Physical Therapy Student Grants

Stretching Your College Budget?

A career in physical therapy can take many different paths. Physical therapists work with a wide variety of patients, including athletes, the elderly and infirm, and patients with chronic debilitating illnesses. Physical therapy specialists also routinely work with patients who have suffered severe injuries, and are struggling to regain their mobility and independence. Physical therapists are in high demand, and with an aging American population that demand shows little sign of abating.

Students interested in physical therapy have two career levels to consider. Licensed physical therapists must have a Master’s degree or Ph.D., which will require a four year university education. Becoming a physical therapy assistant requires, at minimum, a two year degree. Many students pursuing a career in physical therapy choose to stagger their education, first pursuing a two year degree at a community college or vocational school, and then working as a physical therapy assistant while pursuing their Master’s or Ph.D..

physical therapy grants for college

Physical therapy can be a rewarding and lucrative career, but it requires a significant amount of education and training. Whether entering directly into a four year program, or taking the community college route, pursuing a degree in physical therapy can be expensive, and most students will require some level of financial aid to help them meet the costs of their tuition. Fortunately, the high demand for physical therapists has led to an increase in the availability of grants and scholarships for students pursuing physical therapy as a career. These programs are sponsored by a variety of sources, including the Federal government, colleges and universities, and private and professional organizations.

Federally Funded Grants

The first stop for any student pursuing grants to supplement their college fund is the Federal government. While there are no Federally funded grant programs specifically targeting physical therapy majors, there are a few government education grants that can be applied to the needs of students enrolled in a PT program.

The following Federal grants may be applicable to students enrolled in a physical therapy program at an accredited college or university.

In addition to the Federal grant programs discussed here, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services offers a number scholarships and loans through the Health Resources and Services Administration. While not strictly grant programs, the financial aid incentives are designed to assist students entering into the healthcare profession. The following scholarship program is open to students pursuing a degree in physical therapy.

As with all Federal and state financial aid programs, students must first fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid  before they can apply for any of the above programs. The FAFSA is a requirement for all government supported financial aid, and students should make it priority number one in their search for college funding.

Colleges and Universities

Once any available Federal financial aid has been exhausted, students should look to their college of attendance for possible grant opportunities. Many colleges and universities offering physical therapy degrees provide financial aid for their attending students. Programs will vary greatly from school to school, and students should contact their college’s office of financial aid for information on grants and scholarships for which they may be eligible. Students should also contact the department head of their physical therapy program to learn of any financial aid programs which may be available, either through the college or through private organizations.

Physical therapy students attending a community college or vocational school may find fewer available financial aid programs than those attending a four year university. Universities typically offer more financial aid opportunities than two year colleges. However, students should still consult their school’s financial aid officer for information on campus-based grants and scholarships as this can help them determine the university to which they wish to transfer after receiving their two year degree.

The following financial aid opportunities will illustrate the types of campus-based programs available to physical therapy students.

Private Organizations

Private organizations and professional associations are prime sources for grants and scholarships dedicated to encouraging and supporting students pursuing careers as physical therapists. Professional associations of physical therapists often offer financial aid to deserving students, in the form of grants, scholarships and fellowships, as a way to develop the next generation of industry professionals. Many of these professional associations are regional, and students should search for state organizations that work to improve access to licensed physical therapists within their area.

Physical therapy students looking for grants and scholarships to help pay for college should refine their search by focusing on their particular field of interest. For example, a student wishing to pursue a career in sports medicine will want to look for organizations that serve the healthcare needs of both amateur and professional athletes, while students who wish to specialize in geriatric physical therapy will want to look for organizations dedicated to the needs of the elderly.

The following examples are typical of the kinds of financial aid opportunities supported by private and professional organizations for physical therapy students.

A degree in physical therapy can lead to a variety of career opportunities. Physical therapists work with athletes recovering from injuries, children and adults with disabilities, and elderly patients working to manage chronic pain or improve their mobility. For many patients, physical therapy offers their best chance to regain their independence, and to live full and rewarding lives free of pain. For students pursuing careers in physical therapy, grants and scholarships provide the much needed financial assistance they need to realize their professional ambitions.