Having you been considering going back to school to obtain your degree in nursing, or are you a nurse who would like to pursue your master’s or doctoral? The cost of tuition and materials may be a deterrent at first, but there are many scholarships and grants that will help make this transition affordable. In certain situations, your education may be paid for in full as well as some money applied to your living expenses.

The state of Virginia offers several of these scholarships and grants to help meet your needs while you’re a student in nursing. Each one has its own criteria for awarding these scholarships.

Before applying to them you should look into two Federal sources of grants and loans: the FAFSA and the Federal Stafford Loan.

FAFSA

The FAFSA is a Federally-funded grant program based upon a student’s financial need. Filling out the FAFSA is usually your first stop after you’ve enrolled in a college or university, because through its process your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is determined. This shows how much money you or your family will be expected to be able to pay for the school year. Most colleges will want you to have this application completed so your eligibility for other scholarships and grants can be determined.

You may complete the FAFSA either through the mail, online or by phone. Award amounts are based on need and may completely pay tuition and expenses. The FAFSA is renewable but income must be updated yearly. Be mindful that if you apply online you will need to obtain an Electronic Pin number, which will be your way to electronically sign all paperwork. Procedure for obtaining the Pin is available online.

Federal Stafford Loan

The Federal Stafford Loan is either subsidized or unsubsidized, meaning that it will or will not be supplemented by the Federal government. Subsidized loans are based on demonstrable financial need and are not subject to credit approval. Loan amounts are based upon what your current year of enrollment is. Interest is 5.6% and will be paid by the government while you’re in school and for six months following your graduation. Payment on this loan is deferred for that six months while you seek employment, and may be deferred further still if you qualify.

Unsubsidized loans are not based on need but do have limits, which are based on the current year of your enrollment. The interest rate is higher and you will be responsible for the interest that accrues while you’re in school. You may either choose to pay the interest during your schooling or allow it to accrue and pay it after you graduate.

After you’ve availed yourself of these two Federally-funded programs then you’ll know which Virginia scholarships and grants you’re eligible for. Here is a listing of some of them.

Commonwealth of Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program: “Supporting Our Nurse Educators”

Graduates who are enrolled in or are pursing enrollment in a master’s or doctoral-level nursing course in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and who agree to teach in a Virginia school of nursing as a condition of the scholarship, are eligible. Students must be in a position to complete their schooling in two years or less.

Award amounts are $20,000 per year, for up to two years, while the student is completing coursework. After graduating, the student is obligated to act as a faculty member for two years per year that they received the award. For instance, if the student was awarded two years of scholarships, then they will need to work for four years as recompense.

If the student accepts the award but then does not taking a teaching post upon graduation, they must pay back the awarded amount within two years with an interest of 9%.

Mary Marshall Nursing Scholarship Program for Registered Nurses

In order to be eligible for the Mary Marshall Nursing Scholarship Program, students must have been Virginian residents for at least one year, have demonstrated financial need and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Award amounts are based on the individual student.

These scholarships must be repaid by working in Virginia in a nursing capacity for a month per $100 granted. An award amount of $1200, for example, must be repaid with twelve months of consecutive work in Virginia.

A graduate must become licensed as soon as the exam is available. If a student doesn’t pass the first test, the next available test must be taken. If the student fails again all granted monies must be repaid immediately and are subject to interest charges.

Voluntary military service, even if in the nursing field and stationed within Virginia, will not be considered repayment of the scholarship. Applicants must find employment as nurses within 90 days of becoming licensed.

Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Midwife Scholarship Program

Applicants interested in this scholarship must have been Virginian residents for at least one year, be enrolled in a nurse practitioner/midwifery program, have a GPA of 3.0 or greater, submit two reference letters and all materials to the Office of Minority and Public Health Policy before the deadline. Students must also submit a letter of intent to work in an underserved area upon graduation.

Students must repay their scholarships by working in an underserved area for one year per scholarship annual award. If, therefore, you were given scholarships for two years, you will need to work for two years as a repayment. Your area of work should be chosen when applying for the scholarship. This area may be changed within 90 days of graduating.

Applications are available each year from May 1st to June 30th. If the terms of the scholarship are not met after graduation, the scholarship amount will need to be repaid in full with a penalty of interest added on.

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