Nursing Scholarships: Five Tips on Where to Find Free Money for School

NursingJanuary 23, 2014

Are you worried about paying for nursing school? You are not alone! Luckily, nursing scholarships are surprisingly plentiful. Scholarship funds have been established by private citizens, nurses' associations, state and federal governments and even corporations and charity organizations.

Here are five places to look for nursing scholarships and grants:

Begin With Your School

Your school should have a financial aid department, and they can give you an overview of the scholarships available to students at your specific school. It's their job to make sure students can pay for attendance at their school, so use their time and resources to your advantage. Alumni organizations can also be a source of scholarship funds, and they may donate to facilitate the educational goals of current students.

Fill Out a FAFSA

FAFSA is a government form that is used to demonstrate financial need. Most scholarships require that you demonstrate a need for payment assistance with school before they will award you the scholarship. FAFSA is the standard way to do that, as it estimates your expected family contribution based on your income and assets. Don't let a federal form intimidate you!

Check State Scholarships

Individual states have set aside funds to reduce their nursing shortage. For example, Kentucky offers the Nursing Incentive Scholarship Fund, which will provide $3,000 a year in exchange for a year of working as a nurse in Kentucky. A simple Internet search will help you find scholarships in your state. Also, be sure to check with your state nurse's association.

Federal Grants

Pell Grants are federal aid that is offered to individuals who have not yet obtained a bachelor's degree, and they are not required to be paid back. You have to demonstrate need with your FAFSA and be enrolled in school. The Nurse Corps Scholarship Program, administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration, will pay tuition, fees, other costs and a monthly stipend to applicants who qualify. In exchange, you must work two years in a critical shortage facility, where you will still earn your salary and benefits.

Nursing Organizations and Corporations

There are many nursing organizations that provide nursing scholarships to their members, as well as corporations that fund scholarships. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing maintains a page with a few scholarships. has also compiled an extensive list of scholarships that are available to minorities entering the field of nursing. Even scholarship websites will have areas dedicated to nursing scholarships.

So, apply, apply, apply. It may seem time consuming, but if one essay gets you $1,000, then that was time well spent. Also, don't ever pay for scholarship information. This information is always publicly available; if they ask you to pay, it's a scam. Make sure to accurately follow scholarship application directions, as a minor mistake can remove you from consideration. It is also recommended that you write thank you letters to those who awarded you the scholarship. It is appreciated and encourages the continuation of the scholarship for others. Most importantly, get out there and find the scholarships to fund your dream of becoming a nurse.

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