To alleviate the shortage of nurses in the medical field and to increase the number of nursing students, grants awarded in the field of nursing are increasing.
By dedicating a little time to learning about nursing education grants, you can earn free money towards your education and relieve some of your financial concerns.
Complete a FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it creates a report that estimates how much you are actually able to contribute to your college tuition.
Then it determines the types and amounts of financial aid you are eligible to receive. This includes loans that must be repaid after graduation as well as grants that do not have to be repaid.
While the FAFSA does not award grants specific to certain fields, any grant you receive will aid in your nursing education.
Where to Look for Nursing Grants
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
The AACN is committed to the advancement of nursing students.
They offer a wealth of information on nursing careers including the various levels of education required, actions to advance your position, and schools that offer the best programs. In addition, the website regularly posts announcements for fellowships, scholarships, grants, and other funding for nursing students.
If your education is in progress, narrowing your search from simply nursing education grants to grants that cater to potential specialty areas. For example, the Oncology Nursing Society offers grants to students with a commitment to that specific field.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is primarily in effect to improve the access to health care for those who are uninsured or medically vulnerable. However, for their goal to be reached, there need to be health care professionals for the patients to see. To aid in the training of nurses, the offer grants for nearly every field of medical care and for every level of education including Master’s, Post-Master’s, and Doctoral studies.
To improve the quality of health care in their respective state, many will offer grants to those who are entering or enrolled in a nursing program. Other groups simply value education and will offer grants to students who are dedicated to education. For example, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation (PHEF) offers millions of dollars worth of grants to several academic ambitions, including nursing education. Look to see what your state has to offer and if your school is eligible to receive the grant.
It is also beneficial to discuss your search for nursing education grants with the career counseling at your school or the school you plan to attend. Many universities have professional and alumni groups that offer grants specifically to the nursing students of a certain institution. Continue to meet with the career counselor throughout your college career; as your experience and education increase, it is likely that you will become eligible for new grants.
Steps to Increase Your Chances
- Do not apply for only a single grant. While it takes more time, it drastically increases your odds of receiving a nursing education grant.
- Volunteering, working part-time, and obtaining an internship show that you are hard-working and are concerned with others. This is an important part of any grant proposal, but it is especially important when trying to receive a grant in the health care field. However, be careful not to let it interfere with your studies.
- Start researching grants in the middle of your junior year if you plan to attend college immediately after graduation. If you are a returning or non-traditional student, begin your search a year before you begin your education.
- Sign up for financial aid through FAFSA first because it is the most likely to award you a grant. Next, look for grants that are individual to your institution. Take advantage of the fact that schools like to be deemed as one that aids their students. Finally, branch out and look in all directions for grants. Keep a record of each grant you apply for to avoid confusion and wasting time later.
- Be completely honest while filling out forms. If they plan to grant you a substantial amount of money, they will do their research as well. A piece of information that is found to be false will automatically disqualify you from the grant.
- Have at least 3 references from people in respected positions that will testify for your character, the one defining quality that can not be placed on paper.
The cost of tuition for a nursing education can range from $12,000 for a two-year program to over $30,000 for a private institution education. Fortunately, with the plethora of nursing education grants, you do not have to sacrifice your goal because of the expense.
Also, while scholarships are often awarded on the basis of academic achievement, grants are awarded to those students that are truly in need of financial aid. Even if you do not deem yourself truly in need of financial aid, it does not hurt to try. Grants are not exclusively for the underprivileged or poverty-stricken. All you need is the dedication to research and desire to reach your ultimate goal of an education.
If you do not receive the first grant you applied for, do not get frustrated. Free money is out there simply waiting to improve your life.