You Can Be Paid for Your Nursing Education
There is a tremendous demand for nurses in every practice specialty in the United States, and it shows no signs of abating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employment opportunities for nurses is expected to grow by as much as 22 cent by 2018. Nurses are needed in a variety of practice settings, including outpatient clinics, nursing care facilities, home health settings, hospitals, emergency rooms and doctors’ offices. To enter the nursing profession, there are several options. A student can attend a technical school, attend a two-year college to earn an associate’s degree, or attend a four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree. Whatever route a student pursues, there are abundant grant and scholarship opportunities for nursing students at all stages of their education.
Federal Grants and Scholarships for Nursing Education
The national shortage of nurses and other qualified health care workers means that many people in the United States have limited or no access to reliable health care. To address this problem, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a Nursing Scholarship Program. Over 200 grants and scholarships are awards to undergraduate nursing students who agree to work for no less than two years after graduation at an underserved health care institution. Students can find more information at www.hrsa.gov/loanscholarships/scholarships/nursing.
HRSA also offers loan repayment programs for students who have already accrued educational debt and for nurses who have already graduated with debt.
The National Health Service Corps of HRSA offers very generous four-year awards to students studying for careers as primary care specialists. In return for this funding, the student agrees to serve an equal number of years in a high-need underserved area community. Their website is www.nhsc.hrsa.gov.
State Grants for Nursing Students
According to the American Nurses Association latest report on “State Legislative Trends,” 38 states have established meaningful state-funded grant and loan programs for nursing education. These states provide this money to students at public universities in the state. Some examples include:
- Four Florida public universities have recently been given grants from HRSA to award to nursing students. These institutions are the University of Florida, the University of Miami, the University of South Florida, and Florida Atlantic University.
- Undergraduate and graduate nursing students at public institutions in North Carolina are eligible for substantial forgivable loans in return for working after graduation in North Carolina in a designated area of critical need. The website for more information is www.cfnc.org/FELS.
- The Kansas Board of Regents offers grants to Kansas residents who are accepted or already enrolled as a full-time nursing student at a Kansas college or university.
- The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning administers the Nursing Education Loan Scholarship Program to bachelor’s master’s and doctoral nursing students in Mississippi. The website is www.ihl.state.ms.us .
- Full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate nursing students in Maryland are eligible for grants from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. More information is at www.mhec.state.md.us.
- Residents of Indiana who are studying nursing in Indiana are eligible for needs-based scholarships from the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana. More information can be found at www.in.gov/ssaci.
Students should check with the nursing schools at state institutions to research grant, scholarship and forgivable loan opportunities.
Nursing Grants from Professional Associations and Organizations
Virtually every nursing specialty has a professional association which offers some financial support to nursing students. Once a student has chosen his or her area of specialization, these organizations become rich sources of educational funding. Many other professional associations serve minority members of the profession or nurs4es in particular states or regions. The following list should lead students to valuable opportunities and give students ideas for future research.
- The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp-foundation.org) has a grant and scholarship program for students who want to continue their education to become a qualified nurse practitioner.
- The Emergency Nurses Association (www.ena.org) administers a vigorous scholarship program through its foundation.
- The Oncology Nursing Foundation offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate nursing students. More information can be found at www.onsfoundation.org.
- The Gerontological Society of America (www.geron.org) awards grants and scholarships to graduate nursing students studying to work with geriatric patients.
- The foundation of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (www.midwife.org) awards grants and scholarships to undergraduate and graduate nursing students planning to enter this specialty.
- The American Nurses Association awards grants to graduate nursing students who are members of racial or ethnic groups. These grants, which are through the Minority Fellowship Program, are intended to help fund a student’s doctoral studies. The website is www.empf.org.
- Arab-American nursing students can find funding opportunities with The National American Arab Nursing Association. More information can be found at www.n-aana.org.