Financial Aid & Scholarship Opportunities

Students in the Physical Therapy Program are eligible for general financial aid, and should apply.

Contact: Eddie Salazar, Manager, Financial Aid, School of Medicine, (505) 272 9876, 

In addition, various loans and scholarships are available for physical therapy students from local, state, and national resources. The APTA offers a 1-stop source for information on everything from association- and component-sponsored awards to federal student loan forgiveness opportunities:  

Examples and descriptions of some loans and scholarships are below and contacts and websites are provided to allow students to obtain the most recent information.

Contact Dr. Marybeth Barkocy, Director of Student Scholarship and, with specific questions.


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: third year student who demonstrates financial need for clinical rotations

Amount: up to $1000.00 each for 1-2 students

Selection by UNM PT Faculty and the NMAPTA Scholarship Committee 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 spring of the third year and awarded at graduation.

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: third year student who demonstrates outstanding leadership and scholarship

Amount: up to $1000.00 each for 1-2 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 spring of the third year and awarded at graduation

This scholarship is offered by the Division of Physical Therapy to students who have been challenged in some way on their path to physical therapy education. This can be educational, environmental or economically disadvantaged. The scholarship will provide a $1000 scholarship for up to 5 first-year students who are determined to be the top applicants by the scholarship committee. The deadline it October 15th in the first year of the program.

This $2500 LTSS scholarship is awarded in July at the end of the first and second year.

Students may apply for this scholarship in May of their first and second year. Financial need is determined by the current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarship monies are divided equally between fall and spring semesters, and credited to the student’s bursar account.

Students must be in good academic standing and have a demonstrated financial need (completing the FAFSA).

If you need additional information, please contact 

For more information, contact UNM School of Medicine Financial Aid Office. These programs are highly competitive.

New Mexico residents who are accepted by or enrolled at an accredited New Mexico public post-secondary institution are eligible (incoming or current students): 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, up to four years and can reapply each year.

One year service commitment in a designated health professional shortage area within New Mexico for each year awarded.

Applications open in May and are due July 1. Applications are available online at:  

Two year service commitment in an underserved area.

Primary Care Physicians (to include a physician, allopathic or osteopathic with a specialty in family or general medicine, general internal medicine, general pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology, other specialties may be considered at the discretion of the committee); Physician Assistants; Advanced Practice Nurses; Dentists, Podiatrists, Optometrists & Allied Health Care Providers (PT students fall under this category).

Up to $25,000 annually for two years; can apply for another two years

Applications open in March and are due May 1st. Applications are available online at: 

Funding for Graduate Students at UNM are available through the Graduate Resource Center 

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

Follow the links from Education Programs-> Student Resources-> Scholarship/Financial Aid Resources for a complete list. 

Scholarship program offered twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. 

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. 

Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act of 2009 amends the Public Health Service Act to include physical therapy within the definition of "primary health services"; and 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). 

Encouraging Native Americans to enter health professions.

Eligibility: Native Americans who are members of a federally recognized Indian Tribe or Alaska Natives. 

Elouise Cobell was a Native American woman who fought for the rights of Native Americans and strived to bring opportunities to her people. She was very successful in working with the federal government and a fund was established in her honor to help Native students financially in their academic journeys. The Cobell Scholarship is the result of the Cobell vs. Salazar settlement.

Eligibility: It is competitive, merit and need based, non-renewable, and available to any post-secondary student who is; an enrolled member of a US Federally-Recognized Tribe, enrolled in full-time study and is degree seeking. Applicants must plan to attend or be attending any nationally, regionally and industry accredited non-profit, public and private, institution. Applicants must be pursuing a vocational certificate or diploma, associate’s, bachelors, masters, doctoral or professional degree, or certificate. The most updated information will be available on the Cobell Scholar homepage and Online Application Student Information System (OASIS), additional FAQs, or by contacting Indigenous Education, Inc.  

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