awards, and Grants page offers information on many options specific to PTs. It covers Federal/State scholarship resources, minority scholarships, APTA and APTA section Awards, and more.
  • offers a page dedicated to funding for physical therapy students and offers additional information on school specific scholarships and money you can get from foundations.
  • The Foundation for Physical Therapy’s Scholarships page is another great resource to better understand this organization’s scholarships and grants. The Foundation’s scholarships range between $5,000 and $15,000.

Scholarship Spotlight

PT Association Scholarship

Mary McMillan Scholarship Award

The Mary McMillan Scholarship Award provides up to $5,000 annually to grad students in their last year of an entry-level professional physical therapy program that has been accredited by the CAPTE.

What do you need to have? You must demonstrate extraordinary scholastic performance, evidence of potential contribution to the physical therapy profession, and service to the APTA.

University Scholarship

Janet L. Hemzacek Memorial Scholarship

The Department of Physical Therapy at Northwestern University offers the Janet L. Hemzacek Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 annually to a PT student.

What do you need to have? You need to demonstrate a financial need, exhibit a strong sense of integrity and humanity, as well as involvement with diverse communities through volunteer work.

Minority Scholarship

Virginia Physical Therapy Student Minority Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to African American, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander students who are in the final academic year of an accredited physical therapy program in Virginia. It is offered annually for the amount of $1,000.

What do you need to have? You need to demonstrate that you contributed in minority community services, shown potential for superior achievements in PT, and academic excellence. You must also be a APTA and VPTA member.

Advanced’s Tuition Reimbursement and Bonuses

One great source of funding to consider is tuition reimbursements during employment. Advanced Travel Therapy offers a New Graduate Program to those who travel right out of school (or 18 months after graduation). This program offers fresh travel therapists exclusive benefits and bonuses including $5,000 tuition

How do you get this awesome tuition reimbursement? You will receive $2500 in tax-free bonus money after completing 4 assignments in one year. Assignments are typically 13 weeks. The same arrangement will happen in year two, earning you a total of $5,000 in tax free money after 8 assignments to help you defray your education costs. Your Advanced Recruiter can help you plan your breaks and vacations between assignments to keep you on track for your bonuses!

How else can you make some money? Another great way to make some extra cash is to capitalize on referral bonuses. Advanced Travel Therapy’s Sugar Rewards program will allow you to earn up to $13,000 in extra cash. And yes, you can take advantage of this bonus while you are still a student!

Like the idea of a $5,000 Tuition Reimbursement? Consider traveling with Advanced Travel Therapy!

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