Scholarships and grants are two forms of financial aid that students, nurses, and health care practitioners can secure to supplement the cost of education or professional development endeavors.
Scholarships can be obtained through businesses, nonprofits, and, of course, academic institutions. These organizations set the selection criteria. Many times, an applicant’s academic performance or demonstrated financial need makes them eligible for a scholarship. Additional qualifying factors for scholarships may include national origin, clinical specialty, or level of education.
Below is a list of resources for both students and practicing professionals in search of external nursing scholarships and nursing school grants, to assist with the cost of their education.
Please note that this list is provided for informational purposes only. These scholarships are not affiliated with or sponsored by Nursing@Georgetown or Georgetown University. Please contact the below organizations directly for more information or to verify scholarship details and deadlines.
Financial Aid for Nursing School
According to 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median salary for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree is $71, 730. Nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses with master’s degrees or higher can earn a median salary of $113,930.
While salary can help with the debt incurred from a nursing degree, many students still need financial support to complete their programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing surveyed more than 2,000 nursing graduate students (PDF, 1 MB) and found that 69% took out loans to help them complete their programs, while 27% received institutional aid. To minimize the financial burden of higher nursing education, consider applying for scholarships and grants that do not need to be repaid.
See the following list to get started on the search for financial support:
DiscoverNursing.com, part of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future, offers information on a broad range of scholarship opportunities for nursing students in need of financial assistance.
This searchable online database allows students to find scholarships that best meet their criteria. Search by state, GPA, and scholarship level.
In addition to writing tips and suggestions for putting together an effective application, NursingScholarship.us is a resource for scholarship information. Search for awards by state, religion, minority status, college, or nursing areas such as gerontology, long-term care, oncology, and more.
Students planning to work as midwives may qualify for a number of scholarships offered by the A.N.C.M. Foundation, Inc. related to community, minority, and global women’s health.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing provides a comprehensive list of current scholarship resources for a variety of nursing degrees, including graduate and postgraduate programs. Undergraduate nursing students can search for licensure programs and general scholarships, financial aid information, and links to loan settlement or forgiveness options.
DAR has multiple scholarships for nursing students in economic need. Individuals must be currently enrolled in an accredited school of nursing, and all applicants must be U.S. citizens. Applications and financial need forms can be found under the “Quick Links” tab on the DAR scholarship site.
BestColleges.com features a wide array of scholarships, grants, and sponsorship resources for continuing education based on merit, financial need, race and ethnicity, and specialization in a clinical field. There are additional resources dedicated to male nurses.
Scholarships and grants both qualify as “gift aid” because they are free money that an individual does not need to pay back. Loans, on the other hand, must be repaid and typically accrue interest. Scholarships and grants are sometimes used interchangeably, but it is important to note that there are some subtle differences. As previously mentioned, scholarships are typically awarded based on qualities of the student, such as academic achievement, veteran or minority status, or athletic ability.
Grants can also be awarded based on the qualities of a student, but they are often targeted at individuals with a demonstrated financial need. Both scholarships and grants can have rules attached to them, and those rules will vary. Rules to qualify for a scholarship may include maintaining a certain GPA or enrollment status. Some grant-awarding organizations may ask students to conduct research within a specific clinical focus area or require students to complete a certain amount of work hours in that particular area. If a grant applicant has already graduated from school, a grant may be a convenient way to pay off their student debt, especially if they are open to working in an assigned area of practice.
Graduate Nursing School Scholarships and Grants
- Amount: Up to $5,000
- Application deadline: To be announced
Grants are available to AANP members who are practicing in an NP role. Applicants must be certified nurse practitioners or graduate students expected to complete their project the next year. Scholarships are available to AANP members currently enrolled in an accredited graduate school in pursuit of an advanced degree or certification and are scheduled to complete an eligible NP program within the next year. Scholarship applicants must be licensed as a registered nurse.
- Amount: $5,000
- Application deadlines: January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in collaboration with CastleBranch, offers a scholarship program for students in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. To be eligible, students must attend schools affiliated with CastleBranch or NursingCAS. CastleBranch will award eight student scholarships a year worth $5,000 each, totaling $200,000 over five years. Visit the Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship site to complete your application.
- Amount: $2,500
- Application deadlines: September 30 and December 30
CastleBranch and the Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) seek to recognize graduate students who demonstrate exceptional “innovation, leadership, and/or mentoring” that advances the nursing profession by offering two $2,500 scholarships each year. Students must be enrolled in a graduate nursing program at an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) member school and be a GNSA member to be eligible. Find out how to apply by visiting the Castle-Branch-GNSA Scholarship page on the AACN website.
- Amount: $2,500
- Application deadlines: January 15 and July 15, annually
Hurst Review Services and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have a partnership awarding scholarships to students pursuing professional nursing degrees. The scholarship program is available to pre-licensure students enrolled at AACN member schools. Winners will be announced within 60 days of each deadline. Visit the Hurst Review Services website to complete your application.
- Amount: $2,500
- Application deadlines: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31
According to AfterCollege and the AACN, their scholarship fund “supports students who are seeking a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing. Special consideration will be given to students in a graduate program with the goal of becoming a nurse educator, students completing an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program, and those enrolled in an accelerated program.” Applicants must already be enrolled — not just accepted — at an AACN member institution. To learn the official scholarship application requirements, visit the AfterCollege General Terms of Scholarship Programs webpage.
- Amount: Full tuition, fees, books, and monthly stipend
- Application deadline: May, annually
Students accepted or enrolled in a diploma, associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree nursing program can receive funding for tuition, fees, and other educational costs. In exchange, they must work at a facility with a deficit of nurses — a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) — upon graduation. Sign up to receive email updates from the Health Resources & Services Administration to find out when the next scholarship application period opens.
- Amount: Up to $3,000
- Application deadline: Rolling acceptance of submissions
This scholarship is open to individuals seeking funding for health policy, evidence-based practice and leadership development, conferences, local events, skills to create a healthy work environment, and personal growth and communications. (Note: AACN’s National Teaching Institute, AACN-sponsored programs, professional association dues, and clinical certification preparation are not eligible.) Active membership in AACN at the time of application and during the term of the scholarship is required. See the AACN Continuing Professional Development FAQ page for more details.
- Amount: Varies
- Application deadline: June 15, annually
Nursing students (either U.S. citizens or international students) may apply. Applicants must be in an accredited RN licensure program as a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral candidate with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants “must have a vested interest in perioperative and surgical nursing.” Visit the AORN Scholarship FAQ page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Amount: Varies
- Application deadline: January, annually
With the goal of encouraging excellence in nursing care for mothers and babies, the March of Dimes offers multiple scholarships annually to registered nurses seeking a graduate degree in maternal-child nursing. The application opens in late fall each year, and recipients are then chosen by the organization’s Nurse Advisory Council. To find out more or to apply, visit the March of Dimes’ graduate nursing scholarships page.
Financial Assistance and Nursing Scholarships for Minority Students
- Amount: Up to $20,000 per year for two years
- Application deadline: Applications are accepted October 1 through August 15 the following year and are evaluated monthly beginning in January.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is a government entity committed to encouraging American Indians and Alaska Natives to enter the health professions, assuring the availability of Indian clinicians to serve Indian patients. The IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP)“funds IHS clinicians to repay their eligible health profession education loans — up to $40,000 — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.” Though priority is given to American Indian or Alaska Native applicants, all health professionals are eligible to apply. The IHS Loan Repayment Program application page and IHS FAQ page are available online.
- Amount: Award amount varies per scholarship
- Application Deadline: June–July, annually
This scholarship, provided by the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), is open to American Indian and Alaska Native full-time students and requires that applicants are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe (including Alaska Native). Find answers to your questions about their various undergraduate and graduate scholarships by visiting the AAIA Scholarship FAQ page.
- Amount: $1,000–$6,000
- Application deadline: April, annually
These scholarships are available to students currently enrolled in a nursing program (BSN, AD, diploma or LPN/ LVN master’s, or doctoral) and in good academic standing at the time of application. To qualify, an applicant must be a current NBNA member, as well as with the local chapter. They also must have at least one full year of school remaining.
- Amount: $500–$5,000 based on relative need
- Application deadline: February 15, annually
This scholarship program is available to “all U.S. citizens of Hispanic heritage, Permanent Legal Resident, DACA, or Eligible Non-Citizen (as defined by FAFSA).” Applicants must also meet minimum GPA requirements with plans to be a full-time student in the fall semester. Apply by creating an account on the HSF web page.
- Amount: Up to $5,000
- Application deadline: March/April, annually
Scholarship recipients are a select group of Hispanic nursing students who demonstrate promise of professional contributions to nursing and who have the potential to act as role models for other aspiring nursing students. Scholarship awards are presented to NAHN members enrolled in accredited LVN/LPN, associate, diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate nursing programs. Selection of recipients is based on need, current academic standing, whether they are U. S. citizens or legal residents of the United States, and other criteria. Write to email@example.com for more information about the application process.
Nursing School Scholarships for Older Students
- Amount: $2,000 yearly, renewable for up to five years
- Application deadline: March 1
Established with funds from the estate of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress, the JRF Women’s Scholarship fund provides scholarships to low-income women age 35 or older to return to school to earn a bachelor’s or technical degree. Scholarship awards may be used to pay tuition or defray the cost of childcare, rent, or transportation while the recipient is in school. Scholarship recipients must attend an accredited school and meet posted income guidelines. To learn more, visit the Rankin Foundation website.
- Amount: $1,000
- Application deadline: March 31
Barbara Rhomberg delayed her education and nursing career by more than 25 years in order to raise her family but successfully returned to school and served as a registered nurse later in life. The scholarship given in her honor awards funds to non-traditional students enrolled in a full-time undergraduate nursing program working toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. The scholarship defines a non-traditional student as anyone with a gap of more than three years between college and high school or anyone who had their college careers interrupted by military service, family obligations, or a need to enter the workforce. The scholarship is sponsored by B4 Brands, a company that manufactures eco-friendly hand hygiene products used in health care settings. For more information, visit the B4 Brand website.
Nursing Scholarships for Men
- Amount: Varies
- Application deadline: Varies, check back in January 2020 for specific information
The American Association of Men in Nursing (AAMN) Foundation funds scholarships, research, awards, education, and practice in order to promote nursing and men’s health around the world. For more information, visit the AAMN website.
Nursing School Grants
Grants for Women
- Amount: Award amount varies
- Application deadlines: December 15 and June 15, annually
Go Girl! Grants are awarded to women residing and attending school in the Coachella Valley, California. Though it’s not considered a nursing-specific grant, many past Go Girl! Grant recipients have achieved nursing degrees. Applicants must demonstrate that they are working toward a specific undergraduate degree or occupational certification and show how their educational path will prepare them for a specific employment goal. Applications are reviewed and processed in January and July, and applications are due on the 15th of the previous month, respectively. Applicants must complete a grant application, provide an autobiography and educational plan, and file the FAFSA. For more information, visit The Girlfriend Factor website.
- Amount: Up to $5,000, awarded in two installments per year
- Application deadline: August 1, annually
Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress, where she represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. The Patsy Mink Foundation, established in 2003, honors her commitment to educational access, opportunity, and equity for low-income women, particularly mothers. The Education Support Award offers up to $5,000 to low-income women with children pursuing their education or technical training. Applicants must be women over the age of 17 with dependent minor children. Awardees are selected based on financial need, personal circumstances, educational path, and occupational, service, civic, or activist goals. To learn more, visit the Patsy Mink Foundation website.