To become a nurse practitioner, students need at least a master’s degree, which includes first getting a bachelor’s degree and, in some cases, an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. All of that schooling can get expensive, which can be overwhelming to recent high school graduates or those looking to change careers. Few people have that type of money lying around to put towards schooling, and not everyone qualifies for low-interest student loans or college grants.
One option for paying for school is a nurse practitioner scholarship. Because nurses are in high demand, there are many scholarships available. Scholarships are more desirable than loans, since students do not have to pay them back when they graduate. Nurse practitioner scholarships can be based on a student’s academics, personal essays, and proof or talent.
Steps to Finding and Applying for Scholarships
Scholarships and grants are essentially the same thing. They both are money for college that does not have to be repaid after graduation, which is necessary with student loans. Scholarships are typically based on merit, while grants are typically based on financial need, but students can use both kinds of financial assistance to help pay for their education. Below are some helpful steps when finding and applying for scholarships:
- Start by contacting the college you intend to attend – Most colleges offer scholarships to students. Some even offer full rides to students with the highest grades and best SAT scores.
- Contact the nursing department directly and ask about opportunities – Specific programs often have alumni who donate money for scholarship funds based on your course of study.
- Look to your employer for money for school- If you get your associate’s degree or diploma in nursing to become a RN (registered nurse), some employers offer tuition reimbursement and other incentives if you go back to school.
- Look to the United States government as a source for nurse practitioner scholarships- In order to help alleviate the shortage problem, the government offers a number of scholarships and grants every year to deserving students.
- Once you have located a number of scholarships and grants that can help make your education possible, it is time to apply for the money- Each organization has its own procedures, so make sure to read the directions carefully and submit all necessary information.
- You may have to write an application essay, which is common with scholarships- You should ask others to read over your submission to help look for typos and places where the essay could be stronger.
- Make sure you meet deadlines- If you are even one day late with your application; you are likely ineligible for the award.
Helpful Sources to Use When Searching Scholarships
The government offers a number of financial assistance programs for students in all areas of study, so there are several great sources to use when looking for nurse practitioner scholarships and grants. Students can also look to private groups, organizations, and companies for funds for college students. Organizations like the American Nurses Association, American Health Care Association, American Red Cross, National Institute of Nursing Research, and other nursing groups have funds available for aspiring nurse practitioners. In some cases, hospitals and health care organizations offer scholarships as well, depending on your affiliation with them after you graduate. Some groups offering information on scholarships, financial aid and grants for nurses include the following:
- Student Gateway to the U.S. Government: This site provides the U.S. Government’s current information about available scholarships, financial aid and career development. The FAQ section helps students sort through financial aid information to identify potential scholarship opportunities.
- U.S. Department of Education: The Department of Education provides information on various scholarships and financial aid programs. This resource is especially useful when researching state-funded scholarships and grants. Search “scholarships” in the search box to access links to hundreds of different tuition assistance programs as well as unique scholarships opportunities.
- U.S. Department of State: The U.S. Department of State is another credible source for researching scholarships, financial aid, and even student internships.
- Pell Grants: Pell Grants are awarded by the Department of Education to low-income students. Unlike federal loans, Pell Grants do not have to be repaid. These awards are typically given to first-year undergraduate students. Visit their site to learn more about Pell Grants and how to apply.
- Scholarships are available for students with specific backgrounds, academic interests, and admission needs. You never know what you might be eligible for, so make sure expand and broaden your scholarship search.
- Many professional organizations offer scholarships for qualified candidates. The American Marketing Association, The National Society for Accountants, and The Business and Professional Women’s Foundations are just a few of the organizations that help students pay for college.
- Review the list of cost-saving tips from the U.S. Government. This site offers useful strategies on how to search for grants and scholarships. Some of the tips are specific to traditional colleges, much of the information can apply to both online and campus-based students.
- To avoid scholarships scams, visit the below links to confirm that websites are authentic. Applying for scholarships can be confusing at times and it is important to know the warning signs of a potential scam.
In addition to filling out extensive college applications, searching through scholarship information brings another level of commitment and time for prospective students. Prepared with the right tools to conduct a thorough search, you will know how to look and where for tuition assistance. The bottom line is that you should not have to pay a dime out of pocket for your schooling if you want to become a nurse of any kind. Through scholarships, as well as grants and reimbursement programs, your education can be free. Kick off your scholarship application process and see what additional awards you qualify for by requesting information from any of the online colleges listed below.