7 Scholarships for Nursing School That Could Lessen Your Student Debt

 April 8, 2020
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Nursing scholarships are a key way to deal with a recurring problem: Almost three in four aspiring nurse students will graduate with loans.

Although the cost of college and graduate programs don’t appear to be going down anytime soon, you can lower the price tag with nursing school scholarships. There are all sorts of other financial aid for nursing school, including grants, too.

The seven nursing scholarships below are available at the undergraduate or graduate levels. With these grants or others like them, you could seriously cut down the cost of your degree.

1. ENA Foundation scholarships
2. A Nurse I Am Scholarship
3. FNSNA scholarships
4. NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
5. Nurses Educational Funds
6. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
7. Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship

Plus: Seek out grants for nursing school, too

1. ENA Foundation scholarships

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Foundation awards dozens of nursing school scholarships every year to undergrad and grad students. Plus, it offers additional scholarships for nurses who want to attend the annual ENA conference. Eligibility requirements vary by award, and award amounts span $1,000 to $10,000.

Here are just a few examples of scholarships you can win through the ENA Foundation:

  • Charles Kunz Memorial Scholarship: For a registered nurse pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • Anita Dorr Graduate Scholarship: For an emergency nurse studying for a master’s degree in nursing with a focus in administration.
  • Pamela Stinson Kidd Memorial Doctoral Scholarship: For an emergency nurse pursuing a doctoral degree.

The ENA Foundation supports emergency nurses whose educational levels range from associate to doctoral. Working as an emergency nurse is stressful; one of these scholarships for nursing students can at least ease the stress of student loans.

Application deadline: April 28, 2020

2. A Nurse I Am Scholarship

Cherokee Medical Uniforms has awarded scholarships totaling $200,000 since 2007. With its A Nurse I Am Scholarship, the company grants $2,000 to a nursing student every year.

The application for the 2020 scholarship asked nursing students to watch the educational film “A Nurse I Am” before writing a 150-word essay in response to the prompt, “Why you want to be a nurse. Who or what inspired you?”

Who’s eligible: Part- or full-time students who are currently enrolled in a VN/LPN, RN degree (ADN or BSN), diploma or RN-to-BSN program

Application deadline: April 15, 2020

3. FNSNA scholarships

The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association (FNSNA) has awarded $5 million worth of nursing scholarships since 1969. Scholarships range in value up to $7,500, and they’re available for both undergrad and grad students.

The awarding committee looks at your academic achievements, involvement in your community health activities and financial need. For one 2019 FNSNA recipient, winning the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Change The World Scholarship was a crucial part of her education.

“Receiving this scholarship alleviates a tremendous amount of financial burden and stress from my life and will allow me to concentrate on my studies,” she told the foundation.

Who’s eligible: Students pursuing any approved nursing degree type as well enrolled in an RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN or LPN/LVN-to-RN program

Application deadline: January 2021

4. NURSE Corps Scholarship Program

The NURSE Corps Scholarship Program is a federal program that provides financial support in exchange for qualifying service.

If you are chosen as a recipient and pledge to work full time for two years in an underserved area after graduation, the program will fully cover one or more years of tuition and eligible fees.

A three-year contract could result in a three-year nursing scholarship, and a four-year contract could mean financial support for four years of school.

Beyond covering tuition, the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program also gives a monthly stipend for living expenses. For the 2019-2020 year, the stipend was $1,383 per month.

This program gives over 200 awards every year, but spots are competitive.

Applicants with the greatest financial need are given preference for awards. The program committee also considers other selection factors, such as your academic performance, resume, application essays and letters of recommendation.

Who’s eligible: Students accepted or enrolled in programs pursuing a(n):

  • Diploma School of Nursing
  • Associate Degree School of Nursing (ADN)
  • Collegiate School of Nursing (BSN, graduate degree)
  • Graduate Level Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Bridge Program (RN to BSN, RN to MSN-NP, Direct Entry MSN-NP)

Application deadline: May 2020

5. Nurses Educational Funds

Nurses Educational Funds (NEF) has provided nursing school scholarships over the past century to help students pay for their education. The organization awards a number of grants ranging in amounts, but all of them go to master’s and doctoral students.

To apply, you must write a 750- to 850-word personal statement about the contribution you’d like to make to the nursing profession.

Eight master’s candidates and 21 doctoral students won scholarships from NEF for the 2019-2020 cycle. One winner, in the midst of studying asthma and obesity, plans to cater her career to children. Another aspires to become a nurse scientist.

While their post-graduation plans are different, all NEF scholarship recipients have clear professional goals in the field of nursing.

Who’s eligible: Students pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree (PhD, DNP, EdD)

Application deadline: February 2021

6. Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

With the Future Care Scholarship, Tylenol helps 35 to 40 health care students each year pay for their education. The company has awarded over $8 million in scholarship money to students, judging applicants based on their academic achievement, community involvement and a commitment to caring for others.

Tylenol awards $5,000 scholarships to 25 students, along with $10,000 scholarships to 10 students every year. You can use the money for tuition, fees, books or any other materials you need for school.

Who’s eligible: Students accepted or enrolled in graduate school

Application deadline: June 2020

7. Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship

Cascade Healthcare Solutions gives a $1,000 scholarship every year to a current or aspiring nursing student at the undergraduate level. You’ll need to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, as well as provide a thoughtful response to an essay question.

The prompt for the 2020 award was, “Who has been the greatest influence in your decision to pursue nursing and why?”

The 2019 winner, Shaquilla Gracien, hoped to become a neuroscience nurse practitioner. The 2018 winner, Savannah Winters, intended to pursue her nurse practitioner’s license in neonatology.

Whatever your goal as a nurse, Cascade Healthcare Solutions “is excited to support individuals who have the goal to pursue one of the most essential professions in our society.”

Who’s eligible: Current or future students at an undergraduate nursing program

Application deadline: August 1, 2020

Seek out grants for nursing school, too

In the quest for extra funding for nursing students, don’t limit yourself to the seven scholarships listed above. There are other avenues for financial aid.

If you’re wondering how to get nursing school paid for, also consider:

  • Reevaluating your school choice: Avoid having to scrounge in the first place by applying or transferring to a nursing program within your budget. If attending a school close to home is possible, for example, it could eliminate or reduce the expense for your room and board.
  • State and federal nursing grants: Beyond merit-based scholarships, seek out need-based aid in the form of state grants. Nursing students in Massachusetts, for example, can receive between $200 and $2,500 per year in assistance via the Gilbert Matching Student Grant Program. Look to the federal government, as well: The Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, provides nursing grants to native Hawaiian students willing to work in their home state. Look for opportunities that fit your situation or background, whether they be grants for women going to nursing school, grants for male nurses or another category entirely.
  • Employer scholarships: Check with the human resources department of your employer (if you have one) about its ability to help support you through school. The Veterans Affairs Administration, the nation’s largest employer of nurses, for example, offers three types of VA scholarships. Your employer just might provide grants for nursing school, too, particularly if it’ll increase your value in the workplace.

Nursing grants and scholarships ease the cost of school

Taking out student loans is easy; paying them back, not so much. To reduce your debt, apply far and wide for nursing grants and scholarships. Beyond the list above, you can find additional opportunities using scholarship search tools.

If borrowing becomes necessary, read up on the nursing school loans available to you.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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