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Scholarships & Financial Aid for Nursing Students

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Are you entering the career of nursing? Wondering if there is financial aid to help cover your college expenses? Look no further. There are plenty of financial aid options for nurses. In addition to reading articles like this one, a great first step is to check with the university or college you are planning to attend. The financial aid office should have a list of financial aid options available for nursing students. Some options include university grants and scholarships, state scholarships, and federal financial aid. Be sure to take advantage of all nursing-related financial aid offered by your school.

Types of Nursing Financial Aid

Nursing students have many options for financial aid. Most colleges and universities offer university scholarships and grants for nursing students. There are also state scholarships, and federal financial aid to consider.

Scholarships and grants are gift aid that does not have to be repaid. Nursing students also have loan options if other financial aid is needed. Although loans have to be repaid, most repayment plans do not begin until after graduation.

University Scholarships and Grants for Nurses

Most institutional nursing scholarships and grants are awarded based on financial need, and merit. Students interested in these types of financial aids should talk to department heads, financial aid representatives, or the admissions office. Students are required to apply for this aid. Requirements and eligibility vary by institution.

An example of a university scholarship is the State of Alabama Nursing Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to nursing students at the University of Alabama and administered by the university. The maximum amount awarded is $1,000 per year. The Peggy Kaye Nursing Grant is an example of a college grant. It is administered by Walla Walla College in Washington to qualifying nursing students. The maximum award is $1,000 per year.

State Scholarships for Nurses

There are several states that offer specific scholarships for nursing students attending colleges or universities in their state. These differ from federal scholarships and grants, because they are funded by the state.

Here are some examples state-funded scholarships for nurses:


  • Michigan Nursing Scholarship—this is a non-need based award, administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. This scholarship is awarded to Michigan residents in the amount of $4,000 per year for full-time students, for up to four years. Students awarded this scholarship must accept work as a direct patient care nurse at an eligible Michigan healthcare facility.
  • The Nursing Scholarship Fund Program—created in 1990; this is a program offered at several state colleges and universities in Indiana. Maximum award is $5,000. Scholarship can only be used for tuition and fees.
  • Kentucky Nurses Foundation Scholarship—this scholarship is administered by the Kentucky Nurses Foundation. Students are awarded a maximum of $500 per year. Deadline for applying is always May 1.
  • North Carolina League for Nursing Scholarship—this scholarship is administered by the Foundation for the Carolinas, with a maximum award of $6,000 per year. Deadline for application is May 1 each year.
  • Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship —this scholarship is for LPNs and RNs committed to working in specific Kansas facilities one year for each year scholarship is awarded. LPNs are awarded $2,500; RNs are awarded $3,500. Sponsors funds $1,000 or more of the scholarship, while the State of Kansas pays the rest. This scholarship is renewable.
  • The Health Professions Education Foundation of California offers the Vocational Nurse Scholarship (VN) —this scholarship is awarded to students enrolled in an accredited California Vocational Nursing (VN) Program. Recipients of this award receive up to $4,000 in scholarship money in exchange for working two years in a direct patient care facility in a medically underserved area in California. Another scholarship option is the Bachelor of Science Nursing Scholarship (BSN) awarded to students enrolled in a BSN program. The award amount goes up to $13,000. Recipient must agree to work in a direct care facility in a medically underserved area in California.
  • The state of New York offers a scholarship for nurses residing in New York who would like to further their education. The Edna A. Lauterbach Scholarship offers scholarship money to help pay for educational expenses.
  • Texas also offers several nursing scholarships. Here are two examples: Professional Nursing Scholarships —awarded to Texas residents who demonstrate a financial need, who are enrolled in a professional nursing program. Maximum award is $2,500. Vocational Nursing Scholarships provide financial assistance to Texas residents pursuing a career as a vocational nurse. Applicants must demonstrate a financial need and be enrolled at minimum, half-time. Maximum award is $1,500.

Other scholarships are funded by organizations. The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc offers scholarships for undergraduate students seeking nursing degrees. Award amounts vary, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 annually. Award money can only be used for tuition, academic fees, and books.

Federal financial aid

Most colleges and universities offer federal-funded nursing financial aid. If there is a financial need and the student fills out and submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and qualifies and aid is available, then financial assistance is granted.

Nursing students are awarded federal grants, college work-study programs, and federal loans to help defray the cost of their college expenses. Grants are gift aid that does not have to be repaid. College work-study programs provide students the opportunity to work part-time to help pay for some expenses. Students typically work up to 20 hours per week. Nursing students can also consider obtaining federal loans to supplement any other aid they receive.

To be considered for federal financial aid, students must apply for it. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov/ where students can apply online. It is important to apply as soon as possible, and prior to the school year in which you will be attending college. The deadline to submit the FAFSA is usually June 30.

Financial Aid Tips for Nursing Students

Below are tips to consider when seeking financial aid:


  • Check with your school’s financial aid or admissions office for all available federal and state-funded financial aid.

  • Talk to department heads at the school you are attending for scholarship and grant opportunities. Often times, nursing schools offer scholarships and/or grants.

  • Be prepared before filling out the FAFSA, and apply online for faster approval.

  • Know your deadlines. The earlier you apply the better chance of qualifying for aid. If you apply after the deadline, your need is handled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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