A stipend is a fixed dollar amount that is paid like a salary or allowance.

We have two sets of criteria that we use to determine if students qualify for a stipend. one that was put in place when the program was created and an update version that the NIH maintains. If students qualfiy under EITHER set of requirements then they are eligible for a stipend. 

Old Criteria :

The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy offers a finite number of stipends in the amount of $2,400 to scholars who meet any one of the National Institute of Health (NIH) criteria for populations considered to be underrepresented in the U.S. biomedical sciences. These populations, as defined in the NIH’s diversity statement, include:

  1. Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
  2. Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data.
  3. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:
    1. Individuals who come from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds. These thresholds are based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index; and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.
    2. Individuals who come from an educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that has demonstrably and directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.

New Criteria: 

  1. Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  2. Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families;
  3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years;
  4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (see the U.S. Department of Education);
  5. Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants (;
  6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children as a parent or child;
  7. Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer, or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas  (qualifying zip codes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background

Those wishing to apply for a stipend may do so on their online application form. Those who are awarded a stipend must complete the following paperwork and submit it to Hillman Academy management upon acceptance into the program:

  • I9 form
  • Complete residency payroll form
  • Complete local income form
  • W4 and direct deposit forms
  • Copies of SS card and photo ID


Scholars who are not awarded a stipend will be brought into the program as volunteers and, therefore, will be required to complete UPMC volunteer paperwork prior to the start of the program. Volunteer paperwork includes but is not limited to:

  • An online volunteer application
  • Two (2) reference forms
  • An online volunteer orientation
  • A parental consent form (for applicants under 18) or a criminal background history (for applicants 18 and over)
  • A pre-assignment questionnaire
  • A volunteer agreement
  • TB test results (done within the past 12 months)

Driver’s license/photo ID (for American citizens) or Permanent resident card (for those who are not American citizens) or Copy of I-94, visa and passport (for non-immigrants)

TB Testing

Tuberculosis (TB) test results are required for scholars participating in operating room (OR) tours scheduled by their respective sites. The TB test results must be negative and no older than 12 months. Those entering the program as volunteers are automatically expected to submit TB test results in compliance with Volunteer policies, but stipend-awarded scholars should expect to do so as well if they intend to participate in an OR tour.