Guide: Nursing Scholarships

Guide: Nursing Scholarships

Nursing scholarships are available to help you pay for your nursing education so you can emerge with your degree free from debt. One of the most significant factors in deciding on what nursing degree to earn and what nursing school to attend is the cost of the education and the resources a nursing student may have.

While the majority of nurses agree that their nursing careers provide great personal and professional satisfaction, the decision to become a nurse should be contemplated carefully, as the profession requires a serious educational commitment. Many students are hesitant to enter a program or attend school because of the uncertainty as to how they will pay for their education. A nursing student should consider all available funding options.

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Top 30 National Scholarships for Nursing Students

Funding Option with Nursing Scholarships

The good news is that the nursing profession offers many scholarships for nursing students. Scholarships for nursing majors are available from a multitude of resources. A nursing student would benefit from researching the various awards for nursing students that often defray tuition costs for nursing education.

Guide: Nursing Scholarships

Check out the many scholarships for nursing majors noted below, because the cost of nursing education should not be a roadblock when reaching for one’s career objectives.

State and Regional Scholarships

Nursing professionals are in high demand. Many areas of the country are experiencing a nursing shortage. According to Purdue University, California and Texas have the worst nursing shortages, with thousands of open nursing jobs waiting for qualified nurses to take them on. As a result of this shortage, many government agencies, school, and states encourage students to enter the field of nursing by offering financial incentives like grants and scholarships.

When looking for nursing scholarships, Texas nurses have ample opportunities especially for the Lone Star State, because the nursing shortage is so significant. Another prime place for nursing scholarships, NC is among the many states that offer financial assistance options due to its massive healthcare system centered around the Research Triangle and Charlotte. Listed below are a few examples of some of the most valuable scholarships offered by Texas and North Carolina.

Nursing Scholarships Texas

The Lone Star State has set up various scholarships for its residents who wish to attend nursing school. Students who can demonstrate a financial need might look to the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant or the TEXAS Grant – Towards Excellence, Access & Success Grant. Nursing graduates are considered a member of the critical-needs profession. The Texas Primary Care Office offers a student loan forgiveness program.

Nursing Scholarships NC 

North Carolina offers nursing students many scholarships to defray a nursing degree’s tuition costs. Students can check out a merit-based scholarship entitled the Nursing Scholarship Program, or NSP or the financial-needs-based scholarships of the Nurse Education Scholarship Loan Plan.

Each state and many individual schools offer aide to meet the needs of low-income students, nontraditional students, and other groups the school wants to attract and support. Examples of these various scholarships include Geographic Scholarships, Specific Population Scholarships, or Field Specific Scholarships. For instance, a state with a shortage of qualified nurse anesthetists may offer a grant or scholarship specifically for nurses going into a CRNA program.

Search your state’s Board of Nursing for scholarship opportunities specific to your state and region.

Factors That Can Affect the Cost of Nursing School

Of course, any nurse going back to school (or going to school for the first time) has to consider that cost, and there are many factors that can impact the cost of nursing school. Residency is the primary factor: in-state tuition rates are almost always cheaper for public colleges and universities (though some very accommodating schools will make in-state and out-of-state rates the same). Going to a public university in your state is an automatic saving.

On the other hand, public nursing schools are usually cheaper than private schools (although the most prestigious public universities – the kinds that are called Public Ivies – can be just as expensive as an elite private research institution). However, private schools often have very generous scholarships and grants, particularly for low-income students.

Guide: Nursing Scholarships

Location matters, too; nursing students will need to factor in the cost of living wherever their chosen school is located. A nursing school in San Francisco or New York, obviously, will have a much higher cost of living than a smaller city like Raleigh, NC. On the other hand, students can avoid the location tax – and moving costs – by choosing an online degree. Some online nursing degree programs may be more expensive than on-campus, due to the convenience factor, but for the most part, the ability to keep your current job and make a living will offset any added costs.

Guide: Nursing Scholarships

Do You Qualify for Any Specialized Scholarships?

Many scholarships are designed for the express purpose of meeting needs in the profession. For instance, the Institute of Medicine has recommended at least 80% of nurses have a BSN degree by the year 2020, which has led to a flood of RNs with associate’s degrees and diplomas going back to school to earn their nursing bachelor’s. Otherwise, many nurses fear they will not be able to get jobs in the future.

BSN Nursing Scholarships: Because of the demand, BSN scholarships are probably the most common nursing-specific scholarship. Working LPNs and RNs are looking for BSN aide to help them pay for online degree completion programs and on-campus BSN programs alike. In the same way, scholarships for CNA to RN (certified nursing assistant to full Registered Nurse) are valuable for helping entry-level nurses advance. BSN scholarships and awards for CNA to RN programs are helping educate the nursing workforce.

Barbara Rhomsberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship

Minority Nursing Scholarships: In the same way, a push for more minority nurses has led to the development of scholarships for African-American, Hispanic and Latino, and other minority groups. Minority nursing scholarships are necessary to overcome inequalities. Although nursing is a highly diverse career, black nurses are still extremely underrepresented (only 9% of nurses are black, though more than 14% of Americans are black or biracial. Scholarships and grants for black nursing students are an attempt to correct inequalities.

Minority nursing scholarships help Latinx nurses as well; Spanish-speaking Hispanic nurses are in high demand as the population of Latino immigrants continues to grow, and minority nursing scholarships directed to Hispanic and Latino nurses – like those offered by the HNAH – are highly competitive.

Nursing Scholarships for Men: Students seeking nursing scholarships for men are also finding more options as the nursing workforce changes. Men make up only 10% of nurses, but there are initiatives all over the US to attract more male nurses to every specialization and area. The impact male nurses can have on men’s health is a driving force for nursing scholarships for men; when most of the competition for scholarships is women, nursing scholarships for men can help close that gap.

Scholarships for Women in Nursing: It may sound funny for there to be special funds for women when 90% of nurses are women, but one of the biggest problems in the nursing profession is attracting women to leadership positions. Scholarships for Women in Nursing are offered to attract the necessary talent to meet the increasing demand for nurses, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioner, and midwife.

There are also scholarships for women in nursing intended to get women to the highest degrees – DNP and PhD – to push women into administration, higher education, and the executive levels of hospitals and government agencies.

Awards For High School Seniors: Graduating high school seniors are eligible for many nursing scholarships,

High school students who are interested in the military, and who also want to pursue a nursing career, will find nursing scholarships for high school seniors through the ROTC program:


Of course, in return for an ROTC scholarship, students must serve for a certain period of time in the military; after their service, students may want to continue as nurses in the military or move on to a career as a civilian nurse.

Grants and Non-Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships are nice, but what if you want to get paid to go to nursing school? Well, there are a number of options there as well. There’s no such thing as a free money nursing school – every school charges tuition (otherwise the professors wouldn’t be paid), but that doesn’t mean you can’t get paid to go to nursing school.

Assistantships: Many nursing schools offer assistantships to their on-campus students that will provide tuition waivers, a stipend, and often even benefits like health insurance and research funding. In exchange, you will help professors with their research or teaching.

It’s not open to everybody, though. To get paid to go to nursing school, most schools restrict assistantships to higher degrees like the MSN and DNP – not BSN programs. Assistantships are only for traditional on-campus students as well. If you’re wondering how to get nurse practitioner school paid for, though, an assistantship may be the best option.

Companies that Pay for Nursing School: Many employers, including hospitals and private healthcare corporations, will pay for their employees to go back to school and increase their credentials. There’s no definitive list of companies that pay for nursing school, but if you are currently working for one, count yourself lucky. Contact your HR department to find out what opportunities your employer offers.

Government Grants: Because of the nationwide nursing shortage, government agencies like the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are providing government grants for nurse practitioners, grants for nursing schools for single mothers, grants for black nursing students, and more. By giving students a way how to get nurse practitioner school paid for, these government agencies are using public money to help the public. Government nursing scholarships and grants will be competitive, though – be sure to put your best foot forward when you’re applying for nursing scholarships.

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