Western’s MBS in Rural Community Health program offers scholarships for incoming graduate students and fellowships for continuing students to help offset expenses (tuition, housing, living), to enhance collaboration between students and their community partners, to enrich students’ Practicum projects, and to improve students’ professional lives. Funding is a competitive process and awarded only to qualified MBS students. Funding awards are for one full academic year and are applied directly to students’ university accounts in two payments during fall and spring semesters, respectively.
Several criteria will be considered in assessing these financial awards. MBS faculty members and Western’s School of Graduate Studies will fairly evaluate each application on a case-by-case basis. Students who apply for a scholarship or fellowship are obligated to meet the following criteria:
- Be an admitted MBS student enrolled in at least 6 credits in both fall and spring semesters during the academic year of scholarship/fellowship application.
- Demonstrate continued progress toward MBS degree completion (e.g., no incompletes or gaps in enrollment). The student should stay on track so they can complete their Master’s degree within 6 semesters of initial enrollment.
- Commit in writing to work full-time in a job related to community health in a rural area of Colorado for at least two years after completing the MBS degree (this may imply the equivalent of two years depending on work schedule and the stability of a recipient’s work history; e.g., four years of the work is half-time). Students should think carefully about their ability to fulfill this pledge, which shall be made in good faith as part of the application process.* If for any reason a student thinks they will not be able to fulfill this pledge, then they should not apply for this funding opportunity.
- *A student who does not fulfill the commitment to work in a rural area after accepting a financial award and after completing the MBS degree shall be required to remit the full funded amount back to Western Colorado University.
- Applicants must submit a letter of interest (600-word maximum) that demonstrates a high level of deservingness and need. This letter should describe how the financial award would support the student’s educational journey in community health (relative to their progress in the MBS degree path), including some commentary about their related professional pursuits, achieved or potential contributions to the community, and personal development.
Types of Awards
There are three award types for which students may apply:
- Scholarships are monetary awards available to eligible first-year MBS students who are new to the program (i.e., who have not yet finished two semesters).
- Fellowships are monetary awards available to eligible continuing MBS students who have completed two semesters or at least 12 credits of MBS course work.
- Matching Fellowships are monetary awards available to eligible continuing MBS students who have started pursuing their Practicum projects (at least 3 credits of MBS 698 or enrolled in at least 3 credits of MBS 699) and who have arranged for matching funds (exactly or approximately equivalent to amount of award sought by the student) that will be contributed by a community entity, partner organization, agency, etc., with whom the student is working to fulfill at least part of their Practicum requirements. If a student is working with a community entity that does not have enough resources for creating a matching arrangement, then the student should contact their MBS faculty advisor or the MBS Director to investigate other avenues by which such matching funds may be arranged (in the application process, students will be asked to state the approximate monetary amount they are hoping to receive, and they will need to name the community entity/partner that has agreed to contribute matching funds if the student receives the award).
This funding is made possible by the Colorado state legislature and Governor of Colorado through the passage of Senate Bill 22-172, the “Colorado Rural Health-care Workforce Initiative,” signed into law on June 1, 2022.
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