Any degree in the medical field is likely to lead to a career right out of school. As the population ages, there’s a greater need for professionals with medical training. A degree in nursing will most likely pay for itself within just a few years of graduation, no matter the cost. But that’s no reason to go into debt just to pursue a career as a nurse. Nursing scholarships are easy to come by, and there is plenty of college money for nurses and wannabe nurses.
Because nurses often continue their education, going back to school to specialize or increase their knowledge of the industry, college aid needs don’t end upon graduation. You may work as a nurse for a decade and find yourself in need of grants and loans to go back to school. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of the latest information on cash available for people who want to go to nursing school or pursue an advanced degree in medicine.
How to Prepare to Earn a Nursing Scholarship
Thankfully for those of you interested in finding money for college nursing programs, many organizations exist that offer nursing scholarship opportunities and grants for future nurses.
You can start preparing to earn a nursing scholarship by volunteering or interning at a hospital. Many hospitals cover tuition or make partial tuition payments to high school students who have worked either part-time or as a candy-striper or volunteer for them in the past. Don’t forget that government organizations like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration award scholarships and grants, not to mention federal student financial aid, to help future medical professionals finish their education.
Because there is a lack of qualified RNs and other nurses in this country, there is plenty of financial aid available to nursing students. Keep your grades up, meaning maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and do everything you can to indicate your interest in a future as a nurse. If there is a medical magnet school in your area, do your best to get accepted to that program and follow a course of study that will prepare you for future work in this field.
Since you don’t necessarily have to earn nursing-based scholarships–remember, you may qualify for other scholarships that have nothing to do with your chosen field of study–it is best to be a well-rounded student. Participation in extra-curricular activities, athletic teams, and staying out of legal trouble are all steps you can take to increase your chance at earning college funding.
Grants, Scholarships, and Funding for Nursing Students
This list is not an exhaustive breakdown of all the money available to those interested in training as RNs, LVNs, or any other type of nurse, but it does show the sort of money you can find if you’re willing to look for it. Browse these offers and use them as a springboard to finding your own funding.
The Nellie Martin Carman Scholarship fund is an example of a state-based scholarship offer that’s not necessarily aimed at nursing students but, because of restrictions on what majors students can pursue with this money, nursing students in Washington state have traditionally been recipients of this money. To earn this scholarship, a student must be a graduating senior from a public high school in the counties of King, Pierce, or Snohomish in the state of Washington, plan to attend a college in Washington on a full-time basis, and cannot be majoring in music, art, interior decorating, or home economics. The amount you can earn from this fund maxes out at $2,000, and is based on financial need. Students can renew this award for up to four years as long as they maintain a 3.0 GPA. Annually, 30 such awards are handed out, more or less depending on the number of award renewals.
For an example of a faith-based award, the Bethesda Lutheran scholarships and awards program awards scholarships to members of the Lutheran church who demonstrate “God-pleasing attitudes and actions toward people with individual differences,” especially those who are considering careers in the field of developmental and disabilities services, especially nurses and doctors. To apply for this award, a student must be an active member of a Lutheran church, write an essay on their commitment to serving people with disabilities, perform 100 hours of paid or volunteer work in the field of developmental disabilities, and provide 2 letters of reference from Lutheran church members, preferably one member of the clergy. Applicants must be sophomores in college and have at least a 3.0 overall GPA.
The Emergency Nurses Association Foundation provides ENA members with this scholarship for a Registered Nurse pursuing a Masters degree in nursing. Applicants must be ENA members for at least 12 months prior to applying for this award, and must be attending or planning to attend an NLN or AACN accredited school. Award amounts vary from year to year and student to student and are non-renewable. The award is given to the applicant with the best academic performance that also demonstrates the most financial need in a given year. The ENA retains the right to hand out more than one award or to not give out any awards in a given year–frustrating isn’t it? But this is a good lesson to learn. Private scholarships like this often have caveats that can make searching for college funding for nurses a bit of a headache.
Because America needs more qualified nurses (and doctors and pretty much every other position in the medical industry), there is plenty of money to be won through scholarship and grant applications. Work as a nurse can also make you eligible for funding through your employer, especially if you work for a large medical corporation or hospital foundation. Don’t be ashamed to speak to your employers directly about getting funding for higher education–especially if your education will improve your abilities as a nurse and make you more worthwhile to your co-workers and patients.