Area high school seniors will soon walk across the stage to receive their diploma. And East Alabama Health officials stand ready to hand them a scholarship loan for a healthcare degree that is “paid back” by agreeing to work in the organization for a minimum time frame following college graduation.

East Alabama Health (EAH) offers scholarship opportunities to high school seniors as well as to other residents in the region.

“It’s no secret that healthcare workers are in short supply across the U.S., so we’re working harder than ever to grow our own talented employees locally,”  said Susan Johnston, East Alabama Health’s vice president of Human Resources. “Doing so benefits our local colleges, our local workforce and our community. Having additional highly skilled healthcare workers here to care for our patients is the ultimate goal.”

Here’s a list of the scholarships available:

Scholarship Loans

 East Alabama Health offers a scholarship loan program for employees and non-employees who are already in the process of pursuing a career in healthcare. Examples include, but are not limited to, nursing, respiratory therapy, medical lab technologists (lab techs), medical coding and surgical technology (also called OR techs). Recipients of these scholarship loans agree to work full time with East Alabama Health after graduation for a period of time as outlined in the scholarship agreement. It is based on the amount of the loan received.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs)

This is a new fully paid scholarship loan that is available to area high school seniors as well as current EAH employees and non-employees. The loan covers tuition, books and all fees when the applicants enroll at either of the area colleges that offer LPN degrees — Southern Union, CVCC in Phenix City and Trenholm State in Montgomery.

Named scholarships  

In addition to the scholarship loans listed above, East Alabama Health offers two nursing scholarships that were established in memory of nurses (Connie Young and Sharon Gess) who died prematurely while still employed. Another named scholarship available is in honor of Dr. Paul Waddy, a former member of EAMC’s Board of Directors. There are specific criteria related to these three scholarships. See application information below.

East Alabama Health also offers tuition reimbursement to its full-time and part-time employees who have at least one year of service. Previously, the amount covered annually with tuition reimbursement was $3,000 per fiscal year, but is being increased to $10,000 per fiscal year starting with the Fall 2022 semester. “That’s very significant as college costs have increased a lot in recent years,” Johnston said. “Allowing reimbursement of up to $10,000 pretty much assures that most, if not all, of an employee’s college tuition costs will be covered each year. We believe very few hospitals or other businesses provide such a strong incentive to their employees.”

Complete details and an application are available at The deadline to apply for Fall 2022 scholarships is Friday, May 6 and the tuition reimbursement deadline is Friday, June 3. For more information, contact Lisa Ruffin, manager of Workforce Development at EAH, at 334-528-1181 or


East Alabama Health encompasses East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, EAMC-Lanier in Valley, the Spencer Cancer Center in Opelika, the Auburn Medical Pavilion and a host of other key medical clinic and practices that help provide a continuum of care to patients throughout an 11-county area. EAMC is a 340-bed regional referral hospital, while EAMC-Lanier provides inpatient services as well as a nursing home, an acute rehab unit and an ambulatory surgery center. East Alabama Health employs about 3,500 employees and is the second largest employer in the region, trailing only Auburn University. For more information, visit