Nursing Grants & Scholarships
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Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals all depend on a qualified nursing staff in order to adequately serve the public.
Currently, too many communities in the United States are suffering from critical shortages of certified professional nursing personnel. This places a large strain on the American healthcare industry. Efforts to expand the pool of qualified nurses across the country are being made by both federal and state governments, as well as colleges, universities and professional associations.
Beginning in 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services committed a sizable amount of federal grant money to select colleges and universities across the country. This ongoing initiative is meant to address the nation’s nursing shortage on a number of different fronts, including:
- providing grants to support existing nursing programs that are understaffed and underfunded
- providing government funds to schools for the updating of teaching facilities
- providing grant money for programs to hire and retain a highly trained nursing faculty
- providing grants, scholarships and loans for eligible nursing students
In addition to existing federal programs, many state governments have developed their own grants and scholarships designed to encourage and support both undergraduate and graduate level nursing students. The availability of financial aid for nursing students does not end with federal and state governments, however, and extends into the private sector with a multitude of grants and scholarships being supported by colleges, universities and professional organizations.
Students interested in pursuing a career in nursing will want to refer to our section on Grants for Nursing Students. Here you will find detailed information on available grant programs sponsored by both the public and private sectors. Nursing students are encouraged to investigate the possibility of obtaining a grant for college before considering any alternative or private loans. Grants can help to defray a sizable portion of your education costs, and the funds never have to be repaid.
Undergraduate Nursing Scholarships
Universities, technical schools and community colleges typically offer undergraduate nursing programs that include courses for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). These 2 to 4 year courses are designed to train a front-line nursing workforce that is prepared to fill the immediate needs of the healthcare industry. Many nursing students will want to continue their education beyond this level, to become Registered Nurses (RN), or to receive their Bachelors in the Science of Nursing.
Nursing scholarships are typically merit-based, and are available from a variety of sources including:
- The Federal government
- State and local governments
- Colleges, universities and technical/vocational schools
- Private and professional associations
There are also a large number of nursing scholarships that have been designed to benefit specific portions of the student population, such as minorities and returning students. Many available nursing scholarships, particularly those supported by federal and state governments, will be scholarship-for-service programs. These programs require scholarship recipients to commit to a predetermined time of service in an under-served community, or at a designated critical need facility.
Some examples of the types of scholarships available for undergraduate nursing students include:
- The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association Undergraduate Scholarship – This scholarship is available to all U. S. citizens pursuing their nursing studies at a participating college or university. Awards are based on academic achievement, as well as financial need. Scholarship amounts range from $1000 – $2500 per year.
- The Emergency Nurses Association’s Undergraduate Scholarship – This scholarship is designed for students pursuing their baccalaureate in nursing. Applicants must be student members of the ENA for a minimum of 12 months in order to be eligible for any awards. Scholarships are determined by academic achievement as well as financial need, and award amounts vary according to available funds.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nursing Scholarship Program – Sponsored by the federal government, this program provides scholarship-for-service opportunities for nursing students at all levels of their education. Applicants must commit to a minimum of 2 years service at a designated Critical Shortage Facility following graduation.
Those wishing to learn more about the availability of scholarships for undergraduate nursing students will find more extensive information in our dedicated section on Nursing Scholarships for Undergraduates.
Graduate Nursing Scholarships
When the federal government began to earmark funds for the support of national nursing programs, one of the major goals was to increase the availability and expertise of nursing faculty at the the nations universities and colleges. Beyond the shortage of qualified nurses in the field, lies an equal shortage of teaching professionasl to train the next generation of nursing students. Subsequently many scholarship programs are dedicated to graduate level students who are pursuing degrees that will put them at the forefront of both practical nursing, and the education of new nurses.
Graduate level nursing students will find a large number of Federal scholarships, as well as many state-based scholarship-for-service programs. Graduate level scholarships are also available from the private sector, including colleges, universities and professional associations. As with undergraduate nursing scholarships, many of these programs target minorities, women, and returning students. Additional scholarship opportunities are available for students who choose to specialize in particular fields of nursing such as Critical Care, Gerontology and Oncology.
The following examples of graduate level nursing scholarships will give students an idea of the various programs that may be available to them.
- The American Association of Critical Care Nurses sponsors the Continuing Professional Development Scholarship . The program awards $1500 per academic year to graduate level students who are pursuing their studies in Trauma and Critical Care nursing.
- The March of Dimes offers an annual scholarship for registered nurses enrolled in graduate level programs in prenatal and perinatal nursing. Awards are $5000 per academic year, and applicants must be a member of Association of Women’s Health , the American College of Nurse-Midwives or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.
- The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation offers a wide range of scholarships for graduate level nursing students, including the NPHF/Proctor & Gamble Endowed Scholarship In Community Service and the NPHF/Astellas Heart Health Through the Ages Award. The awards range from $1000 to $3500 per academic year, and are restricted to graduate level nursing students.
Graduate level nursing students looking for financial aid are referred to College Scholarships.org’s dedicated section on Nursing Scholarships for Graduate Level Students for more detailed information on potential scholarships, scholarships-for-service and loan repayment programs.