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Members of underserved groups make up a disproportionately small number of nurses in the profession. While members of underserved groups made up about 40% of the U.S. population in 2019, a 2017 National Nursing Workforce survey indicates that these individuals represent only about 19.2% of registered nurses (RNs).
Many aspiring nurses hesitate to attend school for a variety of reasons, including cost. RNs need either an associate or bachelor's degree to earn licensure, and both degrees can cost tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.
Luckily, a variety of financial aid options cover costs and increase access to potential nurses of color. Many schools and independent organizations sponsor scholarships, including scholarships specifically for students from underserved groups. Professional associations for underserved groups like the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) can also serve as great sources for scholarships for Black nursing students, for example.
Nursing students from underrepresented groups may also enjoy other financial aid options. If they qualify, they can receive federal student loans after filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), apply for grants, and participate in loan forgiveness programs if they choose to work in low-income or high-need communities after graduation.
The following list outlines some scholarships and grants for underserved nursing students.
Scholarships for Black and African American Nursing Students
Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship
Deadline: April 15
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be members of the NBNA. They must be enrolled in a nursing program at any degree level with at least one full year of school remaining. Candidates must also demonstrate scholarship achievement and financial need. Students may apply here.
NBNA Board of Directors Scholarship
Deadline: April 15
Who Can Apply: NBNA members can apply for this scholarship, which rewards undergraduate and graduate nursing students with at least one academic year ahead of them. Find more information about how to apply here.
Black Nurses Rock Scholarship
Deadline: January 15
Who Can Apply: This scholarship funds official members of the Black Nurses Rock organization. Applicants must be enrolled in a nursing program at any level with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They should also participate in student nursing organizations and demonstrate financial need.
Mae & Mary Legacy Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: April 30
Who Can Apply: High school seniors planning to enter the healthcare field may apply for this scholarship if they intend to attend a technical, two-year, or four-year college.
Thomara Latimer Cancer Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: December 29
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to African American students up to 30 years old who live in Michigan. Applicants should be enrolled in a health-related academic program and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Nursing Students
NAHN UnitedHealth Foundation Scholarship
Amount: $5,000 for 3 years
Deadline: April 15
Who Can Apply: Applicants should hold membership with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). They should be enrolled full-time in a nursing program with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The foundation gives preference to applicants who are at least rising sophomores.
Deadline: February 15
Who Can Apply: The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) sponsors awards for graduating high school seniors, undergraduate students and graduate students of Hispanic heritage. High school applicants need a 3.0 GPA or higher, while college students should possess at least a 2.0 GPA. STEM students receive preference.
McDonald's HACER National Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The Hispanic American Commitment to Education Resources (HACER) grants scholarships to college-bound high school seniors with at least one Hispanic parent. Eligible students must demonstrate at least a 2.8 GPA.
Who Can Apply: Latino/a college sophomores and juniors majoring in any field may apply for this scholarship, which is paid out in two installments. Recipients must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0.
Aguilar-Cuellar-Toben (ACT) Research Grant
Who Can Apply: This grant funds Latino Ph.D. in nursing candidates conducting research to improve healthcare for Latinos. Applicants can submit a proposal outlining how they would allocate the funds for their research.
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Scholarships for Native American Nursing Students
Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship
Deadline: Typically around April
Who Can Apply: Applicants must possess at least a 2.0 GPA and study a healthcare-related major. They should also be a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native village planning to work with Native American communities upon graduation.
American Indian Nurse Scholarship
Deadline: Varies by semester
Who Can Apply: Founded in 1928, this scholarship program supports students of American Indian descent studying nursing, pre-med, and other healthcare-related professions. Applicants should hold tribal membership, study at an accredited college or university, and demonstrate financial need. They should also intend to work among other American Indians after graduating.
Udall Undergraduate Scholarship
Amount: Up to $7,000
Deadline: March 2
Who Can Apply: This award is available to Native American and Alaska Native college students in their sophomore or junior year. They must show interest in the healthcare field and plan to positively impact their communities during their careers.
American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship
Deadline: May 31
Who Can Apply: Intended for tribally affiliated American Indian and Alaska Native college students, this scholarship offers funds for any course of study. Applicants should be enrolled full time at an accredited college and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Deadline: March 31
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program funds members of federally recognized tribes enrolled in an accredited college or university. Vocational students can apply with a minimum 2.0 GPA, while undergraduate students should hold a 3.25 GPA and graduate students must demonstrate at least a 3.5 GPA.
Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Nursing Students
Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) General Scholarship Program
Amount: Varies; $2,500 one year to $20,000 over multiple years
Deadline: January 11
Who Can Apply: Applicants should be Asian and/or Pacific Islander, enrolled in an undergraduate program and maintain a minimum 2.7 GPA. This scholarship is for Asian and/or Pacific Islander students pursuing any major, including nursing.
Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association
Who Can Apply: This professional association offers a scholarship for members enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate nursing program. Candidates must possess a minimum 3.5 GPA and submit a personal essay and two letters of recommendation.
U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Scholarship
Deadline: May 15
Who Can Apply: High school seniors of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage may apply for this award. To be eligible, candidates should hold a 3.3 GPA or better, show leadership initiative and extracurricular involvement, and plan to enroll full time at an accredited college or university the following year. Applicants should also demonstrate financial need.
Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship
Deadline: May 31
Who Can Apply: Open to all majors, this scholarship funds college seniors and graduate students who have demonstrated leadership in the Asian community. Applicants must possess a minimum 3.3 GPA and be of at least 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity.
Asian Pacific Community Fund Chen Foundation Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: This foundation partners with multiple organizations to offer various scholarships for Asian/Pacific Islander students. Scholarship opportunities change frequently, and students should check the website for updates.
Scholarships for Undocumented Nursing Students
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program
Amount: Up to $40,000
Deadline: November 14
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be high school graduates with a 3.5 GPA or higher and standardized test scores in the top 15%. Applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens, but they should demonstrate financial need.
Chicano Organizing and Research in Education Que Llueva Cafe
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is specifically for undocumented high school graduates or GED certificate-holders planning to attend college. The scholarship committee evaluates' applicants' personal stories, extracurricular involvement, and academic promise.
Amount: Up to $80,000
Who Can Apply: DREAMERS, or students with DACA status, may apply for this scholarship if they moved to the U.S. before November 1, 2015. The scholarship program offers two awards: one for high school and community college graduates, with scholarships up to $16,500 for associate degrees and $33,000 for bachelor's degrees. High school graduates who live in states that do not offer in-state tuition for DACA recipients may apply to the second scholarship, which can cover up to $80,000 in tuition and other college-related expenses.
Esperanza Educational Fund Scholarship
Deadline: June 1
Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports immigrants or students with two immigrant parents. Applicants may qualify if they are graduating seniors or recent GED graduates from Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. Their annual family income must not exceed $100,000, and they should plan to enroll full time at an accredited public college or university.
Royal Prestige Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Hispanic students, including individuals with DACA status, may apply for this scholarship. They should possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and be enrolled full time at a college or university. Applicants should also be a Royal Prestige distributor or customer.
Types of Funding Available for Nursing Students
In addition to scholarships and grants for marginalized nursing students, candidates may also apply for general scholarships. These awards usually require students to possess a high GPA, participate in extracurricular activities, show their dedication to promoting health and the nursing profession, and demonstrate financial need.
If you want to find even more nursing scholarships, check out this guide. This resource lists financial awards for everyone, from graduating high school seniors to Ph.D. candidates.
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