How to Search for a Nursing Scholarship

Finding funding for your nursing education is easier than you think.

Being admitted to a nursing program is one of the most exciting times in a student’s life. That excitement is quickly replaced by questions of how to afford continued learning. There’s no question that nursing school is expensive. Tuition and program costs add up, but continuing your education does not have to put you into thousands of dollars in student debt.

Scholarships are one way to reduce the cost of a program with some real benefits. Unlike loans, they don’t need to be repaid. Plus, being the recipient of a coveted scholarship looks great on a resume!

Financial Aid Departments

The first place to look for a scholarship is often the least explored: the financial aid department of the school to which you’ve applied. Every school has one. They often have access to scholarships that are not readily accessed by the public. This means your chances of being awarded monies are increased. Not all scholarships are based on merit or need. Some nursing scholarships seek to promote diversity in the nursing profession by encouraging under-represented groups such as minorities and men to apply.

Professional Organizations

Another good source of scholarships is through your professional nursing organization. The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Foundation provides approximately 70 scholarships per year to students pursuing a career in perioperative nursing.

Providing scholarships may be part of your local AORN chapter’s mission. For instance, the Denver area AORN chapter awards one to three $1,500 scholarships per year with an average of $1,500 per scholarship. Check your local chapter’s website to find eligible scholarships.

Government Organizations

Some state-funded programs provide monies for nursing students as a condition for employment. These state programs provide a way to provide health care to under-served or rural areas. This can be especially attractive for those nurses pursuing graduate and doctoral degrees.

Government organizations provide valuable information on scholarships. The US Department of Labor sponsors a scholarship finder website offering information on more than 8,000 scholarships, grants, fellowships, and other financial aid. The US Department of Education also provides helpful tips on how to fill out applications and eligibility requirements for various scholarships.

The benefit of a scholarship is not merely monetary. Scholarships tend to support both personal and professional development through the acquisition of new knowledge. This means that the ultimate beneficiary is not you, but your patients.

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