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Grants and Scholarships Opportunities for FNP Students
A family nurse practitioner (FNP) is required to have at least a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. It is this educational background that can allow them the opportunity to lead a satisfying career of helping others. Even with more affordable online MSN degree programs available, the cost of tuition is still on the rise. Luckily, there are a number of grants and scholarships available specifically for family nurse practitioners. Let’s take a look at some of your financial aid options!
Grants vs. Scholarships
Students who want to become family nurse practitioners have several grant and scholarship options. Unlike taking out a student loan, you do not have to pay back the money you get from a grant or scholarship. Not having to give that money back makes them great financial aid options for students. The organizations that award grants and scholarships do so in-part because they want to contribute to the growing field of nursing and healthcare. While grants and scholarships initially seem as though they could be used interchangeably, they differ in terms of how you get them and who is eligible to receive them.
Grants are typically made available for students through state and federal government, educational, research, or well-fare based organizations. Students apply for grants if they need funding either for themselves or a research project. One of the largest sources of grant money is the federal Pell Grant, which is only available during your undergraduate studies. You apply for the Pell Grant when you complete and submit your FAFSA. The Pell Grant is for individual students in financial need, and does not fund research projects.
As an FNP student in a masters or doctoral degree program, most of the grants that you can apply for come from specific nursing and healthcare organizations. These grants are more common at the doctoral level and are intended to provide at least partial funding for research projects. Many grant-funded, research projects are clinical, technological, educational, or historical studies that are conducted in order to advance the field of nursing and healthcare. Some organizations require (or give preferential consideration) you to be a member in order to apply for their grants.
The following organizations offer a a variety of research grants to advanced nursing students:
- Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing
- American Nurses Foundation (ANF)
- National League for Nursing (NLN)
- American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
- Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN)
You must ensure that your school has approved of your project, and that it meets all of the eligibility criteria listed for each grant prior to applying for it.
Scholarships are awarded for a variety of reasons like financial need, academic achievement, talent, athleticism, community involvement, and more. There are plenty of scholarships available at the undergraduate or graduate level, and they can be offered through individual organizations or your school. If you are interested in a scholarship not offered by your school, it’s important that you research both the scholarship-awarding organization and the scholarship itself to ensure that it is not a scam. You can do this by making sure that the organization is not asking for your money during the scholarship application process, and looking for a history of the company and a list of the previous scholarship winners.
There are a myriad of scholarships specifically for nurses as well. You can win a nursing scholarship based on your academic and/or clinical performance, ethnicity, and/or financial need. Some scholarships are awarded to nursing students based on their contributions to the nursing field through leadership and/or innovation. These organizations provide several legitimate scholarship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate nursing students:
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
- National American Arab Nurses Association
- National Black Nurses Association
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
Your college and local organizations may also have a number of grants and scholarships available for FNP students. You can find out by checking with your school’s financial aid office. The financial aid department may also be able to give you resources that can help you find additional scholarships offered by organizations in your community.
Other Forms of Financial Aid
You can also take out loans if grants and scholarships do not cover all of your tuition expenses. Federal loans and private loans are your two main loan options, and there are several different types of loans that fall under one of those two categories. Private loans come from a third-party, non-governmental organization, and tend to have higher interest rates than federal loans. Due to their higher interest rates, it is wise to avoid taking out private loans if you can.
The different types of federal loans are called subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS, and Perkins. Nurses who have federal loans and work with a specific type of employer for a set number of years may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It is important to note that only federal loans are eligible for this type of loan forgiveness program, and not private loans. There are other loan repayment plans for nurses working in a high-need areas for a certain time frame through the HRSA. You can learn more about your federal financial aid options and loan forgiveness and repayment programs on the Federal Student Aid or the HRSA website.
Tuition Assistance Programs
Many businesses, private and public, also offer tuition assistance for students in the medical field. If you’re currently employed, it’s a good idea to check with your human resources representative to find out if they have a tuition assistance program. However if you are not employed or you’re looking for another job, you may want to find potential employers who can help repay your student loans. To utilize the tuition assistance programs provided by your employer, you may need to sign a contract that requires you to work for them for a specific period of time.
Your education is important, and grants and scholarships can greatly lower the amount of tuition that you would otherwise need to pay through a loan or out-of-pocket. The education you receive as an aspiring FNP can provide you with the foundation you’ll need to help patients improve their lives everyday of your career. Be sure to check out our guide, Average Salary for an FNP, and the rest of our website to learn more about becoming a family nurse practitioner.