Frequently Asked Questions 
about the Ultrasound Tuition Assistance Program

What is the Helmsley Tuition Assistance Grants?
Minnesota Rural Health Association (MRHA), through a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust (Helmsley) has received funding to provide tuition assistance for healthcare facilities to train additional staff for ultrasound services. This program provides funding that allows hospitals or federally qualified health centers to expand or sustain sonography staff that will increase ultrasound capabilities that will improve patient satisfaction and provide needed revenue.

Who is managing the Helmsley Tuition Assistance Grant?
MRHA applied for grant funding to provide tuition reimbursement funding for training new sonography staff and sub-specialty training for current sonography staff. MRHA has contracted with Sue Grafstrom to create and manage the tuition assistance program. MRHA has elected a committee that will choose grant recipients and provide oversight for the program.

How long will the Helmsley Tuition Assistance Grant have funding available?
MRHA received funding to provide tuition assistance for 3 years. However, if all funds have not been expended at the end of three years, then there is a potential that funding could continue for up to 2 additional years.

Who is eligible to apply?
Rural hospitals and federally qualified health centers are eligible to apply for tuition assistance grants.

Is there a match requirement?
There is no match requirement. However, depending on the program selected by your candidate, funding may not cover all the costs related to the program. In addition, depending on whether your candidate is a current employee there may be travel expenses, staffing costs or other expenses.

Does MRHA need to approve our scholarship or training recipient?
No, the training reimbursement grant is given to the organization, and it is the responsibility of the organization to select, monitor and reimburse the recipient for training and testing fees.

When does our organization receive the awarded tuition assistance funds? After training is completed?
No, Once MRHA receives the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the authorized representative the entire amount of training reimbursement funding awarded will be sent to the organization.

Can the funds be used to recruit employees?
Generally no. The funds are intended to train current ultrasound technician in specialty areas or to assist an individual in the pursuit of a degree. Funds cannot be used for recruitment purposes, sign-on bonuses, or retention efforts such as increased salaries or retentions bonuses.

What if we receive a tuition assistance grant and our recipient does not complete the training?
If there are any training funds that have not been expended by the hospital, MRHA requests that they be returned to MRHA so that they may be granted to another organization.

Is there an expectation or requirement that the individual receiving tuition assistance funding work for the sponsoring organization for a specific period?
While we hope that the sponsoring organization has the benefit from a new specialization or an increase in available ultrasound staff this is not a requirement of either Helmsley or MRHA.

What's the Difference Between Sonography and Ultrasound?
You may hear the terms sonography and ultrasound used interchangeably. While they're closely related, there is a slight difference between the two. An ultrasound is a type of test that uses sound waves to create an image of the internal body. A sonogram is the image generated by ultrasound. In other words, an ultrasound takes sonograms. So, sonography involves using ultrasound to diagnose patients.

What type of Sonographer Training is eligible?
Specialty Training
Specialty training is available in; abdomen, breast, OB/GYN, echocardiograph, vascular, musculoskeletal

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or Ultrasound Technician
Many education paths are available for prospective sonographers, but the most common is a 2-year degree through an accredited sonography training program. Bachelor's degrees are also available, as are 1-year certificate programs in sonography for persons already trained in another healthcare field.

Can we apply for both a specialty training reimbursement grant and a new ultrasound technician reimbursement grant?
You may apply for both in the same calendar year or subsequent years if not funded. However, each hospital is only eligible to receive one grant (specialty or general) throughout the 3 year grant program at this time.

How many organizations will receive funding each year?

  • 10 - $4,000 Specialty Training Tuition Awards each year (for current ultrasound technicians)
  • 1-4 Awards each year to fund the education of New Ultrasound Technicians. Contact MRHA for details on award amounts.

Who do we contact if we have any questions?
Sue Grafstrom
Program Manager
[email protected]
(218) 242-3134



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