There are various scholarships and grants available for students who decide to study nursing in the state of Tennessee. Some scholarships require a commitment to service in health care settings in critical need of nurses, while others do not have this requirement.
The Health Resources Services Administration Scholarship
The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) scholarship is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is a competitive scholarship that pays for nursing school expenses, including tuition, fees, books, and supplies. It also provides a monthly stipend. The amount of the award is based on information on program costs provided by the school.
The scholarship helps to address the critical shortage of nurses in the United States, the District Columbia, and U.S. Territories. After graduation from nursing school, scholars are required to work in a health care facility where there is a critical shortage of nurses. Eligible health care facilities include nursing homes, rural health clinics, home health agencies, hospice programs and hospitals. Those who complete their program under the scholarship as scheduled have six months after graduation to accept a position in one of the eligible facilities. It is important that anyone interested in this scholarship is committed to the service requirement.
Who qualifies for the HRSA Nursing Scholarship Program?
Those nursing students in Tennessee who attend an accredited graduate, baccalaureate, associate degree or diploma program are eligible to apply for this scholarship. LPN programs, self-study programs, dual degree programs and RN to BSN programs do not qualify. The HRSA nursing scholarship program takes into account the expected family contribution (EFC) from the Student Aid Report. The Student Aid Report is generated and sent to students who complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Preference for the HRSA Nursing Scholarship Program is given to students with an EFC of zero. Applications for the program are usually available beginning in April. Those who are interested can receive email notifications by signing up at http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/nursing/scholarship/. There is no scholarship for LPN students.
The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association Scholarship
Tennessee nursing students are also eligible for scholarships through the National Student Nurses Foundation. An application for this scholarship can be downloaded from the organization’s website at www.nsna.org.
The Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program
The Tennessee Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness program was established in 2006 to encourage nurses to return to school to become teachers or administrators. To qualify for the program, applicants must be residents of Tennessee and hold a Tennessee nursing license. They must also provide written intent to become employed as a teacher or administrator in a nursing education program. Applicants cannot be in default of any other loan. For those who agree to work full time in nursing education or administration, 25% of the loan will be forgiven for each year of work. Those who work on a continuous part time basis will have 12.5% of their loan forgiven for each year worked.
ROTC (Reserved Officer Training Corp) Nursing Scholarships
Tennessee nursing students at colleges with ROTC programs can participate in the ROTC (Reserved Officer Training Corp) scholarship program. The various branches of the military offer scholarships to students who commit to service as military nurses. Interested students should contact the ROTC program at the school they plan to attend.
The Pell Grant
The Pell grant provides financial assistance to low-income students who need financial assistance to attend college. Tennessee undergraduate nursing students interested in the Pell grant should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who study at community colleges also qualify for Pell grants.
Other Tennessee Nursing Scholarships
There are numerous scholarship opportunities for those wishing to pursue a career in nursing. Many scholarships are provided by private groups and organizations. These include hospitals, civic groups, sororities, and other groups. Some colleges offer their own scholarships. A prospective nursing student should contact the financial aid department at his or her school of choice and also discuss scholarship opportunities with representatives of the nursing program. It is also a good idea to check with hospitals about special grants or other educational incentives for nursing students. Some hospitals who have critical nurse shortages have their own financial aid programs. These hospitals may offer scholarships or grants to nursing students who will commit to employment for a specified period of time.
Student Loan Programs
Last but not least, nursing students in Tennessee can apply for federal student loans. Some federal loans are subsidized and others are not. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine if they qualify for federal student loan.