Tips on Getting Nursing Scholarships and Grants
If you're interested in pursuing an education in nursing but are having trouble coming up the
money to pay for tuition, start by looking into the possibility of obtaining one of many
nursing scholarships and grants. For nursing students who are struggling financially,
these programs can help ease the transition into their new career.
How to Find Nursing Scholarships and
The primary question asked by prospective nurses in need of financial aid is where to find
information on nursing scholarships and grants. Believe it or not, this is the easy part!
Offered by federal, state, local, and private funders, nursing scholarships and grants are available for every
type of nursing degree, from nurse's aide and LPN to RN and BSN degrees.
If you've already chosen a nursing school or program, the best place to start is with your
school's grants and scholarships department. A guidance counselor or scholarship director can usually tell you
about dozens of financial aid opportunities that may be applicable to your situation, particularly those that
apply to the program and school you've chosen. Some will be based on a personal essay or previous academic
marks, while others (especially grants) base their qualifications purely on financial need.
Once you've learned about the scholarships that are available for your particular program, you
can take it a step further and learn more about the hundreds of local, state, and federal nursing grants that
can be obtained through the Internet. There are many websites that publish lists of dozens of nursing grants and
scholarships, many of which your school may not know about.
Avoiding Scholarship Scams
The trouble with online listings – and any scholarship source that does not come directly from
your school's financial aid office – is that some of the advertised opportunities may be scams. Although you
shouldn’t let the potential risk dissuade you from pursuing scholarships, you should exercise caution and do
your research before applying.
- Be wary of scholarships that require an application fee. Some legitimate scholarships may
charge up to $5 to cover mail costs and processing, but anything more expensive than this should be a red
flag for a potential scam.
- All legitimate scholarships are publicly advertised for free. Any scholarship that
requires you to pay for application information is likely a scam. Along those same lines, any scholarship
that forces you to set an appointment at a hotel or meeting hall to pick up information is most likely a
bogus organization that will attempt to sell you something.
- No reputable scholarship should ever ask for your banking or credit card
- No real scholarship program can guarantee that you will win or receive financial aid, or
offer a scholarship based on no work at all. Don't be taken in by promises that seem too good to be
Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay
While grants are usually offered based on financial need, most scholarships require a written
essay or short answers to essay-type questions as part of the judging criteria. The following tips can help you
complete a winning scholarship application:
- Plan your essay in advance and edit your answers carefully before sending in the
- Ask a friend or teacher to proofread your essay or answers for proper spelling and
- Be as honest and thoughtful as you can when providing your answers.
- Be creative and unique—winning essays are the ones that stand out from the crowd.
- Write an essay that is appropriate to your audience and the goals of the scholarship
With a bit of careful research and the appropriate time spent making your essay the best it
can be, it may be easier than you think to finance your nursing education with grants and scholarships.
See Grant Writing Handbook for Nurses for additional tips on getting a nursing grant.
If you plan on a long term career in the health field, and are thinking beyond an LPN certification,
your first consideration might be the LPN to RN career path.
Return to the home page for more general information on LPNs.