With the aging population of baby boomers in the United States, demand for quality nurses is again on the rise. And depending on where you live, a starting salary can pay between $50,000 and $75,000 per year. Deciding on a future in nursing can lead to a rewarding career and a comfortable lifestyle.
There is a great deal of help in the form of grants, scholarships and loan repayment programs to help you pay for your nursing degree. These are offered by federal, state and nursing related associations to encourage students to go into nursing and to fill critical shortages in the nursing profession.
Department of Education Grants and Student Loans
The same federal assistance offered by the U.S. Department of Education to students of other majors is also available to those that pursue nursing degrees. If you have a high enough level of financial need, you could be eligible to receive a Pell Grant to help pay for your nursing school expenses. Most education grants and student loan programs are available to nursing students, as well. When starting your search for nursing school funding, you should start by contacting the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend and by researching federal student grants offered by the U.S. Government.
Health and Human Services Nursing Student Grants
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides a number of grants for nursing students through its Health Resources and Services Administration. In addition to general program funding, scholarships, nursing school loans and loan repayment programs are offered to students.
National Health Service Corps
Open to medical students including nurses that agree to serve in a high-need area following graduation. If selected for this program, a student will receive funding for tuition, fees and other educational expenses and receive a stipend while in school. You must work for one year in a critical need community for each year you receive assistance under the program.
Nurse Corps Scholarship Program
Open to nursing students that agree to serve at least 2 years following graduation at a critical shortage facility. Students will receive funding for tuition, fees and other educational expenses and a stipend of around $1300 per month while in school.
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
This program provides funding to schools across a number of medical disciplines, including those that offer nursing programs. Funding is distributed to schools and ear marked for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds based on financial need. To apply, contact the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend and find out if they offer this program on their campus.
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
If you already have your nursing degree, this program will pay off up to %60 of nursing education loans for 2 years of service in hospital or clinic in a needy community. It will pay an additional %25 for serving an optional third year. The loan repayment program is also available to full-time nursing school faculty members.
Faculty Loan Repayment Program
Open to all health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds that agree to serve on the faculty of accredited college and university health departments. This loan repayment program will pay up to $40,000 toward student loans in exchange for 2 years serving as a health school faculty member.
Nursing Student Loans
The HRSA also operates the Nursing Student Loan Program to provide low-interest loans to students pursuing nursing degrees that can show financial need. Inquire about this nursing specific loan program at the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend.
State Nursing Student Grants
A majority of states now have state-funded nursing grants and student loan programs in place to deal with nursing shortages and to encourage students to pursue a nursing degree at state schools. These programs vary greatly from state to state as they are designed to deal with each state’s individual needs in underserved areas. Check with your State Department of Education or the financial aid office of the school you plan to attend to see if your state offers incentives to nursing students on the state level.
Grants Offered by Nursing Associations
Many nursing associations offer scholarships and grants to nursing students each year representing their own areas of nursing. You may be required to be a member of the association to receive funding under their program.
American Assembly for Men in Nursing
This program issues $500 to $1,000 to male nursing students pursuing a nursing degree. The program is open to current members of AAMN only.
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Grants and awards are offered specifically for the field of nurse anesthetists.
Emergency Nurses Association Foundation
The ENA Foundation offers several research grants from $5,000 to $50,000 that deal with emergency care and nursing.
Gerontological Society of America
This group offers $500 to $1,000 grants to nursing graduate students working on research in the field of human aging.
Grants for Minority Nursing Students
Some funding opportunities for students attending nursing school are reserved for students of a particular ethnic group. Here are a few organizations that offer grants or scholarships to nursing students of a specific background.
American Indian Students United for Nursing
Available to American Indian nursing students enrolled in the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
Scholarships are offered to Hispanic nursing students who are also NAHN members.
National Black Nurses Association
$500 to $2,000 amounts are offered to NBNA members enrolled in nursing programs.
Lastly, if your particular field of nursing deals with premature infants or children born with a variety of birth defects, the March of Dimes and several other professional nursing associations offer premature infant scholarships and grants to aid in education and to attend professional conferences. For such a small field within nursing, I was surprised by how much of this type of support exists. But the March of Dimes is pretty awesome. Check out our article just on premature infant scholarships if you are looking to get into or are already involved with an NICU or PICU unit. One of the scholarships is a whopping $5,000 and they give away multiple awards each year.