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The US is lucky to have an abundance of resources which nursing students will find useful in order to gain that much needed funding to make it through nursing college, graduate specialization courses and even with travelling abroad. There are a few main types or categories of nursing scholarships or grants according to whom or what supplies them.
The first main category of nursing scholarships is those that are funded by the US government, for example by the Department of Health and Human Services. State governments too have funds available which are often targeted at specific populations in various states. The second type of scholarships is those granted by universities and colleges to their own students. This kind of financial aid can be given according to evidence of academic success or ability, or can simply be needs based. These grants or scholarships are not just for those studying nursing, but nursing students can also apply for them. Specific financial aid given to solely nursing students is given by Schools of Nursing. The School of Nursing will give funding to its undergraduate students, graduate students and sometimes postgraduate students.
Then there are copious nursing associations across the country according to which state they are in, for example the Texas Nurses Association who may give grants or scholarships to nursing students. National nursing associations are powerful groups that often have the best ability to fund nursing students successfully through their scholarship programs. There is, for example, the National Student Nurses Association, the Emergency Nurses Association, the American Nursing Association, the Association of Critical Care Nurses and the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.
If you identify yourself as a nursing student from a minority you might like to look into minority nursing associations who can aid you financially. In the US there is the National Black Nursing Association, the National American Arab Nursing Association, the Philippine Nursing Association of America and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. Other minorities are represented too, as the American Assembly for Men in Nursing supports men looking for a rewarding career in nursing. Finally, there are lots of commercial and big businesses who find it in their interests to sponsor young and returning students to the nursing career. Researching them may be a brilliant way to find the financial aid you are looking for. For additional information, please see our Minority scholarships page.
Remembering FAFSA and SAR for Nursing Students
The FAFSA is the application form to fill out to get access to Federal Student Aid, which is offered by the US Department of Education. They are the biggest provider of student funding in the US and work with $150 billion which they give out to more than 15 million students looking for financial help. Their central office includes about 1200 employees, whose job it is to inform students and families about financial aid available to them, to support them through the application process and to let them know how they receive their funding. This funding is of course not just for nursing students, but nursing students can definitely apply for it as there are certain programs just for nursing students. To be eligible for any of these programs, you have to fill out a FAFSA form, which is free to do online. They also offer free support throughout the process.
The FAFSA form is a way for the government to assess your financial capabilities, from which they will be able to calculate how much financial aid they can offer you. One of the most popular programs for nursing students is the Nursing Scholarship Program provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This government loan will cover your fees, supplies, any needed books and stipends. To be eligible for this type of program you will have to be a US citizen who has been accepted or enrolled in a professional nursing program that is accredited. You should not have been delinquent on federal debts. Also, you should not be subject to federal judgment lien. To make sure you are in with a good chance of getting a scholarship you should make sure your GPA stays high and that you keep your finances in good order and try to limit the amount of debt you have. It also helps to prove that you are genuinely or really interested in the field of nursing by volunteering at an appropriate location like a clinic, hospital or day-care center.
When filling out the FAFSA be aware that you should never be expected to pay for the right, (those sites that ask you to pay are often scam sites). You should be aware of the deadline which may vary according to what school or subject you are studying. To prepare for filling out the form you should get a form of ID ready, like a driver’s license. Also, have all the information and proof you need about your financial and educational past. Past financial information can be proven by past bank statements, income tax returns and also dependent students should be able to supply information on their parents’ finances. Once the form is completed and processed you and your school will be given a Student Aid Report which will let your school calculate the EFC, which stands for your Expected Family Contribution. The EFC lets the school know what kind of financial aid package they should prepare for you.
Remember that on top of this scholarship you may still be eligible for other types of federal student loans, grants and scholarships, as well as work/study programs offered by your state or school.
Undergraduate Nursing Student Funding Possibilities
What follows is a summary of all the financial aid out there for undergraduate nursing students. There are a few general nursing scholarship aid opportunities. These are not targeted at specific sections of the community and can be applied for by any nursing student. Cherokee Uniforms is a commercial sponsor of nursing students who offer ten scholarships to those who watch an online video by them, then submit an essay along with an application form.
The American Association of Critical Care offers $1500 every year to nurses who are doing graduate degree programs or baccalaureate programs. The Health Professions Education Foundation offer a Bachelor of Science Scholarship and a repayment loan program. The National Health Service Corps, which is a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, offers funding to nursing students serving in an area that is underserved. The National Student Nurses Association also offers help to those enrolled in a doctorate, diploma, masters, associate degree program or baccalaureate.
The Nurse Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program also helps nurses who are registered and working in an underserved area in a health facility. If you are enrolled in an accredited master’s or doctoral program you may be able to get help from Nursing Educational Funds Inc. If you are studying a degree that will help to fight nursing home abuse then the Nursing Home Abuse organization can offer a $5000 scholarship for expenses not related to tuition. The Oncology Nursing Society Foundation helps those who have great academic ability studying for bachelor degrees.
Other organizations that can help fund any kind of nurse includes the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association which offers $1000-5000 with the Promise of Nursing Undergraduate Education Scholarship. Another commercial sponsor of nurses is Tafford Uniforms who offer two scholarships every semester to students in a US accredited nursing program. See our General Scholarships page for additional resources.
Military Related Nurses Funding
The Army Nurse Corps Association offers scholarships for those who are training to be nurse anaesthetists and who are intending to serve in the US army. It also offers a Health Professions Loan Repayment Program. For those thinking of opportunities to study undergraduate nursing there are scholarships available from the Army ROTC Nursing Program for those with leadership ability. See our Air Force & Navy scholarships page for additional resources.
Nursing Funding for Minority Students
There is $50,000 on offer every year for minority students at local, regional and national levels from the Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc. organization. The National Association of Hispanic Nurses and National Black Nurses Association both offer funding. The first offers Hispanic nurses who are studying at Master’s level in a maternal-child nursing program the opportunity to share $2000. $1000 is also available for students studying for a more general nursing program including a baccalaureate. The National Black Nurses Association offers a student nurse the Student Nurse of the Year Award who is studying an advanced level nursing program or a baccalaureate.
Location Based Sponsored Programs
The Indian Health Service is offering to repay undergraduate and graduate loans for those who confirm that they will spend full time clinical service in an Indian health program. Closer to home, the Maryland State Nursing School offers residents of Maryland an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing with funding. See our scholarships by State and College page for additional information
General Information on Applying for a Scholarship
There are several things to think about when applying for a nursing scholarship. If you need to submit an essay you need to know how best to write an award winning submission. Help from your teachers and from other students will be essential in doing this. There is also a lot of information online for your parents and family if they wish to know how best they can help you during this process. Information on tax credits and studying abroad is also useful.
Nursing is a very specialized field to enter into. Remember also that scholarships and grants is money that you do not have to pay back, so getting one of these is really a bonus, and applying for them locally is the easiest option. Naturally, loans for education come with low interest rates but you may be able to have the fee waivered if you choose to work in an underserved area or in low-income communities. Avoid any scholarship scams that claim to have a monopoly on information, expect any payment for the scholarship or suggest that there is no application process. A financial aid counsellor is always a great person to talk to if you are unsure.
There are several ways to calculate how much your college costs are going to be. There is Finaid which helps you work out how much your EFC contribution will be. The ACT’s Financial Need Estimator is free online and will work out your family contribution and costs at certain institutions. It’s best to start as soon as possible to get funding for your nursing qualification as you need to meet tight deadlines and research takes time. The forms take time to fill in and this must be done as thoroughly as possible to succeed. There will always be the chance to work part time during your degree, say ten to fifteen hours per week, to help you, but not working so you can dedicate as much time to studying as possible is preferable. Some students might like the idea of gaining experience in whatever kind of setting they can get however that is relevant to the nursing career. This could involve working in a college library or at a medical center, perhaps in an administration or voluntary role.
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