Any form of higher education comes at a cost and these days, the prices of tuition and other related expenses only seems to be getting pricier. Financially disadvantaged individuals hoping to establish themselves in a nursing career no longer have to worry about money becoming an issue. Nursing scholarships are one of the most important forms of financial aid that future nurses have available to them.
What are Nursing Scholarships?
Scholarships in general are a form of financial aid that is for the purpose of helping students pay for any school-related expenses, such as tuition, textbooks and living accommodations. What makes scholarships so valuable to students is the fact that, unlike student loans, the money awarded does not have to be paid back over time.
Nursing scholarships in particular are specifically designed to cover any costs associated with pursuing licensure and a career as a nurse in any number of specialty fields. After calculating how much it would cost to attend nursing school, prospective nursing students should then go about searching for nursing scholarships and applying to as many as they are eligible for. Doing so increases the chances of receiving enough funds to cover their educational needs.
Different Types of Nursing Scholarships
The great thing about seeking scholarships to pay for school is the fact that there are many different types to choose from. The three main categories include location-based, federal and military scholarships.
Location-Based: As the name implies, this type of nursing scholarship allows students to apply for free money based on where they live. From colleges to public and private organizations, there is no shortage or limit to the number of location-based scholarships a person can apply to.
An example of one location-based scholarship is The Good Samaritan Foundation Scholarship, which is open to students that are residents of and currently enrolled in a nursing program in the state of Texas. Since its creation in 1951, this scholarship has awarded over $15 million to more than 15,000 nursing students.
Federal: The federal government knows how crucial it is to have qualified nurses in the medical field, which is why they also offer nursing scholarships. Being awarded this type of financial aid is hugely beneficial because the amount is often enough to fully cover school-related expenses, which are distributed in the form of a monthly stipend. In exchange for monetary assistance with their education, candidates awarded a federal nursing scholarship must agree to commit a predetermined number of years (usually a minimum of 1-2) working as a nurse at a location chosen by the government—usually in an area of specialty that may be short of qualified professionals. It is important to read the fine print thoroughly when applying for federal nursing scholarships so that you know what you are getting into and are properly prepared.
The Nursing Scholarship Program available through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provides scholarship opportunities to nursing students and requires graduates to work for at least two years at a medical facility chosen by the HRSA. After completing the minimum years of service, the candidate is also given a benefits package and competitive salary if they decide to stay on with their employer.
Military: It’s no secret that many people join the military in order to receive a free education. Nursing students are no exception. Those already in the military or thinking about joining and have a desire to enter the nursing field, have the opportunity to apply for military-based nursing scholarships. Unlike traditional scholarships, which mainly determine who gets the money based on financial need, those offered by the military award the funds based on merit and grades.
One of the most well known military-based nursing scholarships is the Air Force ROTC Nursing Scholarship, which awards separate funds for books ($510) and tuition (up to $15,000).
How Do Nursing Scholarships Work?
Because this form of financial aid is not available to everyone, an application process is used to find suitable candidates. Supporting documentation is also required in order to complete each application and is used to verify the information provided by the student. Once the submission has been put together, the student is then able to turn in his/her application. It is important to read the instructions to find out which form of submission is accepted by each organization. For example, applications for some nursing scholarships are only accepted via traditional mail, while others allow students to upload their form and paperwork electronically through the organization’s official website.
Who is Eligible for Nursing Scholarships?
Only individuals pursuing a nursing major are able to apply for this type of financial aid. However, the requirements don’t end there. No two nursing scholarships are the same. Each has its own set list of criteria that must be met in order to submit an application for consideration. Many scholarships are awarded based on financial need and may set certain income levels as requirements for eligibility. Others may only accept submissions from students pursuing a specific area within the nursing field (e.g. Pediatrics, Oncology, Gerontology, etc.). Only apply to scholarships that you completely meet the criteria list for.
How to Find Nursing Scholarships?
The Internet is hands down the best resource around for finding available scholarships for nursing. There are entire nursing sites devoted to offering the latest information and submission details for various scholarships for nursing students, which also include direct links to the application forms. Nursing schools are also ideal resources for receiving updated scholarship information, as well as hands-on assistance with preparing and completing applications.
Unless money isn’t an issue, having the opportunity to get free money for school is a huge help to students that otherwise would not be able to afford the education needed to pursue their career path. Any form of assistance is valuable and should be taken advantage of. With the proper funds readily available, the sooner a person can receive the training and qualifications needed to get him/her into the job market and in a position he/she can be proud of.