UNM pt


Division of Physical Therapy
UNM Health Sciences Center
MSC 09-5230
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505-272-5479
Fax: 505-272-8079

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Scholarships and Loans

1.      Scholarships for students accepted into the UNM PT Program  

For more information, contact Dr. Kathy Dieruf

A.      NMAPTA Scholarships for students in the UNM PT Program:

  • Liz Barnett Scholarship:  Elizabeth “Liz” Barnett, MS, was an integral force in the birth of the University of New Mexico’s Physical Therapy Program. In the 1970’s, the Physical Therapy Program was developed through funding from an Allied Health Manpower Training Grant, written in part by Liz Barnett who was employed as a physical therapist in the Regional Medical Program, which was also supported by a Federal Health Manpower Grant.  The PT Program was part of a grant package to establish an Allied Health Science Center at the UNM School of Medicine. The first class of 3 students was accepted in 1974, and graduated with their degree of Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1976.  Liz was recruited to serve as the first Director of the PT Program, a position she kept until 1979 when she moved to Colorado.  Liz retained her zest for life, which she demonstrated from her wheelchair on the stage at the 30th Anniversary Celebration of the UNM PT Program. Liz passed away in August 2004.
    • Recipient: second or third year student who demonstrates financial need for clinical rotations
    • Amount: $500.00 each for two students
    • Selection by UNM PT Faculty based on financial need as well as an essay (describing why the student is deserving of the scholarship, including financial issues and how the scholarship money will be used during clinical rotations).
    • Applications are available in the fall each year


  • Fred Rutan Scholarship:  Fred Rutan joined the UNM PT Program as faculty in the late 1970’s when he retired from the University of Florida. He accepted the interim Director position in 1985. Fred was a cohesive force in the program, and was loved by all of the PT Program faculty, staff, and students.  He was proud of the profession of physical therapy, and he instilled that pride in all of his students.  Fred was a strong proponent of the American Physical Therapy Association, and served in various positions within the APTA.  The program went through a sad time when Fred, after making a comeback from quadruple cardiac bypass surgery in 1987, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 1988, and he passed away at Thanksgiving that year.
    • Recipient: second or third year student who demonstrates outstanding leadership and scholarship
    • Amount: $500.00 each for two students
    • Selection by UNM PT Faculty based on an essay (describing why the student is deserving of the scholarship, including examples of leadership and scholarship qualities) and demonstrated performance within the Physical Therapy Program
    • Applications are available in the fall each year

 B.    Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

  • The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program provides scholarships to full- time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enrolled in health professions and nursing programs. Participating schools are responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, making reasonable determinations of need, and providing scholarships that do not exceed the cost of attendance (tuition, reasonable educational expenses and reasonable living expenses).
  • Eligible students come from an environment that has inhibited them from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school. This inhibition can include low parental income (which will be looked at for all applicants) or elements in the environment such as rural location or being the first in the family to attend college.
  • This federal scholarship is applied for each year and the amount available is dependent on funding received.  Applications are available through the PT Program in conjunction with the UNM SOM student financial aid office.
  • http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/DSA/sds.htm


2.     Local Resources:  Applications are made directly to the facilities

  a.      Home Health & Hospice Physical Therapy Service Scholarship sponsored by Mountain Home Health Care, Inc. in Taos, New Mexico

  • Eligibility: be a full-time student in good academic standing, be a resident of NM for a minimum of three (3) years, and not be already obligated to another entity for professional practice or service after academic training
  • Post-graduation requirements: provide one (1) year of full-time service to the home health/hospice agency for every $5,000.00 awarded.
  • Contact: Linda Linnane at 575-758-1024


3.     State of New Mexico Financial Incentives For Health Professionals

  • For more information, contact UNM SOM Financial Aid Office

a.     Allied Health Student Loan For Service

  • New Mexico residents who are accepted by or enrolled at an accredited New Mexico public post-secondary institution: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech- language pathology, audiology, pharmacy, nutrition, respiratory care, laboratory technology, radiologic technology, mental health services, emergency medical services, or a licensed or certified health profession as defined by the Higher Education Department.
  • Up to $12,000 annually, financially need based, part- time pro-rated.
  • Two year service commitment in a designated health professional shortage area.

Application available online w w w .hed.st a t e .nm.us   (http://hed.state.nm.us/content.asp?CustComKey=194795&CategoryKey=356694&pn=Page&DomName=hed.state.nm.us)

 b.     New Mexico Health Professional Loan Repayment Program


4.     National Resources:

a.     American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

  • Several scholarship/financial aid options for PT students are listed on the APTA website


b.     Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program

  • Family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, geriatric medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, podiatric medicine, nursing,

public health nursing, dentistry, psychiatry, osteopathy, optometry, pharmacy, psychology, public health, social work, marriage and family therapy, chiropractic medicine, environmental health and engineering, and allied health professions.

 c.      National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

Note:  The Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act of 2009 (HR 988) was introduced 2/11/2009, so check to see if it has passed!

  • Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act of 2009 amends the Public Health Service Act to:

(1)  include physical therapy within the definition of "primary health services"; and

(2)  make physical therapists eligible for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (to assure an adequate supply of physical therapists among other health professionals).

  • $50,000 for initial 2 year contract ($25,000 per year for 2 years).
  • Minimum 2 year service commitment.
    • Must work full time (min. 40 hrs week), 32 hours of outpatient clinical services, Ob-gyn and CNM exception: 21 hours of clinical, on call status is not credited; no more than 35 days vacation leave per year; no more than 12 hrs work in a 24 hour period. Primary care only must have a qualifying HPSA score set each year (HPSA = sliding fee scale, accept Medicaid/Medicare). HPSA sites are Community Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, Health Departments, IHS, Bureau of Prisons, some private practices in VERY rural areas).

 d.     Indian Health Profession Scholarship Program to encourage Native Americans to enter health professions.

  • Eligibility: Native Americans who are members of a federally recognized Indian Tribe or Alaska Natives.
  • www.scholarship.ihs.gov