Ok, so you've taken the first step in building a financial aid package by applying for Federal Student Aid through submitting your FAFSA, and you're waiting for your SAR report. It's time to get busy finding and applying for nursing scholarships! Scholarships are available for every student's educational goals, activities and interests!
Billions of dollars in college scholarships and grants are available each year to college students, and just like the Pell Grant, they do not have to be repaid. There are all sorts of scholarship opportunities ranging from national, institutional, specific major, athletic abilities, ethnic background, hobbies, some talent you have, a disease you may have, to the color of your eyes.
Some scholarships are based on academic achievement, some are based on financial need, and others are based on some pretty eccentric qualifications, but the key is to search for scholarships you may be eligible for and then apply for them as soon as you can. In other words, don't stop at just applying for nursing specific scholarships!
Searching for scholarships used to be rewarding, but very time consuming. Luckily, huge scholarship databases are available for free online. Reputable free scholarship search services such FastWeb streamline and simplify the scholarship search process by matching students to relevant scholarship opportunities completely free of charge.
Avoid Scholarship Scams
Never ever pay for scholarship search services, and avoid scholarships that want to charge an application fee like the plague! The Federal Trade Commission cautions students to look for tell tale lines such as:
"The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back."
"You can't get this information anywhere else."
"I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship."
"We'll do all the work."
"The scholarship will cost some money."
"You've been selected by a 'national foundation' to receive a scholarship" or "You're a finalist" in a contest you never entered.
The best way to prevent becoming a victim of scholarship fraud is to apply for scholarships directly from reputable sources such as the school you plan to attend, your employer, through federal government web sites, well known corporations that offer scholarships (such as McDonalds or Wallmart for example), or through safe & reputable free scholarship search databases such as FastWeb!
Government Nursing Scholarships & Loan Programs
Nursing Scholarship Program
Students enrolled or accepted for enrollment in accredited RN training programs can receive tuition, fees, other educational costs and a living stipend in exchange for in exchange for at least 2 years service after graduation at a health care facility with a critical shortage of nurses. More Info
National Health Service Corps Scholarship
Students committed to primary care and enrolled in allopathic or osteopathic medical, dental, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife training programs can receive tuition, fees, other educational costs and a living stipend, tax-free, for as many as 4 years in exchange for an equal number of years (2-year minimum) service at an approved facility in a high-need underserved area. More Info
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
Need-based, competitive program for full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enrolled in allied health professions and nursing programs. More Info
Indian Health Service Scholarship Program
The IHS Scholarship Program offers three different scholarship programs to help qualified American Indian and Alaska Native candidates move forward with their education and pursue careers in a nursing or allied health care profession. More Info
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
If you are a student in your final year at an accredited U.S. allopathic and osteopathic medical school, are committed to primary care and have eligible student loans, you can apply to the NHSC Students to Service Program. If selected, you can receive $120,000 in loan repayment for committing to serve at an approved NHSC site full time for at least 3 years (or half time for at least 6 years) following the completion of a primary care residency. If your eligible student loan balance is less than $120,000, you can receive funding to pay off those loans. More Info
Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program
Registered nurses working at non-profit health centers, hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities facing a critical shortage of nurses can receive 60 percent of their total qualifying nursing education loan balance for 2 years of service. Full-time nurse faculty at public or private nonprofit accredited schools of nursing are also eligible. For an optional third year of service, participants may receive an additional 25 percent of their original total qualifying nursing education loan balance. More Info
Faculty Loan Repayment Program
Degree-trained health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds serving on the faculty at accredited health professions college, nursing school, or university can receive $40,000, plus a tax benefit, for 2 years of service preparing the clinicians of the future. More Info
Nursing Student Loan Program
The Nursing Student Loan program provides long-term, low-interest rate loans to full-time and half-time financially needy students pursuing a course of study leading to a diploma, associate, baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing. More Info
Health Professions Student Loans
The Health Professions Student Loan program provides long-term, low interest rate loans to full-time, financially needy students to pursue a degree in dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, or veterinary medicine. More Info
Loans for Disadvantaged Students
The Loans for Disadvantaged Students program provides long-term, low-interest rate loans to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds, to pursue a degree in allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatric medicine, pharmacy or veterinary medicine. More Info
Non-Government Nursing Scholarship Resources
A large number of nursing scholarships and grants are available to nursing students from nursing associations, health care providers, nearly every state, private foundations, minority associations, and organizations such as the Cancer Society, the American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution, and a multitude of other groups.
Because it's impossible for us to list the vast number of available nursing scholarships here and keep up to date with their deadlines, application links, and changes, we strongly advise you to start your nursing scholarship search by using Discover Nursing's Nursing Scholarship Search, a free resource provided by Johnson & Johnson.
Don't limit your scholarship search to just nursing specific scholarships and grants though! Be sure to check FastWeb Free Scholarship Search to find information on more than 600,000 scholarships as well, because in addition to listing nursing specific scholarships, FastWeb's scholarship database lists many other types of scholarships that you may qualify for as well.
Be sure to check eligibility requirements and application deadlines before applying for scholarships, and don't pass up scholarships that only offer a small amount. The goal is to put your nursing school financial aid package together based on as many grants, scholarships, tuition assistance, and other money that you won't have to repay as possible before resorting to student loans and every single scholarship award you can get will help you reach that goal!
www.studentaid.ed.gov - This site will help you find more information on federal student aid.
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