Challenge: While IHS has provided health profession education scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native students since 1978, Scholarship program staff realized that the majority of accurately completed applications were from students from only a few states. To make matters worse, those who weren’t awarded scholarships were filing complaints with their state senators and representatives, creating major headaches for IHS staff.
Solution: Your Health Career Starts Here encompassed a complete overhaul of the printed scholarship materials, including a pocket folder and informational slipsheets describing the three available scholarships — Preparatory, Pre-Graduate and Health Professions — as well as eligibility requirements and how to apply. We also designed a new Scholarship website and created a series of eNewsletters to alert recipients of deadlines and requirements necessary to maintain their scholarship from year to year. Key to the program was to move the paper-based application process into the 21st century by designing, programming and deploying an online application system.
Result: IHS receives fewer phone and email inquiries, awards more scholarships to students within the “problem” states and allows recipients to stay on top of their scholarships from year to year. IHS has invested further in the scholarship effort this year by funding additional public service announcements, launching an ad campaign and enhancing its online application system.