Complete Guide to Nursing Scholarships

Nursing is a high-demand career field that also happens to be one of the fastest growing in America today. With persistent concerns about a shortage of licensed professionals, organizations across the country are answering the call to help by making nursing school more affordable for prospective students through various scholarship opportunities.

Students committed to careers in nursing will find this in-demand field offers better-than-average pay and a potential for growth that outpaces most other industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With concerns about a nursing shortage also running high, students will also discover a host of scholarship opportunities available to help them offset the costs of earning a degree.

Career Prospects

There were more than 2.7 million nursing positions in the United States in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary for registered nurses in May 2014 was $69,700, according to the BLS. Requiring only an associate’s degree for entry into the field, along with proper state licensing, the growth in this field is anticipated at 19% through 2022, according to the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 edition.

Though students are encouraged to conduct independent research into the field as pay and availability of positions can vary based on location and potential employer, the faster-than-average job growth rate makes this field rather attractive for jobseekers. The following are just some of the many scholarship opportunities available for students with a desire to enter this profession:

A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Offered only to students of Native American heritage, this one-year nursing scholarship awards $1,000 at the undergraduate level and $2,000 at the graduate level. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to be eligible.

Gates Millennium Scholars

Providing $1,000 a year to offset educational costs, this scholarship is open to students with a minimum of a 3.3 GPA. Students must be of African American, American Indian-Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American descent to be eligible.

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  • Deadline to apply – The application period typically closes on Jan. 15 of each calendar year.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funds 1,000 scholarships a year.

Estelle Massey Osborne Scholarship

These scholarships are open to minority RNs enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program in nursing.  Applicant must be a U.S. citizen and a member of a professional nursing association.  The scholarship amount varies based on available funds.

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  • Deadline to apply – The scholarship application period closes March 1 annually.

National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Providing up to $20,000 per academic year in tuition, educational expenses and living expenses, these scholarships can be renewed for up to four years. Designed for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the competitive scholarship program is open to students who are pursuing careers in the biomedical, behavioral, social science health-related research areas. In addition to scholarship support, recipients receive paid research training at the NIH during the summers and paid employment and training at NIH after graduation. Eligibility requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.3, U.S. citizenship or permanent residency and acceptance or enrollment in an accredited four-year institution.

National Student Nurses Association

Offering scholarships that range from $1,000 to $2,500, the foundation awards more than $345,000 each year to students with dreams of becoming nurses. To be eligible, students must be American citizens or registered aliens who are currently enrolled in nursing school or pre-nursing programs. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, financial need and involvement in student nursing organizations and community activities related to the profession.

National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Lauranne Sams Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student nurse based on scholastic achievement, financial need and community service. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a nursing program (BSN, AD, Diploma, or LPN/LVN) and in good scholastic standing at the time of application. Applicant must also be a member of NBNA and of a local chapter (if one exists in his or her area), and have a minimum of one year of school remaining.

Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship

This scholarship program is especially tailored to meet the needs of non-traditional nursing students with a desire to become K-12 school nurses or specialize in infection control. Non-traditional students are defined as those who postponed or halted college to enter the workforce, military or raise a family. This one-year scholarship is granted in the amount of $1,000 and is non-renewable.

Touchmark Foundation Nursing Scholarship

Geared to students at all levels with a desire to pursue advanced degrees for the purpose of teaching or working with senior citizens, this one-year scholarship is granted in the amount of $1,000. Students must be accepted or enrolled in an accredited nursing program to be eligible.

Charlotte McGuire Scholarships

Administered by the American Holistic Nurses Association, this four-year scholarship is open to students pursuing degrees in holistic nursing. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students must have current R.N. licensure.

Nurses of Tomorrow

This scholarship is open to undergraduates and graduating high school seniors with a 2.8 GPA or higher who have a demonstrated financial need. Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually.

Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship

Sponsored by Cascade Healthcare Solutions, this competitive $1,000 scholarship is open to students who are currently enrolled in nursing school or who have been accepted into a program. Students must complete an essay to be eligible.

Mayo Foundations Scholarship

This National Black Nurses Association scholarship is awarded in the amount of $2,000. Eligible students must be of African American descent and must be currently enrolled in a nursing program. Students must also have at least one full year of school remaining.

For more information about nursing scholarship opportunities, be sure to check with campus-based advisors for other nationally offered programs and those that might be exclusive to a school, region or state.

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