If you’re planning on entering nursing school or you’re already enrolled in a nursing program, you’re probably thinking about ways to pay for your education that won’t leave you saddled with a debt you’ll be paying back for the rest of your life. You’re going to school to join a noble profession and to help people heal both physically and emotionally however, unlike if you were going to law school, you aren’t guaranteed a massive paycheck when you get your first job after graduation.
And nursing school, like all other forms of post-secondary education these days, is expensive. How can you hope to afford to pay for your tuition, books, and medical supplies? Fortunately, there are actually a lot of grants for nursing students available to you.
There is a lack of qualified, educated nurses today, and the federal government and quite a few private organizations have recognized this. To accommodate a growing need for nurses and individuals’ needs for better careers in care and care management, federal, state, and local governments and other organizations have created grants for nursing students.
What Are Grants for Nursing Students?
Grants are similar to scholarships in that they are funding opportunities for educational programs that you won’t ever have to pay back. However, scholarships are usually awarded based on merit, achievements, and/or leadership. Grants are normally awarded based on financial need above all else.
Grants for nursing students are specifically created to assist lower-income individuals who are pursuing nursing educations. So, if you are an independent student, a single parent, or you are part of a lower-income household, you could qualify for a number of grants for nursing students.
Two Types of Government Grants for Nursing Students
The grant application process is two-fold because there are generally two types of government grants for nursing students that you may be eligible for: formula grants and discretionary grants. Formula grants are based entirely on financial need and are determined by a formula enacted by congress. Discretionary grants are awarded on a competition basis, and, while they are still based on financial need, there are usually other factors that come into play in who is awarded funding.
Applying for Formula Grants
All students in need of any kind of financial aid for their education must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you apply for the first time, you’ll be prompted to start a new FAFSA, create a login and password, and then follow the instructions to complete the form with your income and tax information. You’ll have to renew your FAFSA each year, but this is made easy, as all of your information is automatically saved, and you can just log in, make any necessary changes, and confirm that everything is accurate before submitting.
Once you’ve filled out your FAFSA, your information will go to both the federal government and the nursing school you’re applying to (or already enrolled in). The formula mentioned above will then be applied to it, and this will determine whether or not you qualify for formula grants like the Pell grant or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). Applying for formula grants is that easy; no other action is required on your part to receive this kind of funding if you are eligible.
Applying for Discretionary Grants
You can find a list of currently open discretionary grants at the US Department of Education’s website, and you can search for other discretionary grants at Grants.gov, where you can filter your search by relevant keywords, such as “nursing” or “nursing students”, as well as searching specifically for grants for individuals, education, etc.
The application process for each of these grants is available online. You’ll be able to download all necessary application forms, find all of the information you need to provide, and you’ll be able to submit your applications online, as well. When you apply with Grants.gov, you can even track your application’s progress as it makes its way through the process.
Finding and Applying for Private Grant Funding
Government grants are, of course not your only options for finding grants for nursing students. Private corporations, nonprofits, and outreach organizations also offer grants to students who can demonstrate financial need each year. You can start your hunt for these types of grants by contacting your employer and inquiring about any established educational grants for nursing students that they have in place.
If you’re not already working in the field of medicine and/or care, however, your employer may not be the best resource to start with. Instead, you might want to reach out to clinics and other care organizations in your area. If they don’t have established programs, themselves, they will be likely to know of organizations that do and can give you a better idea of whom to talk with about grants for nurses in your community.
Beyond your local resources, you can also search for grants for nursing students online. Just Googling the phrase “grants for nursing students” should bring up some results, but you may notice that many of these – other than the governmental results – are for scholarships, rather than grants. Don’t dismiss these out of hand.
In addition to need-based grants, you may surprise yourself at some of the scholarships you qualify for, as well. These will usually require nothing more than some information about yourself and your school, as well as a personal essay and one or two recommendation letters.
Even if writing essays isn’t your greatest joy, you can write a story of how you’ve come to pursue a career in nursing, why it matters to you, and why you should be chosen for a scholarship or grant. In fact, you’ll likely have to write essays or personal statements for most of your discretionary grants, as well, so it’s a good idea to get comfortable with writing about yourself, your merits, and how you’ll use your nursing degree to help others.
With a little bit of searching, you can find grants and scholarships for nursing students to help relieve the burden of student debt when you graduate and start your career as a nurse.
Search and Apply for Scholarships on ScholarshipChart.com
ScholarshipChart.com helps students and parents search and apply for scholarships, grants, awards and other financial aid options to help pay for college. Whether you are a high school senior starting college or a single mom going back to school, you can find money for college through ScholarshipChart.com.