School-Based Scholars Program

What is the School-Based Scholars Program?

  • The WashU OT program received grant funding from the US Department of Education to create a scholarship program designed to recruit and train OTD graduates to practice in school-based settings and work with children and youth with high support needs.
  • Scholars have access to additional advising and mentoring, specialized coursework, priority placement for fieldwork and capstone, as well as approximately $30k in scholarship funding to be applied during the third year of their OTD program.
  • Scholars who complete the program will earn an entry-level doctorate degree in occupational therapy (OTD) and meet the requirements to attain certification and licensure as an occupational therapist. They will also attain additional competency specific to school-based practice and meeting the needs of children and youth who require intensive levels of support.

How is the curriculum for School-Based Scholars different?

  • Scholars take the same courses as their OTD peers. In the second year of the program, Scholars are required to take an elective course related to supporting children and youth with high-intensity needs.
  • Scholars get priority placement for mentored scholarship advisors, fieldwork and capstone experiences to ensure they will be well prepared to practice in school settings with children and youth.

What support or benefits are available to Scholars?

  • Additional formal advising from peers and faculty
  • Career mentorship from a member of the WUSM community with similar identities
  • Priority placement for mentored scholarship lab, Level II fieldwork and capstone
  • Full tuition scholarship plus stipend for the Scholar’s clinical year (year 3 in the program)

Who is eligible to apply for the School-Based Scholar Program?

  • Prospective and current students who have been accepted to WashU OT and are completing their OTD degree. Applications for the SBSP will only be reviewed after the decision to admit the student has been made.
  • Must be US Citizens or have status as a permanent resident of the US in order to ensure the Scholar is able to fulfill their 2-year service commitment in US schools after certification and licensure.
  • Demonstrate a passion for inclusion, interprofessional collaboration, and trauma-informed, culturally sensitive care through their application and essay.
  • Applicants with diverse life experiences and identities who are interested in working with children and youth in school settings are encouraged to apply.

What are the obligations of Scholars in the program?

  • Successfully meet all graduation requirements and successfully complete assigned coursework, fieldwork and capstone experiences. Scholars are strongly encouraged to take advantage of all support services, advising and resources for learners to facilitate their success in the program.
  • Attain certification and licensure as an occupational therapist and maintain eligibility to work as an occupational therapist in school settings.
  • Work a minimum of two years (full time or equivalent), in a primarily direct clinical role with students who qualify for special education services. Scholars have up to seven years to fulfill their employment obligation before being required to repay their scholarship funds.

How can I apply for the School-Based Scholars Program?

  • Students who have been accepted to the WashU OT program as OTD students are eligible to apply.
  • Students who have been accepted as MSOT students who are interested in switching to the OTD degree path are also eligible to apply
  • Complete the application form here: School-Based Scholar Application 2024-25

If you would like assistance with your application or have any additional questions, please contact the Project Director, Jessie Bricker, OTD, OTR/L, at [email protected]