Registered nurses are on the front lines of healthcare, working in every capacity you might imagine, from the maternity ward to the ICU, and from city hospitals to rural clinics. The value of RNs has never been in question, but it’s become even more apparent with the arrival of COVID-19 and their critical role dealing with the increased burden on our hospitals. This value is translating into high job demand, with over 210,000 job openings expected each year, on average, through 2028.
To make sure the demand is met, it’s important for RN students to get all the financial, academic and career support they need throughout their college years and as they embark on their new career. This guide directly helps with that goal by providing a wealth of information on scholarships, grants, academic and career resources, and networking opportunities. Keep reading to see where to get the help you deserve as an RN student.
Scholarships and Grants for Registered Nursing (RN) Students
There’s no doubt that college is expensive, and nursing school is no exception. You might look at the tuition and fees for a particular school and start reeling from sticker shock – you might even think that your dream of becoming a registered nurse is out of reach. The good news is that scholarships and grants are widely available for RN students. These scholarships and grants are offered by a variety of sources, from state organizations to local businesses to large national corporations, and even from healthcare systems or colleges themselves. Let’s take a look at where you can get the help you deserve paying for nursing school.
School-based Scholarships in Registered Nursing
Colleges and universities with bigger nursing or medical programs often provide valuable scholarship opportunities for standout students who are accepted to that school. These are actually some of the best opportunities a student can find, as the funds tend to be generous and the scholarships are often easier to obtain compared to national scholarships. To find these school scholarships, try contacting the school’s financial aid office, the director of the RN program, or simply look at the school’s nursing program website to see what’s available. Let’s take a look at a few examples of schools that offer valuable scholarships for those enrolled in their RN programs.
Chamberlain University offers a generous number of scholarships, and some are earmarked specifically for students in various nursing programs within the university. For instance, the Chamberlain Opportunity Scholarship is for pre-licensure BSN students, while the Continuing Education Scholarship is for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and are now accepted into a pre-licensure program. Scholarships are available for both graduate and undergraduate students; information on both can be found on Chamberlain’s scholarships and grants webpage. Here’s an example:
$2,500 per semester
Based on enrollment semester (annual)
You must be a new Chamberlain University student previously enrolled in an accredited bachelor of nursing program at another institution, with a minimum 2.8 GPA on a 4.0 scale, as well as a minimum score of 75 on the A2.
How to Apply
Speak to the student support advisor for details on exact requirements.
Ramapo College of New Jersey offers a variety of scholarships to students currently enrolled or accepted into the school, including some quite prestigious ones, like the Russell Berrie Nursing Scholarship. Scholarships are available for students in all departments, incoming students, transfer students, and general scholarships designed to help those with financial need or exceptional merit. To learn more about the scholarships available across campus, visit the scholarships page at the school website.
Russell Berrie Nursing Scholarship
Nominated by faculty and staff (annual)
You must be a senior nursing student ranked in the top 25% of the Peer Evaluation Survey, show clinical competence and demonstrate community service, and meet other requirements.
How to Apply
Students must be nominated by faculty and staff for this award.
National and Regional Scholarships for Registered Nursing Students
In addition to being U.S. citizens, applicants must be accepted into an accredited nursing program.
How to Apply
Students must go online to access the application materials.
Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN)
To apply, individuals must be in an accredited nursing program that will lead to an RN degree and demonstrate an interest in perioperative or surgical nursing.
How to Apply
Go to the AORN website to get a copy of the application and provide accompanying documents, such as transcripts, resume and personal statements.
3/31/2020, 6/30/2020, 9/30/2020, 12/31/2020 (annual, with four deadlines each quarter)
Applicants must be enrolled in an AACN member institution and working toward a degree in nursing.
How to Apply
To access the online application, create an online account with AfterCollege, Inc.
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN)
Applicants need to be members of the ARN, completed at least one class in a bachelor of science in nursing program, and have at least two years of experience in the rehabilitation nursing field.
How to Apply
Download the application from the ARN website and submit via email.
Full-time, non-traditional students seeking an undergraduate nursing degree may apply.
How to Apply
A copy of the application may be downloaded from the B4 Brands website. The application and supporting materials may be submitted via mail or email.
Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
Student must be an active ENA member, be currently attending an ACEN or CCNE accredited institution, and obtain two letters of recommendation.
How to Apply
All applications must be completed online from the ENA website.
The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc. (FNSNA)
Eligibility requirements include enrollment in a state-approved nursing program, including RN to BSN, RN to MSN, and LPN/LVN to RN completion programs.
How to Apply
The application will become available online in the September before the January deadline.
CastleBranch and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
1/31/2020, 4/30/2020, 7/30/2020, 10/31/2020 (annual, with four deadlines each quarter)
Applicants must be enrolled in an AACN member institution affiliated with CastleBranch and have at least a 3.2 GPA in a current or most recent academic program.
How to Apply
The application is available on AACN’s website.
International Order of the King’s Daughters and Sons
This scholarship is open to a variety of students seeking a career in healthcare. Interested nursing students must be at least halfway done with their nursing degree to apply.
How to Apply
Send an email to the Health Careers Scholarship Director to request an application.
Hurst Review Services and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
1/15/2020 and 7/15/2020 (annual)
Applicants must be enrolled in an AACN member schools in a pre-licensure nursing program.
How to Apply
Apply online at Hurst Review Services’ website.
Applicant must be a nursing student with a disability or medical challenge.
How to Apply
Download and print out a PDF application and submit it via mail.
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
Applicants must be enrolled or accepted into an accredited nursing program and have a mother, step-mother, or mother who is a current member of the DAR.
How to Apply
Use the online application located at the DAR website.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Varies, but covers all tuition, fees, and other educational costs
Applicants are eligible if they are U.S. citizens or have lawful permanent resident status, have no overdue federal debts, and are enrolled in a professional, accredited nursing degree program.
How to Apply
The application may be completed through the Bureau Health Workforces Customer Service Portal.
Kentucky Board of Nursing
Applicant must be a Kentucky resident and attend an approved nursing program. Upon graduating, the individual must work full-time in Kentucky for one year for each academic year they received this scholarship.
How to Apply
Download and print the PDF application from the Kentucky Board of Nursing’s website, then mail it in.
Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA)
Applicants must be a registered nursing enrolled in a BSN, MSN, or PhD program. Membership in the SGNA is also required.
How to Apply
Download and complete the application and submit via fax or email.
5 Keys to Landing Your Registered Nursing Scholarship
Scholarships are an incredible way to get through school with little to no debt. But the best ones are highly competitive, with a large number of applicants. With that kind of competition, you get only one shot to impress the decision makers. Here are a few tips to help ensure you get their attention.
- Key #1: Beef up your presence in the field.
Scholarship committees like to see that someone is very serious about working in the healthcare field. Therefore, aspiring RNs should take on internships, volunteer work, and employment that showcase their desire to work in the field.
- Key #2: Go local.
Though the big national scholarships are always a huge draw, don’t forget the local ones, as they will have less competition. Search out scholarships offered by businesses, community hospitals, and government entities right there in your hometown.
- Key #3: Revise that essay.
Thinking your essay is “good enough” is not good enough. Let other people read it. Ask for their advice. Find someone with great writing and editing skills and ask them to help you make it better. This part of the scholarship can often make or break your shot at the award.
- Key #4: Pay close attention to deadlines.
Don’t plan on getting your completed application and/or essay to the committee on the due date; plan to have it in well before. This is especially true for scholarships awarded on a rolling basis.
- Key #5: Don’t just look for RN scholarships.
Though there are dozens of scholarships out there dedicated to RNs, remember that general scholarships and scholarships based on demographic or another qualification can be just as valuable. Apply to those targeted for RNs first, but throw in some applications for other scholarships as well.
If You Still Need Help Paying for Nursing School
Sometimes scholarships and grants just aren’t enough. When that happens, it’s time to think outside the box. Student loans are an option, and fortunately, some of them don’t accrue interest or require payments as long as you’re a full-time student. In addition, some loan forgiveness programs target nurses who choose to work in underserved or rural areas upon graduation.
Employment tuition reimbursement – when an employer pays for you to go to school in exchange for your promise to work for them for a certain period of time – is also a great option for those who have generous employers and intend to stay awhile. Work-study is also an option in some schools, especially if a student is attending on-campus. Ready to learn more about these options? Check out EduMed’s financial aid page and guide on student loans.
Academic and Professional Support Resources for Registered Nursing Students
Like any student, registered nursing students can greatly benefit from outside support to get through the challenging years of college – so building up a good set of resources is always a great idea. As an added bonus, the knowledge and connections you gain through these resources college years can put you ahead of the game as you begin your RN career and advance it in the coming years. Here are some great places to get started in finding support as an RN student.
Registered Nursing Student Support Centers and Services
Whether you’re a freshman trying to get your bearings, looking for a tutor to help with a tough class, or in need of something else entirely, student support centers at your college or university can connect you to the places, people, and resources you need to succeed. And while all schools offer valuable student services, some truly shine when it comes to supporting nursing students. Let’s take a closer look at two nursing schools that offer standout support for their students.
East Carolina University
Student support services at East Carolina University’s School of Nursing provide assistance for both prospective and current students. A few examples of that assistance includes management of the admissions process, tracking clinical compliance, facilitating testing accommodations, coordinating graduation requirements, and providing faculty and staff with the tools they need to better assist nursing students under their guidance. In addition, the College of Nursing Student Advising Center can help students with a wider variety of academic issues. Visit the Student Services and Academic Advising page to learn more.
The Rutgers School of Nursing offers robust support for students in the nursing programs, including academic tutoring and advising, a writing center for help with important papers, counseling and health services to help ensure students are in their best shape physically and mentally, assistance with clinical placement, and career development resources. Since COVID-19 has driven many of the courses online, the school has adapted their nursing support to include student computing help, a Student Engagement Support team to address questions or concerns, and virtual help through the Office of Academic Success. To learn more, visit Student Support at the Rutgers School of Nursing.
Resources for Online Registered Nursing Students
As online and hybrid learning becomes more popular, more resources are popping up designed to help aspiring registered nurses handle a different type of learning. Though hands-on training will still be required in an RN program, students can rest assured that these resources can help them handle the online or hybrid elements of their educational journey.
- Health Sciences Digital Library at Michigan State University
This library through MSU offers a wealth of information, videos, tutorials, and more to help online students keep up with nursing coursework. Though some are available only to MSU students, much of what you’ll find here is open to the public.
- Learning Nurse
This site offers tutorials, sample exams, medical dictionaries, apps, videos, and much more. It’s designed to supplement the learning nurses are already doing in their programs, which makes it a boon for those who are in online courses and need a little help.
- Medline Plus Health Videos
Need to envision what you’re learning about in online courses? These videos can help you see the most common issues patients may face, as well as how those issues affect the bodily organs and function.
- Understanding Clinicals and Fieldwork in Online Nursing Programs
How does hands-on training work when a student takes an online nursing program? This page walks you through the process, offers advice on finding the right placement, and takes the mystery out of handling hands-on work while being an online student.
Student Organizations and Professional Associations
- The American Association for Men in Nursing
Men often find themselves as a tiny minority in nursing school, and as such, might seek out extra help for their educational pursuit. This website is dedicated to those men who pursue nursing, from being a student to being a graduate and well beyond.
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Those interested in learning more about accreditation, why it matters, and where to find an accredited school or program can turn to this website. There’s also information on policy and advocacy for nurses that can be helpful for students and graduates.
- National Black Nurses Association, Inc.
This site offers support and encouragement to nurses of color, as well as those who are still in the middle of their college education. Membership includes an opportunity to use job resources, visit the national conference, look into policy and programs, and more.
- National Student Nurses’ Association
Student nurses at any level of study can find the NSNA helpful. Membership includes annual meetings, publications pertinent to nursing students, a robust career center, and more. A summer leadership conference provides a helpful way to network and learn.
- Sigma Theta Tau
This honor society for nurses helps students throughout their college years, especially with resources, locating a job, and networking with the Sigma graduates. Students can look to their local chapter for membership rules and requirements.
Online Communities, Networking Sites, and Other Social Groups
- All Nurses: Nursing Students
The popular forum for nurses has a section dedicated to nursing students. This section includes a very active forum where students can garner advice, tips, tricks, and hope for their nursing school journey. Take the time to explore other areas of the nursing forum for a well-rounded view of the profession.
- Nursing Students Facebook Group
This group is dedicated to nursing students who want to stay up-to-date on new trends, stories about nurses, what to expect from exams and certain courses taken in school, a support system of other students, and more.
- Student Nurse Reddit Community
This robust, fast-moving community on Reddit brings together student nurses at all stages, from those just looking into the possibilities to graduates ready to offer advice to those who are just starting out. As with many other Reddit communities, students can find solid support here.
- Student Nurses Facebook Group
Regular postings in this helpful Facebook group focus on day-to-day happenings in the nursing world, as well as subjects that are of interest to those in nursing school.
- Nursing School on Instagram
This Instagram account is a treasure for nursing students who need a little humor and support to get them through the rough times during nursing school. Filled with pictures, memes, and quotes to make you chuckle, this page is a must-have for those who are at their wits’ end.
Articles, Videos, and Podcasts
- 7 Nursing School Interview Questions with Expert Answers
This blog article focuses on the tough interview questions a student might face when getting into nursing school, and how best to answer them.
- Beginner’s Guide to the NCLEX: Your First Step to Acing the Exam
This guide to the NCLEX provides all the information a student needs to get a handle on what the test will entail, tips on how to pass it, study materials that work, and even advice from a registered nurse who has aced the exam.
- The Definitive Guide to Surviving Nursing School
From tips for success to a list of reasons not to give up, this guide to getting through nursing school includes information on exam prep, managing coursework, handling stress, advice from an expert, and more.
- Good Nurse Bad Nurse Podcast
This podcast opens the door to nursing practice and the greater social, economic, and cultural issues that surround it. Each podcast includes a feel-good story that emphasizes the wonderful rewards of nursing, as well as a story that shows the darker side of the profession.
- Johnson & Johnson Nursing
Those who aren’t sure about their career path after nursing school can turn to this comprehensive resource, which provides a wealth of information on different paths in nursing, new innovations in nursing, a monthly news digest, and more.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Video Library
These videos are helpful to aspiring nurses, current nursing students, and licensed nurses. They cover a wide range of topics that help nurses be fully prepared for their educational or nursing career.