Scholarships and Grants for Nursing Students

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 students and practicing professionals in search of external nursing scholarships and grants for nursing school 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.

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Tips for Applying for Nursing Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, encourages future students to start preparing early for funding their graduate education.

Eight Months Before Classes Begin

Research scholarships and grants and organize them into three tiers.

  1. School-based: Does the school offer scholarships or graduate student assistantships? 
  2. Student-based: Do you qualify for specific scholarships offered by professional associations, companies, or other organizations? 
  3. Specialty-based: Are there funding opportunities for nursing students in your desired specialty area?

Learn about the options available to you, which may include scholarships, fellowships, and federal aid. 

Six Months Before Classes Begin

  • Decide which scholarships to apply for and add their deadlines to your calendar.
  • Ask any advisors, professors, and the school registrar to submit required documents well before the deadline.
  • If applying for federal student aid, apply as soon as the Free Application for Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is released on October 1; submit by the school’s earliest financial aid deadline, often early February.

Four Months Before Classes Begin

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Financial Aid for Nursing School

According to 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median salary for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree is $73,300.

Nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses with master’s degrees or higher can earn a median salary of $115,800.

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:

Discover Nursing Scholarships, part of Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future, offers information on a broad range of scholarships for nursing students in need of financial assistance. 

Nursing Scholarship Search

This searchable online database allows students to find scholarships that best meet their criteria. Search by state, GPA, and scholarship level.

List of Nursing Scholarships

In addition to providing writing tips and suggestions for putting together an effective application, 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.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Scholarships and Financial Aid

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.

Best Colleges: Scholarships for Nursing Students 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.

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR): Scholarships

DAR has nursing student scholarships available for those 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. 

American College of Nurse-Midwives Foundation: Scholarships for Nurse-Midwifery Students

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.

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Nursing Scholarships


Scholarships and grants 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. 

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

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP): Professional Funding Support

Amount: Up to $5,000 | Application deadline: March 24

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.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship

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 for nursing students in baccalaureate and graduate programs. To be eligible, students must attend schools affiliated with CastleBranch or NursingCAS. CastleBranch will award eight student scholarships per year worth $5,000 each, totaling $200,000 over five years. 

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) CastleBranch–GNSA Scholarship

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 semester for a total of four scholarships per academic 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. 

Hurst Review Services/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Scholarship

Amount: $2,500 | Application deadlines: January 15 and July 15

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. Two scholarships in the amount of $2,500 will be awarded twice yearly. Winners will be announced within 60 days of each deadline. 

AfterCollege/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Scholarship Program

Amount: $2,500 | Application deadlines: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31

These scholarships for nursing students support those who are seeking a baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing. According to AfterCollege and the AACN, “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. One scholarship in the amount of $2,500 will be awarded each quarter.

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

Amount: Full tuition, fees, books, and monthly stipend | Application deadline: May 6

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.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Continuing Professional Development Scholarships

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.

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Foundation Grants, Scholarships, and Awards

Amount: Varies | Application deadline: Various, between April and June

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 for more information.

March of Dimes Dr. Margaret C. Freda Graduate Nursing Scholarship Award

Amount: $5,000 | Application deadline: March 31

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. Recipients are then chosen by the March of Dimes Nurse Advisory Council and announced in June. 

Financial Assistance and Nursing Scholarships for Minority Students

Indian Health Service (IHS) Loan Repayment Programs

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 health professions, assuring the availability of Indian clinicians to serve Indian patients. The IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) provides up to $40,000 toward the repayment of health profession education loans. In exchange, award recipients “agree to serve in a full-time clinical capacity at an Indian health facility identified as having a staffing need.” The IHS Loan Repayment Program application page and IHS FAQ page are available online.

Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) Scholarships

Amount: Award amount varies per scholarship | Application Deadline: May 31

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. 

National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Scholarships

Amount: $1,000–$45,000 | Application deadline: April 15

These scholarships for nursing students are available to those currently enrolled in a nursing program (BSN, associate degree, diploma or licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse certificate, 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 a member of their local chapter. They also must have at least one full year of school remaining.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies | Application deadline: February 14

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. 

National Association of Hispanic Nurses Awards and Scholarships

Amount: Up to $5,000 | Application deadline: November 1, generally

These scholarships are awarded to Hispanic nursing students who show promise in making professional contributions to the nursing field and serving as role models for other aspiring nurses. 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 for more information about the application process.

Nursing School Scholarships for Nontraditional Students and Others

Jeannette Rankin Foundation (JRF) Women’s Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies, renewable for up to five years | Application window will open November 2021

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. 

Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 | Application deadline: April 30

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 American Association for Men in Nursing Foundation Scholarships

Amount: Varies | Application deadline: Varies; AAMN asks applicants to check back later in 2021

The American Association of Men in Nursing (AAMN) Foundation funds nursing scholarships for men, research, awards, education, and practice in order to promote nursing and men’s health around the world. 

Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Award

Amount: Up to $5,000 to be awarded in two installments per year | Application deadline: Check back in spring 2021 for information on the 2021–2022 cycle

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 who have children and who are 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. 

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Citation for this content: Nursing@Georgetown, the online MSN program from the School of Nursing & Health Studies