Earning a nursing degree prepares graduates to work in many rewarding healthcare positions. Aspiring nurses can enroll in graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs on the path toward a meaningful career and a high salary.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 12% growth for registered nurses (RNs) between 2018 and 2028. These positions require a formal degree or diploma and state licensure. RNs can also pursue optional certification in a specialized field.

Most nursing students rely on financial aid to complete their degree. Many schools and programs offer nursing scholarships, especially for students who intend to work in high-need areas. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of nursing degree scholarships.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pay for a degree in nursing?

Most students pursue multiple forms of financial aid to pay for college. Students may apply for federal financial aid based on need, as determined by their FAFSA results, as well as grants and scholarships. Scholarships are especially popular among nursing students; these awards are typically based on merit and do not need to be repaid.

Are there many scholarships available for nursing students?

Yes. Many states and schools offer specific nursing scholarships, especially for nurses aspiring to practice in local or regional high-need areas. Additionally, initiatives such as the Nurse Corps Student Loan Repayment Program assist RNs with student debt who commit to two years of service in a designated nurse shortage area.

Where can I find scholarships for nursing students?

Many schools, private organizations, businesses, and individuals offer nursing scholarships. For a compilation of national, field-specific awards available to students, consult this list of nursing scholarships.

Are there grants for nursing students?

Yes. Nursing students can find grants for a variety of BSN, MSN, and nurse practitioner programs.

How do I qualify for a nursing scholarship?

While requirements vary, nursing scholarships may be awarded based on variables like academic merit, financial need, ethnicity, gender, and state residency. Other scholarships consider a student's nursing specialization or attendance at a particular school.

Financial Assistance for Nursing Students

In addition to nursing scholarships, individuals can pursue several other types of financial aid for nursing students, including grants, fellowships, work-study programs, and loans.

Students should start by completing the FAFSA — a requirement for many college applications — to determine their eligibility for need-based financial aid.

While specific requirements vary depending on the type of aid, most students exhaust all applicable scholarships, grants, and fellowship opportunities first, as these awards do not require repayment. Many students also explore work-study jobs, if available. Individuals can also apply for loans as a last resort, which add interest and fees to repayment terms.

Some nursing degree scholarships are-need based; however, most awards are based on merit or nursing specialization. Grants are typically based on need but may also require merit-based qualifications. Fellowships are rarely awarded on the basis of need and typically fund graduate-level research or field experience in nursing.

Work-study is another type of aid, although this is usually only offered to students earning their degree in person. To qualify, students must complete the FAFSA to determine their need and eligibility. Many schools — especially those with healthcare training facilities on campus — can offer field-specific work-study employment to nursing students, allowing them to earn a paycheck while meeting degree requirements.

Students should start by completing the FAFSA — a requirement for many college applications — to determine their eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Nursing Loan Repayment and Forgiveness Programs

Several loan forgiveness plans have been established to help graduates. Through these programs, nurses who work in certain fields or areas can have their outstanding debt partially or entirely forgiven.


Nursing Grants

Students can pursue several grants to help fund their nursing education. Though similar to scholarships, which are most often based on merit, grants are typically awarded to students who demonstrate significant financial need. Students do not need to repay grants.


Nursing Scholarships

Scholarships are available to students pursuing a variety of nursing specializations and degree levels. Below are just some of the field's many nursing scholarships.

Featured Nursing Scholarships

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Foundation Scholarship

Who's Eligible? AORN's Nursing Student Degree Scholarship provides financial assistance to students pursuing a career in perioperative nursing. Eligible applicants are nursing students in an accredited program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: June

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ANNA-American Nephrology Nurses Association Career Mobility Scholarships

Who's Eligible? The ANNA Career Mobility Scholarships support students accepted to or enrolled in a BSN or advanced degree nursing program. Candidates must have been ANNA members for the last two years and must be actively involved in nephrology nursing related health services.

Award Amount: $1,000-$3,000

Deadline: October

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TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship awards financial support to students who have completed at least one year of undergraduate study in a health-related program, including nursing, at an accredited college. Applicants must have at least one year of school remaining.

Award Amount: $5,000-$10,000 (multiple awards available)

Deadline: June

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Stephanie Carroll Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The NADONA/LTC Stephanie Carroll Scholarship is given to a nursing student enrolled in an accredited program who commits to spending two years after graduation in long-term care or geriatrics.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: July

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Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) Undergraduate Scholarships

Who's Eligible? BCEN Undergraduate Scholarships are awarded to nurses with a BCEN credential who are currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be attending a NLN, AACN, or CCNE accredited school.

Award Amount: $2,000-$5,000

Deadline: May

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Geraldine Polly Bednash Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The Geraldine "Polly" Bednash Scholarship provides financial support to nursing students at AACN member institutions. Applicants must have a 3.2 GPA and be admitted to or enrolled in a school affiliated with CertifiedBackground.com or have submitted an application through NursingCAS.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January, April, July, and October

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OSHPD Bachelor of Science in Nursing Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The OSHPD Bachelor of Science in Nursing Scholarship provides financial aid to students pursuing a BSN in California. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and be willing to work in a medically underserved area in California for two years in exchange for receiving the scholarship.

Award Amount: Up to $10,000

Deadline: February

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Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) BSN Scholarship

Who's Eligible? ARN's BSN Scholarship supports nurses working towards a BSN degree. Applicants must be involved members of ARN, enrolled in a BSN program and in good academic standing, and have at least two years of experience in rehabilitation nursing, including current practice.

Award Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July

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eQuality Nursing Scholarships

Who's Eligible? eQuality Nursing Scholarships financially support nursing students who have demonstrated service to the LGBTQ community. Applicants must be in good academic standing and enrolled in an accredited nursing program in California. RN to BSN and diploma programs are not eligible.

Award Amount: $6,000

Deadline: November

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Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship from Cascade Healthcare Solutions provides financial aid to an undergraduate nursing student with a 3.0 GPA who wins their essay contest.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: August

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Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Bachelor's in Nursing Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The ONS Bachelor's in Nursing Scholarship supports students committed to a career in oncology nursing. Applicants must be enrolled in their senior year of a BSN program at an NLN or CCNE accredited school of nursing.

Award Amount: $3,000-$5,000

Deadline: February

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Nursing Scholarships for Minorities

Students who belong to a historically disenfranchised group and are pursuing a nursing degree may qualify for nursing scholarships for minorities. This classification usually includes — but is not limited to — racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and gender-based minority groups.

Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA) Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The AAPINA Scholarship gives financial aid to one of its members pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Applicants must have been AAPINA members for two years, currently enrolled in an accredited nursing program, and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June

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American Indian Nurse Scholarship Award Program

Who's Eligible? The American Indian Nurse Scholarship provides financial assistance to American Indian nursing students. Recipients must return to work with the American Indian community upon graduation. Students must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program, in good academic standing, and in need of financial assistance.

Award Amount: $1,500 (students can reapply each semester)

Deadline: June and December

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National Association for Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) Nursing Scholarships

Who's Eligible? NAHN's Nursing Scholarships are awarded to NAHN members who are enrolled in accredited nursing programs. Applicants must be Hispanic nursing students and are selected based on need, academic standing, and for their potential as role models for other nursing students.

Award Amount: Amount Varies

Deadline: May

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Kaiser Permanente Health Care Career Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Kaiser's Health Care Career Scholarship provides support for diverse and/or economically or socially disadvantaged students in Oregon and Southwest Washington to become healthcare professionals, including nurses. Scholarships are given to at least one student from each of the 133 eligible public high schools in the Kaiser Permanente Northwest area.

Award Amount: $5,000-$10,000

Deadline: December

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National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) Scholarship Program

Who's Eligible? The NBNA offers scholarships to students currently enrolled in a nursing program and in good academic standing. The applicant must be a member of NBNA, black, and have at least one year of school left.

Award Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Deadline: April

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Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) at the American Nurses Association (ANA)

Who's Eligible? The ANA's Minority Fellowship Program provides scholarships for nurses pursuing multiple degree levels with a focus on psychiatric/mental health and substance abuse.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: May

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Philippine Nurses Association of San Diego County Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The PNASD Scholarship provides financial aid to current undergraduate nursing students who are members of PNASD. Applicants must be a resident of Imperial County, North County, or San Diego County of California and have 20 hours of documented community involvement.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: July

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A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship provides funding to an undergraduate and graduate student with an American Indian, Alaskan, or Native Hawaiian background who is pursuing a degree in medical sciences, among other subjects.

Award Amount: $1,000-$2,000

Deadline: May

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Nursing Scholarships for Men

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) Undergraduate Scholarships

Who's Eligible? Applicants must be a current AAMN member and a male student currently enrolled in an accredited nursing program for at least one academic term.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: November

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American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) Graduate Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Applicants must be a current AAMN member and a male student currently enrolled in an accredited nursing program for at least one academic term.

Award Amount: $1,500

Deadline: November

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Nursing Scholarships for Master's in Nursing

Nursing scholarships for master's programs can help students earn some of the most popular degrees in the field.

Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Scholarships

Who's Eligible? The ENA offers scholarships to nurses pursuing nurse practitioner careers. Applicants must have been an ENA member, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and be attending an NLN, AACN, or CCNE accredited school.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May

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After College/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund

Who's Eligible? The AfterCollege/AACN award supports students pursuing a degree in nursing, with special consideration given to graduate students with the goal of becoming a nurse educator, students in an RN-to-MSN program, and those enrolled in an accelerated program.

Award Amount: $2,500

Deadline: March, June, September, December

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Nursing Economic$ Foundation Scholarships

Who's Eligible? The Nursing Economic$ Foundation Scholarships are for registered nurses enrolled in an accredited master's or doctoral nursing program that has an emphasis on administration or management.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: May

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Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) Graduate Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The ARN Graduate Scholarship provides financial support to nurses working towards a master of science or doctorate degree in nursing. Applicants must be involved members of ARN, enrolled in a graduate level program and in good academic standing, and have at least two years experience in rehabilitation nursing, including current practice.

Award Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July

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Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Master's Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The ONS Master's Scholarship supports a master's-level nursing student committed to oncology nursing. Applicants must be enrolled at an NLN or CCNE accredited school.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: February

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Additional Financial Aid Resources

An Overview of Financial Aid

This resource includes a comprehensive overview of the process of managing financial aid. The guide covers filling out the FAFSA, sorting through aid options, and budgeting while earning a nursing degree.

Financial Aid for Online Students

As more nursing students enroll in online programs, they may require additional guidance to navigate online-specific financial aid. This inclusive resource helps online nursing students find financial aid tailored to an online nursing program. Students can also learn how to make smarter decisions about repaying loans.

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

Nursing students with disabilities may need assistance in finding and applying for financial aid to help them earn their degree. This resource outlines the criteria and explains the options and benefits of financial aid for students with disabilities.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Many single parents pursue nursing programs to improve their family's situation. This resource features scholarships specific to single parents and provides tips on how to maximize financial aid.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Many schools and programs provide financial aid and feature special tuition discounts for veterans and active-duty military students in nursing programs. This resource explores the unique awards available to veteran and military students pursuing nursing degrees at all levels and in all specialties.


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