Where to get money for advanced nursing degrees

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Corey Fry was a 2010 graduate from the University of California at San Francisco nursing school. The Class of 2010 struggled to find work in an economy that has brightened somewhat but remains bleak

Christmas debt, endless bills, a suffering economy and paying for higher education will stress anyone.  If you know where to look, there is money available to assist with tuition and further your nursing education.  The reality is that nurses are facing this financial hardship many years after becoming a nurse.  Many are raising a family or holding senior positions, yet a higher nursing degree is a common career necessity. Whether for job security, a higher salary, greater nursing knowledge or a career change, colleges are offering RN-to-Master programs, BSN-to-PhD programs and many other fast-paced classes to meet nurses needs.

The Future of Nursing Report: Leading Change, Advancing Health sets a high standard for the educational goals of the nursing profession.  The report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF),states:

“The committee recommends that the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees be increased to 80 percent by 2020. While it anticipates that it will take a few years to build the educational capacity needed to achieve this goal, the com­mittee maintains that it is bold, achievable, and necessary to move the nursing workforce to an expanded set of competencies, especially in the domains of community and public health, leader­ship, systems improvement and change, research, and health policy…. Bridge programs and educational pathways between undergraduate and graduate programs—specifically programs such as LPN-to-BSN, ADN-to-BSN, and ADN-to-MSN—are designed to facilitate academic progression to higher lev­els of education. The ADN-to-MSN program, in particular, is establishing a significant pathway to advanced practice and some faculty positions. Financial support to help build capacity for these programs will be important, including funding for grants and scholarships for nurses wishing to pursue these pathways.”


Funding is available from many sources. The U.S. Government has established the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program to help working nurses to repay student loans.  For a two-year service commitment at an eligible nonprofit facility or as a full-time nurse faculty member at a nursing school, participants can receive 60 percent of their total qualifying loan balance. For an optional third year of service, participants may receive 25 percent of their original total qualifying loan balance.


Many employers are encouraging employees to return to school by paying a percentage of the tuition costs.  Each place of employment will have different funding and scholarships to offer staff.  Speak to your Human Resources department.  Outside scholarships are also awarded by many local, corporate or national groups that support nurses at all entry levels, including male nurses, minorities, and other underrepresented groups.  I conducted an internet search and highlighted a few credible nursing scholarship links not just for traditional college-aged students but for nurses returning for a higher nursing degree.


Help me build to this list if you have become aware of a Nursing Scholarship opportunity!