Getting Started With Nursing Scholarships

Nursing scholarships vary by college and are typically awarded to students who have not earned a previous nursing degree. Award amounts vary widely, often starting at $100 to $200 and increasing up to $3,000 to $5,000 or more, depending on the annual budget of the college and the number of scholarships awarded per semester or academic year.

Criteria and Qualifications for Applicants

Scholarships are typically given out by the health sciences department and subject to strict deadlines, which typically coincide with general spring, fall, summer and winter enrollment dates. Most colleges set strict criteria for nursing scholarships, including setting a minimum threshold for recipients’ test scores, cumulative minimum grade point average, class rank (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior or senior) and enrollment status (i.e., part-time or full-time). Preference may also be given to state residents or students willing to work locally for one to two years following graduation.

Due to the high number of specialties available across different nursing schools and states, nursing students may qualify for special-interest scholarships. For example, students willing to work in cancer research or specialize in the care of cancer patients may be eligible for this type of scholarship or receive a high award amount from a general scholarship fund.

Other factors may also be taken into consideration, including a student’s community involvement, academic performance, nursing competence (clinical and/or work experience), leadership skills in a professional or community service capacity, and potential. Nursing students with a long-range goal of personally contributing to a nursing scholarship program in the future may also be eligible for a unique nursing scholarship or additional funding.

As is often the case with most scholarships, financial aid may be a consideration. Generally speaking, financial aid is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges may also adhere to internal financial aid criteria and eligibility requirements. Nursing students are encouraged to provide their college with previous tax returns, pay stubs and other financial documents that demonstrate need.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

When seeking nursing scholarships, you might want to apply early to increase your chances of approval. Some scholarships require nomination from a full-time faculty member, so review all the conditions of eligibility before submitting your application. Because the scholarships often require a paper application, an in-person or phone interview, and supporting materials, plan ahead to ensure that neither insufficient time nor lack of resources will stop you from complying with the requirements of the scholarship.

Last-Minute Steps Before Applying for Nursing Scholarships

As with any type of scholarship, you want to submit all materials to the review board on time. Failure to meet a designated due date could result in your application becoming null and void. If possible, have a senior faculty member review your application materials. Ask the person to check for spelling, grammar and typographical mistakes, as well as comprehension of the overall application and any supporting materials provided therein. Nursing scholarships are available to those nursing students willing to do the legwork necessary to find them and the research necessary to know what is required to get them.