PSEP Frequently Asked Questions

The Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) provides reduced tuition for students (nonresident or private) pursuing certain professional healthcare degrees at participating universities. The state legislatures of 12 Western states and Pacific Island jurisdictions subsidize tuition for PSEP students. These 12 states and jurisdictions are all members of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which administers the program and partners with the states and territories and the university programs that provide professional healthcare education.

Currently there are 10 degrees available: allopathic medicine, dentistry, osteopathic medicine, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.  WICHE member states/territories fund their residents in select fields. Check here to see if your state/territory participates, and which fields it funds.

Check here to see if your state/territory participates, and which fields it funds. No state/territory supports students in all PSEP healthcare professions. Typically, a state/territory uses PSEP to educate students in a health care profession not offered by its public universities. State/territory support and program participation are subject to change annually.

Apply directly to your home state/territory to assure that you meet its PSEP residency criteria (which varies by state/territory). Your home state/territory PSEP eligibility enables you to compete for PSEP support, financed by funds from your home state’s/territory’s legislature. Check your home state’s/territory’s application and details on this page.

October 15, the year prior to your anticipated enrollment. Veterinary medicine applicants are strongly encouraged (and in Montana, required) to apply by September 1. Note that assembling the application (and in some states, getting notarized proof of residency and other documentation) may take a few weeks. Some states accept late applications, but not all. If you apply late, you will be considered after all on-time applicants are awarded.

Over 60 universities offer more than 130 healthcare programs through PSEP. See available programs.

Apply directly to your chosen participating program(s) and indicate on your application that you are applying through PSEP. You’re subject to each school’s application deadlines and admission requirements. Participating veterinary medicine programs give PSEP applicants preferential admission, as do PSEP programs in several other healthcare professions.

Though first-year students always receive priority consideration, some states accept PSEP applications from already-enrolled students; check with your home state/territory directly to see if they do.

No. Each state/territory determines how many new students it can assist each year. If there are more applicants with offers of admission than there are state/territory funds available, your state/territory will ask WICHE to consult with cooperating programs to rank applicants. Those deemed to be most highly qualified will be offered funding first.

When funds are limited, states offer funding to the applicants with offers who are deemed most highly qualified. This is determined through a confidential weighted ranking of accepted applicants by cooperating PSEP programs. The highest-ranked applicants are offered PSEP support first. The process differs for veterinary medicine applicants. Click here for more detail.

Veterinary medicine applicants are strongly encouraged (and in Montana, required) to apply by September 1. For all fields except veterinary medicine, applicants receive admission offers before they know if their PSEP financial support is confirmed (or denied). In veterinary medicine, however, the opposite is true. Participating PSEP veterinary medicine schools adopted a cooperative admissions procedure that identifies the number of PSEP-eligible applicants to receive WICHE support, based on anticipated legislative appropriations. WICHE asks PSEP schools to confidentially rank all applicants by state cohort, and WICHE staff uses this data to compile a weighted ranking. Top-ranked candidates in each state cohort may then receive WICHE-sponsored offers of admission from participating PSEP veterinary medicine schools. For further detail, click here.

Your enrolling program will calculate your remaining tuition balance after they apply your PSEP award. Note that PSEP funds are sent directly to enrolling universities, not to students. If you’re enrolled at a public university, you will typically pay the tuition rate that state’s residents pay. However, if the resident/nonresident tuition differential is not fully covered by the PSEP award, the program charges you the balance of nonresident tuition, less the PSEP award. If you’re enrolling in a public program for which the university’s resident and nonresident tuition are identical, you will pay the balance of the full tuition minus the PSEP award. If you are enrolled in a private institution, you will pay the private tuition, minus the PSEP award.

PSEP award amounts vary by professional program. Check to see the current award amount for your healthcare field. PSEP awards are sent by January 15 to cover the entire academic year. WICHE disburses funds directly to enrolling programs, not to students.

Most (but not all) WICHE PSEP states/territories have a contractual service-payback obligation, whereby you must return to your home state after graduation and practice in your chosen field for a designated number of years–or else reimburse the support paid on your behalf by your state, plus interest penalties. See your state’s application and return requirements here.

It depends. If you have a scholarship that covers your full tuition cost (i.e.: a military Health Professions Scholarship Program, a National Health Service Corps scholarship, a full fellowship, or similar award), you’re not eligible to receive PSEP support. For any tuition balance, educational or living expenses you owe after your PSEP award, you can supplement your PSEP award with other scholarships, loans, etc. If you’re unsure that you still qualify, contact your home state office or WICHE’s central office to discuss your situation.

Students are often approached to register to vote on campus. Everyone should exercise their right to vote, but PSEP students attending school outside of their home state should proceed with caution if asked to register to vote on their school campus.

Maintain residency ties to your home state and plan well in advance of an election.  Students are encouraged to register to vote by absentee mail ballot in their home state. Registering to vote in your school state (not your home state) could have serious ramifications for your WICHE PSEP support. Before registering to vote (or changing your driver’s license, filing to pay state taxes, etc.) in your school state, seek sound advice from your WICHE PSEP home state office so that you don’t create unintended consequences in your future. Your safest option: Vote in your home state by absentee mail ballot.