Zina Kumok Image Written By: Zina Kumok | Edited By: Kevin Ladd | Updated: July 20, 2024

Nursing Scholarships

Female nursing college student in hospital

If you want to graduate with a lower debt burden, your best option is to apply for as many nursing scholarships as possible. Read below to learn more about how nursing scholarships work, where to find them and how to maximize your chances of winning one.

Continue reading the article below the scholarship list.

25 Nursing Scholarships with Approaching Deadlines

What is a nursing scholarship?

A nursing scholarship is an award given to an undergraduate, graduate or professional nursing student. Scholarships may be given by professional organizations, nonprofits or directly through the school that one is attending.

Nursing scholarships may cover tuition, room and board and other education-related expenses. Some scholarships, such as those from professional organizations, may also provide free attendance to a conference or symposium where you can learn more about the profession and network with other nurses.

Scholarships may be given for one year or may be renewed for several years, and the annual amount will depend on the scholarship provider.

How to apply for a nursing scholarship

The application process for a nursing scholarship is similar to the process for any other scholarship. First, start the research process as soon as possible. Note any scholarships that you might be eligible for and use a spreadsheet to organize application deadlines. Set reminders on your calendar for when the applications are due.

If the scholarship requires a recommendation letter, decide who to ask and give them at least a few weeks of notice. It may be best to find a person who can talk about your passion for nursing. However, if you’re switching careers and don’t have a medical background, then any adult who can speak to your character is also a good fit.

Most scholarships also require at least one essay, with some requiring two or more. Start working on the essay as soon as possible. You’ll need enough time to write a draft, ask for edits from a trusted source and work on revisions.

While it may be tempting to copy and paste from an existing essay, make sure what you write answers the question. The essay is the best place to show off your personality and stand out from the crowd so you don’t want to put in a half-hearted effort.

Go through all the other requirements and figure out what else you need to submit. For example, you may need to provide a headshot, an official transcript and more. Make sure you don't forget to provide anything the scholarship asks for. Once you have put all of these together, be sure to spend some time searching for, and applying for, scholarships.

The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award is an excellent opportunity offering a $30,000 stipend to graduating college seniors who want to pursue public service anywhere in the world they wish to live.

Another great scholarship opportunity is the Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund, which is offered to those studying Nursing and other STEM majors.

Nursing scholarship FAQs

When can I apply for nursing scholarships?

There is no set season for nursing scholarship applications, and the exact deadline for nursing scholarships can vary. Set aside time each month to review new scholarship opportunities and figure out how to apply. You can sign up for notifications from scholarship websites to be notified when new awards are posted.

Where can I find nursing scholarships?

The school you attend may have several scholarship opportunities. Talk to an employee in the financial aid department and ask if they know of any. Also, professional nursing organizations are another popular source of scholarships.

Our directory at Scholarships.com is also a good starting point. You can create a profile and use it to search for eligible scholarships.

How can I maximize my chances of winning a scholarship?

You can improve the odds of winning a nursing scholarship by following the scholarship guidelines carefully. Many students hurt their chances by not reviewing the requirements and submitting their application after the deadline.

Another common mistake is not submitting everything that the scholarship application asks for. For example, let’s say you have to submit an official transcript. If you only submit an unofficial transcript, your application may be disqualified.

Can I get a full-ride to nursing school?

While it is certainly possible, it is unlikely. There is no way to guarantee a full-ride to nursing school. The best approach for most students is going to be to increase your odds by applying for as many scholarships as possible.

Being persistent also helps. Even if you don’t receive an award the first year you apply, you can keep applying for that same scholarship as long as you are eligible. There are plenty of scholarships available for all program years. Ask your financial aid department if there are any school-wide awards you can apply for as well.

Can I get a nursing scholarship as a community college student?

While many scholarships are geared toward traditional undergraduate students, some may also accept community college students, especially those who plan to transfer to a four-year school.

For example, the Saginaw Area Health Care Administrators Scholarship is available for community college students, as well as for students in four-year programs.

If you're applying to a community college, make sure you maximize any scholarship and grant opportunities they have. And remember, you are still eligible for federal financial aid as a community college student.

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA to qualify for a scholarship?

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may or may not be required for third-party nursing scholarships. For example, the Nellie Martin Carman Scholarship asks for proof that students have submitted the FAFSA.

Also, internal awards directly given by the school may require that students complete the FAFSA, even for students who may not qualify for need-based federal aid. You can contact your school's financial aid department to see what their specific rules are.

Even if the FAFSA is not required, completing it will make you eligible for federal student loans, work-study and grants, including the Pell Grant. Also, many states mandate that you complete the FAFSA to be eligible for their own grants. In general, all students should complete the FAFSA, even if they don’t think they will qualify for need-based aid.

Can I get a nursing scholarship as a graduate or doctoral student?

While there are usually more nursing scholarships geared toward undergraduate students, graduate and doctoral students can still find plenty of scholarship opportunities.

For example, the March of Dimes organization provides $10,000 annual scholarships for graduate nursing students who are studying maternal-child nursing.

Another excellent scholarship for graduate nursing students is the Future Clinicians Scholarship. This particular scholarship offers a renewable $5,000 award and can be worth as much as $20,000 to any given graduate nursing or other medical student.

You should always contact your school to see if they have any internal awards, which may require a separate application. If you're also looking for funding opportunities, talk to your professors and see if you can work as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for an undergrad class.

Are nursing scholarships based on financial need?

Like with other kinds of awards, some nursing scholarships may only be given to students with demonstrated financial need. However, there are also plenty of opportunities for students who do not qualify based on their family’s financial status. Read through the scholarship description to determine if need is a factor.

Also, some scholarships will list demonstrated financial need as an optional requirement. This means that students who do not have financial need are still welcome to apply.

Financial need is determined differently by each scholarship committee. Some may use data from the FAFSA to decide if you’re eligible, whereas others will have a household income cut-off. If you're unsure whether or not you qualify, reach out to the scholarship coordinator.

Are there scholarships for nurses from diverse backgrounds?

If you're part of a racial, ethnic or other kind of minority, you may be eligible for specific awards. There are many organizations that want to increase diversity in the nursing profession.

For example, the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) has an “Investing in Pediatric Nursing Diversity” scholarship that is given to a student who is interested in pediatric nursing and is from a diverse background.

The following organizations support minority nurses and may also provide scholarships to eligible students:

The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship is given to a student from the Native community who wants to work in healthcare. You must be a registered member of a tribe or Native community to qualify.

Also, those who identify as being part of the LGBQTIA+ community may also qualify for special scholarships. For example, the Out to Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ+ STEM Students is given to a student who is part of the LGTBQIA+ community and is receiving a healthcare-related degree.

Because men make up a minority of all nurses, you may have a better shot at getting a scholarship as a male nurse. This can be even more true if you’re part of another marginalized community.

Are There Scholarships for Specific Nursing Specialties?

While the majority of nursing scholarships are given to nurses in any field, some awards are only for those who are working toward a specific sub-specialty.

If you are studying or want to work in a particular nursing field, you should look for scholarships from professional organizations for those types of nurses or healthcare workers.

For example, the Oncology Nursing Foundation offers a scholarship for Registered Nurses (RN) who are getting their master's degrees and want to work as an oncology nurse.

So if you are interested in a certain field of nursing, try searching Google to find more scholarship opportunities. If you're already part of a professional organization, see if they have any potential awards. Some organizations may only give out scholarships to current members, whereas others will allow anyone to apply. As always, make sure you read through the instructions to understand how the scholarship works.

Here are some popular kinds of specialities that may have specific scholarships:

Can I apply for a nursing scholarship if I applied for it before?

Just because you didn’t win a scholarship the first time you applied for it doesn't mean you shouldn't keep applying. If you're still eligible, then you can still submit your application and hope for the best. You can also contact the scholarship coordinator and clarify if previous applicants can apply again.

If the essay question is the same, try not to reuse your previous essay. Instead, you should rework the essay and improve it, if possible. Ask a professor, parent or other adult if you’re not sure about how to make it better.

How can I pay for college if I don’t get enough nursing scholarships?

While nursing scholarships can help you cover part of your tuition, they may not be enough to fully pay for everything. If you fill out the FAFSA, you can find out if you are eligible for federal student loans and grants which can cover the rest of your education-related expenses.

When you graduate, you may be eligible for several kinds of loan forgiveness or repayment programs. For example, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is available for nurses who work in a government or non-profit hospital or clinic. After making 10 years of payments on an income-driven repayment plan, the remaining balance will be forgiven. You will also not have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount.

There are also many loan repayment programs where you may qualify for loan forgiveness if you work in an underserved location for a certain number of years.

A survey from the National Student Nurses' Association found that about 70% of nursing students graduate with student loans. The average debt total for a nursing school student ranges from $19,928 for an associate nursing degree to $47,321 for a master’s degree. So, if you want to become a professional nurse, the path may be an expensive one.

Also, you may be able to find a job that offers a signing bonus or loan repayment assistance if you are employed there. You may have to work for several years to get the full benefit though. If you leave before that time, you may have to pay back all or part of the amount.

While you should still try to apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for, be reassured that there are plenty of ways to pay back your loans after you graduate without breaking the bank.