SMiLeS Scholarship Program
The SMiLeS: Support in Medical Laboratory Science and the AP-MLS program are supported by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration – Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (HRSA-SDS). These HRSA scholarships will provide funding assistance for disadvantaged students, including underrepresented minorities, who are pursuing a medical laboratory science (MLS) major. The goal is to increase the number of students entering the clinical laboratory sciences workforce and specifically place many of these supported students into clinical training sites in medically underserved communities.
The HRSA scholarship can support the entire cost of attendance at MSU for one year, which includes tuition and fees, on-campus room and board, books, supplies, and transportation, with a set $ amount assigned by MSU Office of Financial Aid for each academic year. Funding for SMiLeS will be available for up to five years and could exceed $1.1 million.
Eligibility and Application FAQs
What are the eligibility requirements for SMiLeS?
- The MLS student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, be enrolled full-time at MSU (12 credits minimum), and be in good academic standing.
- The student must meet at least one of the three disadvantages listed below. MSU HRSA-SDS qualifying disadvantages:
- Severe financial hardship (<$2,000 estimated family contribution from FAFSA)
- First generation college student
- Having attended a low-income high school
- Determined by directory search of the Teacher Cancellation Low Income (TCLI) website; https://studentaid.gov/tcli/
- The student must have a minimum unmet financial need of greater than 50% the cost of tuition once other financial aid is applied.
- Although eligibility to participate in the SMiLeS program is initially determined by FAFSA information, students being evaluated for scholarship support must provide the most recent 3 years of their parents’ federal tax forms (if dependent) or their own federal tax forms (if independent) to the MSU HRSA-SDS program director (Dr. Hoag), to verify the FAFSA information provided is accurate.
- BLS majors are NOT eligible for scholarship funding.
What support is provided to SMiLeS students?
- Semester advising meetings with the MLS advisor, Ms. Mariane Wolfe.
- Meet with the SMiLeS program director, Dr. Kathy Hoag, once per semester.
- Matched as a mentee with a MSU MLS alumni mentor.
- Participation in SMiLeS cohort field trips (as permitted by COVID-19 pandemic recommendation status).
- Advising on preparation for MLS certification examination through ASCP-BOC.
- Assistance with obtaining MLS employment and/or monitoring MLS employment post-graduation.
- Matched as a mentor to a BLS student interested in pursuing MLS application process and degree program.
What is covered by SMiLeS scholarships?
- The HRSA scholarship can support the entire cost of attendance at MSU for one year.
- This includes tuition and fees, on-campus room and board, books, supplies, and transportation, with a set $ amount assigned by MSU Office of Financial Aid for each academic year.
- Tuition cannot exceed $40,000/year.
How is scholarship funding prioritized? See flowchart image
- Is the MLS student eligible by the criteria above?
- No - The student cannot receive a scholarship.
- Yes - Move on below:
- Does the student come from a low-income family/household (AGI <200 percent HHS Poverty Guidelines) and/or have severe financial hardship?
- Yes - First priority for scholarship award.
- No - Move on below:
- Does the student meet two disadvantaged criteria, but not have financial hardship?
OR one disadvantaged criteria and participated in AP-MLS?
- Yes - Second priority for scholarship award.
- No - Move on below:
- Does the student meet one disadvantaged criteria, but does not have financial hardship and did not participate in AP-MLS?
- Yes - Lowest priority for scholarship award.
How is a student considered dependent or independent?
- The HRSA-SDS award has more strict criteria for independent status than FAFSA. A student may be considered independent by MSU Office of Financial Aid, but dependent by HRSA-SDS regulations.
- Any of the following allow a student to qualify as independent by HRSA-SDS rules:
- At least 24 years of age AND has NOT been listed as a dependent on his or her parents’ income tax for 3 or more years.
- Currently married (must provide proof of marriage certificate).
- Have dependent children who receive more than half of their support from the individual (must provide tax forms to verify the child/children are listed as dependent).
- Have dependent (other than children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you (must provide tax forms to verify the individual is listed as a dependent).
- A veteran of the U.S. armed forces (must provide copy of military or veterans card or DD-214).
- At any time since the individual turned age 13, both individual’s parents were deceased, or the individual was in foster care, or was a ward of the court (provide documentation from the state).
- An unaccompanied youth who is homeless (must provide supportive documentation).
- An emancipated minor or in a legal guardianship as determined by the court (provide documentation from the state).
The AP-MLS, Academic Preparation for MLS, program is designed to help disadvantaged students be more competitive for admission to the MLS degree program.
For whom is AP-MLS designed and who is eligible?
- AP-MLS is designed for BLS Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors intending to apply to the MLS program.
How to apply?
- To apply, fill out this application form: AP-MLS Application Form
What is acceptable “participation” in AP-MLS?
- Taking BLD 221 and BLD 321 seminar courses to fully understand the MLS career and assist in applying to the MSU MLS program.
- Advising each semester with Dr. Hoag and Mariane Wolfe.
- Being matched as a mentee with a MSU MLS student or alumni.
- Individual assistance in finding other necessary campus and community resources to aid overall student academic and personal well-being.
How to join the AP-MLS program?
- Email the AP-MLS Application Form to the AP-MLS/SMiLeS program director, Dr. Hoag, firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or the MLS program associate director, Ms. Wolfe, email@example.com, with AP-MLS in the subject line.
*The SMiLeS (and AP-MLS program) are supported by a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration – Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (HRSA-SDS), award number T08HP39294.