There is an ever growing demand for more nurses that is not being filled. Since so many areas of the country are lacking the numbers of nurses they need, many government and private grant programs are available to make entry into this field both more attractive and more financially attainable. In addition to scholarships and student loans, these grant programs can bring a nursing education into the reach of many more students. This article outlines some of the basic forms of grants and other assistance that is available to the nursing student.
Federal Grants for Nursing Students
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sponsors a number of programs that can be very helpful to nursing students. Some of these programs are available to students in general and some are targeted specifically at nursing students. With so many areas of the country lacking adequate nursing, there are many programs designed to help financially challenged candidates to receive the help they need to qualify to fill those needs.
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
This program is available to students enrolled in a nursing or health sciences program. This can apply to a wide variety of programs and specialties, such as nursing, veterinary science, dental hygiene social work or occupational therapy. Students will apply through the school's financial aid department.
Nursing Scholarship Program
In exchange for a two year commitment at a high need health care facility, this program administers over 200 scholarship programs for students in an accredited nursing program. These scholarships cover tuition and expenses, as well as $1,316 per month for living expenses.
Nursing Education Loan Repayment
This is a government sponsored repayment plan available to nursing students who will also agree to work at a high need health care facility. In exchange for a two year commitment, this grant will repay 60% of the outstanding loan balance. In exchange for an additional year (a three year commitment), 85% of the loan will be repaid. This grant is geared toward financially disadvantaged students.
Faculty Loan Repayment Program
This program is also available to a wide variety of specialties, such as nursing, veterinary science, dental hygiene social work or occupational therapy. It helps financially disadvantaged faculty members repay outstanding student loans. Concurrent with the high demand for qualified nurses is the need for faculty to train them.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
In return for working in an Indian Health Service facility, this division of the Department of Health and Human Services will repay student loans.
State Funded Grants for Nursing Students
Currently, 38 states have programs to actively support nursing educations. As these programs are constantly evolving, it is vital to check with the particular state for complete details. Currently, nursing schools cannot accept all applicants due to a lack of faculty and facilities. Since many schools are state run institutions, it is imperative that the individual states continue to work to address this lack.
Grants for Minority Nursing Students
As part of the solution to the chronic lack of qualified nurses, programs to reach out to diverse and varied minority groups to draw in qualified candidates. There are programs for Hispanic, African American and Native American students, among others. There are also efforts to draw international nursing students. The goal is to draw students who might otherwise lack the funds for this opportunity.
Professional Grants for Nursing Students
In addition to government sources, there are various professional associations that have grants to draw in greater numbers of students to their particular specialty. Some of the specialties that supply grants are Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Practitioners, Emergency Nurses and Gerontological Nurses. If the student has an interest in a particular specialty, these groups can be another valuable resource. The student should contact any associations related to their field of interest.
Not only are many students struggling with the need to finance a nursing education, many schools are struggling to supply the needed faculty and programs. Because nurses continue to be in high demand, many government and private programs exist to help financially disadvantaged nurses and nursing students. Since the demand for this vital service does not show any sign of diminishing soon, it is likely that many more such programs will be developed, especially on the state level.
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