How to get grants for nursing school

What is a grant? How will it help me with nursing school?

A grant is free money towards your nursing education. Grants are awarded based on financial need after you’ve completed the FAFSA®. Typically, you do not need to pay a grant back unless you fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress. 

Federal grants, like the ones students get from filing FAFSA®, are given to students who showcase financial need. You qualify for grants by providing financial information for you and your family (if you’re a dependent student) on the FAFSA® application

How will the FAFSA® get me grants for nursing school?

The FAFSA® is available to current and future students participating in undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the United States. It’s a federal government-run program that sets over $150 billion a year aside for student aid. 

The FAFSA® uses student and parent income to determine the student’s financial need. After you file the FAFSA®, you’ll receive your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is what determines your eligibility for federally funded grants, work-study programs, and federal loans. 

The FAFSA is also a great way for schools to see whether or not you need any additional funding from their pool of funds — such as scholarships and institutional grants. 

When it comes to grants for nurses, filing the FAFSA® means you have the potential to be eligible for two specific government grants. As we mentioned before, eligibility depends on your financial need, nursing program, and other factors.

The Pell Grant for nurses

The Pell Grant is a federally funded grant issued to students who show they have financial need. It is awarded to thousands of students annually, most with family incomes that fall below $25,000 a year. It is one of the primary grants available to undergraduate and certificate program students each year. So, it’s perfect for nursing students in the beginning stages of their education. 

The Pell Grant is one of the many reasons why it’s essential to fill out the FAFSA®.

You must stay in good academic standing and be enrolled in nursing school at least part-time (credit hours depending on each school) to maintain your Pell Grant. 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for nurses

Like the Pell Grant, the FSEOG is awarded to students based on financial need. However, in this case, students must showcase exceptional financial need. 

You apply for the FSEOG the same way that you do the Pell Grant, via the online FAFSA® application. Not all schools are given funds for this grant. It’s important to check with your school’s financial aid office to see if this option will be made available to you.

Like many federally awarded funds, FSEOG is limited to the funds a school is allotted each year. So, it’s vital to get your FAFSA® application in early. 

State Grants for nurses

State grants are awarded to nursing students as well. Each state awards grants differently. In some, you may be able to fill out the FAFSA form and be submitted for the various state funding programs. For others, like New York and Texas, you will need to complete another application to qualify for state grants. 

Examples of state grants for nurses include:

  • New York State Tuition Assistance Program: This program awards grant money to New York residents attending an in-state school. Award amounts are based on family or student’s taxable state income. 
  • Wisconsin Higher Education Grant: This grant is available to undergrad and certificate program students who will be in school at least part of the time. 
  • Massachusetts Department of Education: To be eligible for Massachusetts state aid you will need to demonstrate financial need, be enrolled in an undergrad or nursing program full time, and not be in default on student loans. 

To better understand how to apply for state grants, be sure to reach out to the financial aid office at your school and see what additional paperwork you might need to file. 

Nursing Organizations & School Grants for Nursing School

Another way to be eligible for grant money is directly through your school or via various nursing organizations and institutions. Here are some examples of schools and organizations that provide additional grants to students pursuing a career in nursing. 

While most University-related grants are research-based, and not necessarily an option for undergraduate students, for those seeking higher education, it’s great to know they exist. 

  • Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University makes various research grants available to nursing students each year. Students should expect to submit a proposal to the Office of Nursing Research and Scholarships with a budget outlines to be eligible for consideration. 
  • Rush University: This is a dissertation grant to help cover expenses related to nursing research. 
  • Ohio Nurses Foundation: This grant funds registered nurses in Ohio that are working on research projects. Preference is given to students/nurses that are already members of the ONA (Ohio Nurses Association).
  • Florida Nurses Association: The FLA awards grants to nursing students to support nursing education and help nursing students throughout the state. These are given to nursing researchers from specific areas and for those in graduate-level nursing school programs.
  • Allen College: Their New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) grant awards up to $10,000 each to nursing students enrolled in the bachelor’s of Science Nursing program to try and help with the statewide nursing shortage.

Are nursing scholarships also a grant? 

While nursing scholarships and grants are both free money towards nursing school, they are different. With a grant, you usually need to show that you have a financial need to be eligible for them, no matter where they come from. In that case, when you apply for grants, you have to provide you or your family’s financial information to see if you qualify. 

Nursing scholarships are awards you get for any number of reasons. Private organizations, institutions, communities, and schools give out nursing scholarships every year. Each scholarship has a different application process and requires an essay or eligibility submission. While some scholarships can be need-based, many are merit or lifestyle based, meaning you could get a scholarship for being a male nurse or a mom going back to nursing school. 

If you’re hoping to get scholarships in addition to grants, the best way to go about it is to do a scholarship search. With so many scholarships out there, any nursing student that’s looking for a little extra help with school should take the time to search for them. Chances are you can find several nursing scholarships that make sense for your lifestyle. Apply to everyone, even the ones that don’t offer a lot of money (they’re generally less competitive). 

Hopefully, with a little extra research, you’ll have scholarship money in addition to grant money you could be eligible for. 

As you can see, depending on the state and program you decide to attend, there are lots of opportunities to get grant money to help you with your education. As you begin to consider which colleges and universities make the most sense for you and your future, look into the scholarship and grant opportunities they offer. 

Free money for college is the best way to keep yourself from taking out large student loans in the future, which sets you up for better financial wellness.