How to Find Scholarships as a Nursing Student

A guide to seeking out scholarship opportunities specifically geared towards nursing students

Nursing is a solid career choice for those looking to help others through their work, but completing the education necessary to become a registered nurse takes time, and can cost a pretty penny. One of the best ways to decrease your nursing school costs is by searching for and applying to nursing-specific scholarships. Using our guide, you’ll be well on your way to earning funds that will directly lower your educational costs.

Nurse taking patient's blood pressure
The road to becoming a nurse is long, but the path to paying off student debt doesn’t have to be. Make sure to apply to every type of aid and loans that you are eligible for or need in order to be able to attend school.

What Type of Aid is Available to Nursing Students?

Find out what aid is available to you in order to make the best decisions when paying for school

Applying for financial aid is step one when considering how to pay for higher education, and every nursing student should start their financial aid search by applying to FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This application bases aid you receive from the government off of your household’s income, determining whether or not you might be eligible for state grants, loans, and work studies. You should update your FAFSA every year that you attend school in order to keep receiving aid.

In addition to FAFSA, be sure to take advantage of subsidized and unsubsidized loans if you qualify, as they can act as a great tool to minimize debt and allow you to only start paying them off after you’ve finished your degree. If you’re still looking for ways to pay for school after applying to FAFSA and applying to scholarships, you might opt for private loans. It’s worthwhile to do some in-depth research before choosing what loans you take out, but to get started, here’s a list of some reputable places to apply for private loans for nursing school.

While loans are typically thought as a go-to option to many students, you can start to minimize your educational costs by applying to scholarships. Scholarships provide grants, which (unlike loans) do not have to be paid back, and can help to make a huge dent in tuition and other academic costs. So before you resort to taking out enormous student loans, consider taking some time to explore and apply to nursing-specific scholarships, starting with our list of opportunities below.

Nurse working on tablet
Never stop searching for scholarship opportunities! You’re eligible for scholarships throughout your time in school and should take advantage of the plethora of scholarships available regardless if you’re just starting your nursing program.

Scholarships Resources for Nursing Students

Places you can start your search towards funding your education

It can be overwhelming, annoying, and difficult to find reputable scholarships online that match your criteria and have awards in the amount you’re searching for, but there are multiple sites out there that have a good chance of helping you find the scholarship of your dreams if you put in a little time and effort scrolling through them. For our full guide on exploring the world of scholarships and some of the better resources out there, check out our extensive guide on scholarships.

To summarize that guide, some great places to start your search for free money are through College Board, Niche, and Fastweb. These sites make it easy to search for exactly the type of scholarship you’re looking for, and they filter out scholarships based on your eligibility and merit. From these websites and more, here are some of the best scholarships specifically aimed towards nursing students:

American Red Cross Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship:

Jane Delano’s scholarship, dedicated to the organizer of the Red Cross Nursing Service that recruited over 20,000 nurses for World War II, is open to all nursing students who have volunteered with or are an employee of an American Red Cross unit. The scholarship is open to both undergraduate and graduate nursing students and rewards recipients with $3,000 to go towards tuition, books, and academic fees.

Beta Mu Chapter of Lambda Pi Alpha Sorority Scholarship:

This scholarship, intended for sorors of Lambda Pi Alpha sororities across Illinois, is open for both undergraduates and graduate students to apply to if pursuing a degree from a  B.S.N. or A.D.N. program. The scholarship provides recipients with a one-time award of $1,500, but requires applicants to submit proof of completing 20 hours of community service and the maintenance of at least a 3.0 GPA.

Dr. Francis Anthony Beneventi Medical Scholarship:

The Beneventi scholarship is aimed towards students attending or planning to attend a medical school, college, or university. One student will receive the one-time reward of $5,000, but students who have previously applied to the scholarship can apply again for subsequent years. The scholarship seeks applicants who have maintained a GPA of 3.25. Note that this scholarship is open to all students who are pursuing a degree in medicine, aside from those pursuing programs such as  pre-med, physician assistant, and veterinary studies.

Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship:

Created to assist three students who are in need of financial assistance and are pursuing a nursing degree, this scholarship provides a one-time award of $2,500. To apply, students must submit either a letter of acceptance into a nursing program or an official transcript from the program that they are enrolled in.

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship:

With an application deadline that goes far into the summer, this scholarship is open to students pursuing degrees in the healthcare field and have a year or more left to their undergraduate studies. Proof of enrollment into a nursing program is necessary in order to be considered for this scholarship. Ten students are chosen each year to receive a one-time award of $10,000 to go towards educational costs, and 25 students will receive a $5,000 award. Selections for the scholarship are based off of college GPA, academic records, community involvement or volunteer service, and essay responses.

Niche Nursing Scholarship:

Advertised as a scholarship open to all students interested or enrolled in a post-secondary school nursing program, this opportunity awards one recipient with a scholarship in the amount of $500. To enter for a chance to be selected for this scholarship, all students must make an account on and fill out a short form that requires basic information. The winner is chosen randomly from the pool of applicants.

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship:

This scholarship provides $5,000 awards to two of the top nursing applicants, and a new pair of recipients is chosen four times each year. To apply, students must submit proof of maintaining at least a 3.2 GPA in either their current program or the last school that they attended. Recipients must be either admitted or enrolled in a program that is an AACN member institution affiliated with CastleBranch or submitted their application through NursingCAS.

Nurse writing on paper on clipboard
Always make sure to read the requirements of scholarship applications carefully -- incomplete applications will not be considered by most scholarship opportunities.

Alternative Ways of Paying for Nursing School

If scholarships and loans aren’t quite cutting it, here are some ways to cut education costs almost entirely

Even with the help of scholarships, financing higher education of any type can be a challenge. There are a handful of opportunities that almost completely eliminate the cost of nursing school, but they come with a couple of important requirements and conditions.

While technically still considered a nursing school scholarship, joining NURSE Corps is an opportunity that pays for nursing students’ tuition fees, textbooks, uniforms, clinical supplies, and provides a monthly stipend with the requirement that graduates work in a critical shortage facility after they complete their degree. A CSF is a facility that is in desperate need of nurses. This is a great opportunity if you’ve attempted to pay for schooling through scholarships and loans but are still searching for more funding.

Another opportunity for those looking to have almost all of their education expenses covered for and be provided with a competitive job upon graduation is by joining the Army Nurses Corps by enlisting in the U.S. Army. While this option requires an enormous commitment, it can be worth it to nursing students who are struggling to fund their education or are simply interested in that line of work. It’s a great option to consider as a nursing student regardless of your financial situation, but it can be a life-changing decision for many.

Graduate throwing confetti
If you aren’t chosen as a recipient for a scholarship you applied to, don’t give up! Your chances of winning a scholarship increase as you apply to more, so apply away!

If you’re struggling to pay for nursing school, know that you are not alone. Paying for any and all education expenses can be a daunting task, but with the help of scholarships, some of the stress from those expenses can be alleviated.

Allaina Wagner
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