Illinois is one of the most unique states in the USA. Chicago in particular is a uniquely American city with a combination of cosmopolitan delights and Midwestern sensibilities.

The state is a hub for the eastern side of the US, with a number of national and international influences. It’s no wonder that many students come to Illinois for their education, and nursing students are no exception.

There are a number of high-quality schools and programs offering nursing and medical programs all across the state.

Prominent Illinois institutions with nursing schools include:

  • Loyola University
  • University of Illinois
  • Northwestern University
  • Illinois School of Health Careers
  • Southern Illinois University

Many other options exist as well, along with programs not tied to any school but dedicated to furthering health education, such as the Center for Rural Health.

Of course, higher education costs a great deal of money, especially when pursuing more advanced degrees and the opportunities they offer.

Nursing school can cost as little as $2,000 a year or as much as $10,000 at more prestigious schools. Even the less expensive options are still a significant burden that cannot be taken lightly. $2,000 can buy a good computer or pay for an important health care procedure. In matters like these, people need help, and there is a great deal of financial aid available out there.

Selected Scholarships

The Allied Health Care Professional Scholarship Program

This program was created specifically for Illinois. As a state with a significant agricultural basis, Illinois has many rural and underdeveloped areas that lack sufficient nursing staff. Any doctor worth the name will tell you how vital a good nurse is to any hospital, so this program is aimed at helping provide nurses with educational financing while increasing their attention to these understaffed areas.

Medical Student Scholarship Program

Aimed at Illinois residents, this program provides tuition assistance for students entering any medical profession in IL, which includes students interested in nursing programs.

Nursing Education Scholarship Program

NESP is offered to students pursuing anything from nursing certification to graduate-level nursing degrees. Once again aimed at making sure nurses see the many areas of IL as places to pursue their craft, it’s a solid program for those interested in getting financial aid.

Pell Grant

Students who have not yet received an associate’s or baccalaureate degree may wish to consider a Pell Grant before pursuing student loan options. A Pell Grant need not be repaid, so it is not a matter of accruing debt. There is no reason at all not to look into Pell Grants when pursuing your nursing school options.

Military Education Opportunities

This is only a small selection of the many options available to members of the military, former military, or military family dependents. For example, the GI Bill was originally intended to provide college money specifically to military service members. However, the rules were recently amended to allow family members to use the money as well in certain circumstances. If you or your guardian have an association with the military, don’t neglect to pursue this venue for paying for your education.

The Nursing Scholarship

To quote the HRSA website: “In exchange for at least two years service at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses, the Nursing Scholarship Program pays tuition, a monthly stipend (up to 1200 dollars), and reasonable fees such as books and lab expenses.”

Breaking It Down

This is again merely the beginning of the many options available to nursing students in the state of Illinois. Churches and private organizations often organize modest scholarships for their members. Schools have their own financial aid departments with trained personnel ready to help you find options that fit. Some companies and businesses will help with school costs in exchange for services and on-the-job training opportunities.

The key is not to let the cost of nursing school daunt you. Consider it as a problem. Yes, it is intimidating and yes it needs a lot of work to surmount. You are allowed to consider it this way. Now that you have the problem addressed, put aside the fear and deal with it as you would any problem. Take steps. Research your specific area and look into the matter with an eye toward taking it apart.

Some people get hung up on a big number, say $13,000. Well, as we mentioned above, one program offers a monthly stipend of up to $1,200 a month. Over 12 months, that amounts to $14,400, which means even before tuition assistance kicks in you’re making enough to pay the full $13,000 and still save $1,100 besides.

The problem doesn’t seem so big anymore, does it? And this is only one of the many programs available. By combining multiple scholarships, it is possible not only to pay for school but to come out of the program with a positive balance in your bank account that you can consider putting toward further opportunities.

Start Today, Do It Every Day

Consider looking up and requesting one scholarship a week for the next year, with two weeks off for holidays (so fifty scholarships). Even if you only receive two or three of them, this can pay for most of (if not all of) your college expenses, as we’ve already seen. Recession or not, the money is out there and you can take advantage of it.

Nothing helps boost confidence like starting strong. Give it a try: pick one of these scholarships today and look up the information you need to put together for it. Put the package together and send it away if the time is open, or set it aside to be sent on THE day admissions open for the program. Take this first step, and soon you’ll find the rest of the path much easier to follow.

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