Nursing is a respected and rewarding career; you are helping needy people. It is also a secure career, since there are always people who need help. It is possible to begin nursing with a certificate, a two-year degree, or even progress to a four year degree. The more education you have, the more opportunities you are qualified for, and the higher your earning potential. Unfortunately, college is becoming more expensive, and if you are not working at the same time, you must often dig for new resources.
Nurses are in high demand; everyone from hospitals to retirement homes to special ed schools need nurses, and so there is ample funding for those who choose this smart career. The government is interested in more nurses as baby boomers retire, so the fed is willing to shell out a lot of benefits for those who choose wisely. The most prominent is the Nursing Scholarship Program, operated by the Health Resources and Services Administration. The applicant binds him or herself to serve at an institution facing a critical shortage of nurses, but in exchange for this receives full funding for their education as a nurse. The requirements are that you are enrolled in a nursing program at a credited school, and have financial need. In 2010, 458 applicants were accepted into this program. Federal Nursing Scholarships are little longer process, so you always start 6 months prior to apply.
Other awards include the standard Pell Grant and the Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students. The first is actually the Pell Grant and Federal Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (FSOEG). Any undergraduate student who fills out a FAFSA application is automatically considered for both scholarships, and awards can be up to five thousand a year per program. The criterion is primarily economic need; if your family has a considerable income and the student is young and a dependent, then they many not receive a reward. FAFSA aid also applies to undergraduates; if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you typically do not qualify for these awards.
The Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) is another program awarded by the HRSA. It is given to full-time students enrolled in a health-care related program who are from an impoverished background. It is given selectively, and students can find out if they are qualified through their school financial aide office. Just remember, if you are forced to take out a loan, nursing is an investment which will pay you back many times over.
View complete list of scholarships for nursing students and nurses here.