The demand for educated nurses has been increasing since the early 2000s. From 2008 to 2010 alone, the RN workforce grew by one quarter, while the LPN workforce grew by 15.5%. The need for skilled nurses will continue to increase as large numbers of professionals start reaching retirement age — about one-third of nurses today are aged 50 or older.

THE NEED FOR SKILLED NURSES WILL ONLY CONTINUE TO INCREASE AS LARGE NUMBERS OF PROFESSIONALS START REACHING RETIREMENT AGE — ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF NURSES TODAY ARE AGED 50 OR OLDER.

Graduates can enter the healthcare field with an associate degree in nursing, but those holding a bachelor's degree will have greater job prospects, as today's nurses need more training to care for patients and work with new technology. The number of nurses holding at least a bachelor's degree has risen about 5% in recent years, and many nurses pursue additional education after entering the RN workforce. There are a variety of nursing scholarships available to help professionals pay for their education in order to obtain a rewarding job or advance their careers.

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Financial Assistance for Nursing Students

The Federal Student Loan Program helps nursing students pay for college with grants, work-study, and low-interest student loans. To apply for aid, students must fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Completing the FAFSA is free. The government hands out a variety of student loans, including subsidized (meaning the government pays for some interest), unsubsidized, Perkins Loans (for high-need students), and PLUS loans, which can be used to pay for expenses not covered by other aid.

A number of loan forgiveness plans exist to help graduates. With these plans, some or all debt is paid off, usually in exchange for a set amount of work service.

  • NURSE corps loan repayment program - The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program helps RNs pay off student loans in exchange for a two-year commitment to work in an area with a nurse shortage.
  • Federal Perkins loan cancellation - Full-time nurses can have up to 100% of their Federal Perkins Loans forgiven.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program - Full-time nurses may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which forgives the remaining balance on direct loans after 120 payments if the borrower works for a qualified employer (hospitals qualify).

Nursing Grants

Grants are a form of financial aid that does not need to be repaid, and many nursing grants are available. Nursing grants are usually awarded based on financial need and cost of attendance. Students can also apply for grants from state and local governments, including other private and public organizations.

Working nurse grants are awarded in exchange for a term of service. Eligible students have already completed their degrees and typically use the funding to pay off student loans. Recipients are sent to work in high-demand/underserved areas for a certain amount of time, and in exchange for their service, the program pays off an agreed-upon percentage of their student loan debt. The NURSE Corps is a working nurse grant program that places registered nurses in underserved areas and then pays up to 60% of their unpaid student loans in two years.

Nursing Scholarships

Scholarships, typically academic merit-based or need-based, also do not need to be repaid. Scholarships are offered by schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Many scholarships have specific eligibility requirements, and may be awarded based on race, religion, national origin, gender, attendance of a specific school, or state residency.

Nursing school scholarships are also awarded based on a candidate's specialization in the field. To be eligible for most nursing scholarships, students must also meet certain academic standards. Some scholarships for nurses focus on recruiting more minorities and men to the field, and are available to undergraduates and graduate students.

Below we have compiled an extensive list of the best scholarships for nurses, including ones specifically targeted towards undergraduates, graduate students, minorities, and men.

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

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 Masters in Nursing

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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