(a)General. In deciding which Scholarship Program applications will be approved by the Secretary, priority will be given to applicants entering their final year of education or training and priority will be given to applicants who previously received scholarship awards and who meet the conditions of paragraph (d) of this section. Except for continuation awards (see paragraph (d) of this section), applicants will be evaluated under the criteria specified in paragraph (b) of this section. A situation may occur in which there are a larger number of equally qualified applicants than there are awards to be made. In such cases, a random method may be used as the basis for selection. In selecting participants to receive awards as part-time students, the Secretary may, at the Secretary's discretion—
(1) Award scholarships geographically to part-time students so that available scholarships may be distributed on a relatively equal basis to students working throughout the VA health care system, and/or
(2) Award scholarships on the basis of retention needs within the VA health care system.
(b)Selection. In evaluating and selecting participants, the Secretary will take into consideration those factors determined necessary to assure effective participation in the Scholarship Program. The factors may include, but not be limited to—
(1) Work/volunteer experience, including prior health care employment and Department of Veterans Affairs employment;
(c)Selection of part-time students. Factors in addition to those specified in paragraph (b) of this section, which may be considered in awarding scholarships to part-time students may include, but are not limited to:
(1) Length of service of a VA employee in a health care facility;
(2) Honors and awards received from VA, and other sources;
(3) VA work performance evaluation;
(4) A recommendation for selection for a part-time scholarship from a VA Medical District.
(d)Duration of scholarship award. Subject to the availability of funds for the Scholarship Program, the Secretary will award a participant a full-time scholarship under these regulations for a period of from 1 to 4 school years and a participant of a part-time scholarship for a period of 1 to 6 school years.
(e)Continuation awards. Subject to the availability of funds for the Scholarship Program and selection, the Secretary will award a continuation scholarship for completion of the degree for which the scholarship was awarded if—
(1) The award will not extend the total period of Scholarship Program support beyond 4 years for a full-time scholarship, and beyond 6 years for a part-time scholarship; and
(2) The participant remains eligible for continued participation in the Scholarship Program.