Financial Aid for Military and Veterans
If you are a veteran or service member interested in becoming a nurse, check out this guide to financial aid for service members and veterans, including a list of the best military scholarships for nursing students.
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Military members and veterans can choose from a myriad of financial aid opportunities to help fund their studies. In 2018, 893,725 veterans or their families and dependents received some kind of educational assistance. There are also many nursing scholarships available to the general public.
There are many reasons some veterans pursue a nursing career, including the desire to continue serving others, positive experiences with nurses during their military service, or wanting a job that offers a variety of career options. This guide explores military scholarships for nursing students, including veterans administration nursing scholarships, and how to apply for them.
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Financial Aid Programs for Military and Veterans
The Montgomery GI Bill®
The Montgomery GI Bill (MBIB-AD) was the first legislation to provide veterans with educational stipends. Available to active duty and selected reserve military members who pay into the program for one year, the bill features an optional Buy-Up Program to increase benefits. Students directly receive stipends, rather than institutions. Participants usually have 10 years to use their MGIB-AD benefits.
Recipients secure coverage for 36 months of education in approved on-campus or online degree-granting programs, vocational training, apprenticeships, or programs in entrepreneurship or high-tech fields. Participants receive funding only for approved programs to ensure that a potential school or program qualifies before you enroll using the GI Bill Comparison Tool. This bill also covers certain licensing or certification exams.
Veterans who entered active duty after June 30, 1985, with at least two years of unbroken service and an honorable discharge may apply. Eligibility differs for active-duty service members who enlisted before 1977 and reservists.
How to Apply
Each candidate must complete the Application for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Educational Benefits online or at a Veterans Affairs (VA) service center. The decision to use the Montgomery GI Bill is irrevocable, so veterans should carefully review their options.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill expands benefits for veterans, who can transfer benefits to their dependents, and military spouses, who receive access to educational funding. The program pays tuition costs directly to institutions and pays veterans a stipend for books and housing. Recipients must verify their enrollment on a monthly basis.
Students receive financial coverage for 36 months in on-campus or online programs, stipends for books and supplies, and monthly housing payments. Vocational, technical, and on-the-job training programs are also covered. While the program pays all costs in full for public in-state schools, expenses for private or foreign institutions are subject to a cap.
Military personnel who have completed 90 days of active-duty service since Sept. 10, 2001, and veterans with 30 days of active-duty service with an honorable discharge, a Purple Heart, or service-connected disability may apply. If your service ended before January 1, 2013, your eligibility expires 15 years after you left the military. If your service ended after that date, your benefits do not expire.
How to Apply
Applicants must complete VA Form 22-1990 online, by mail, or at a VA service center. Veterans can request assistance from service officers to review their options and complete the paperwork.
Yellow Ribbon Program
Part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, this agreement between the VA and participating institutions matches funds for veterans attending private or out-of-state schools. Students must enroll at an approved degree-granting institution that agrees to provide a set number of scholarships each year.
This program pays for tuition and fees that Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits do not cover, such as private and out-of-state tuition costs. Students must meet the same eligibility requirements as the GI Bill. The participant's school, rather than the military or VA, decides how much funding the student receives.
This opportunity is exclusively for veterans who receive the maximum amount of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Each candidate must attend an approved school. Spouses, dependents, and active-duty military are not eligible, even if benefits transfer, although spouses may qualify to use an eligible military member's transferred benefits starting August 1, 2022.
How to Apply
Participating institutions maintain distinct application requirements. Candidates typically apply with their VA Certificate of Eligibility. Schools promote their participation status, and the VA website includes a list of approved programs.
National Call to Service
The Department of Defense uses this incentive program to encourage national service and attract top talent to special occupational fields. The initiative is not part of the GI Bill, and participants do not become eligible for full GI Bill benefits unless they re-enlist. Prospective military nurses can also apply for aid.
Each enrollee receives their choice of a $5,000 signing bonus, up to $18,000 in qualified student loan repayment, or a partial allowance under the Montgomery GI Bill.
Eligible military personnel must serve in specific occupations in the Reserve, AmeriCorps, or active duty for 15 months, with an additional unbroken period of active-duty service. You can review the qualification details online.
How to Apply
Interested participants should contact recruiters to see if they qualify and complete VA Form 22-1990N (Application for VA Education Benefits Under the National Call to Service Program).
Survivors' and Dependents' Education Assistance
Also called Chapter 35, this education assistance program benefits the dependents of veterans with permanent, service-connected disabilities and the dependents of service members who died while on active duty. The program offers funding to help spouses and dependent survivors achieve their career goals.
Recipients get a monthly stipend of up to $1,021 for educational programs at approved degree-granting institutions, technical schools, or on-the-job training for a maximum of 45 months. Apprenticeships receive a maximum of $745 during the first six months of training and less after that period.
This initiative supports spouses and dependents of veterans with total and permanent disabilities related to their service, in addition to spouses and dependents of military personnel who died due to disability, while on active duty, or those who are missing in action.
How to Apply
Contact the VA to confirm that your program is eligible and complete VA Form 22-5490, Dependents Application for VA Educational Benefits. Students already enrolled in a program should send the form to their school.
ROTC Nursing Programs
Army ROTC Nursing
The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a college elective program available at over 1,100 schools. Developed to prepare students for enlistment as officers, the curriculum teaches leadership and military skills. Participants complete training throughout their college careers, and graduates commit to four years of service in the Army.
The ROTC nurse training program offers practical learning experiences and military nursing scholarships, along with individualized mentoring and job preparation. The summer curriculum introduces cadets to the Army Medical Department and army nurse corps officers' duties. Students acquire practical and problem-solving skills during the paid, three-week clinical experience.
Nursing students qualify for the ROTC's competitive scholarships during all four years of their undergraduate studies. Awards cover full tuition, a stipend for books, and a $300-$500 living allowance.
The ROTC grants scholarships based on the candidate's current degree standing. Each recipient must be 17-26 years old, meet physical standards, hold a 2.5 high school GPA, demonstrate a minimum 1000 SAT score, and agree to serve in the U.S. Army or Reserves.
Navy ROTC Nursing
The Navy ROTC nursing program lets candidates enlist as commissioned officers in the Navy Nurse Corps while earning a bachelor of science in nursing at approved schools with a Navy ROTC affiliation. Participants are known as midshipmen.
Midshipmen complete courses in naval science, maritime affairs, and leadership. During the summer, participants undergo 2-4 weeks of drill instruction and training. Graduates must serve at least four years of active duty in the Navy Nurse Corps.
The Navy nursing scholarship covers full tuition and fees, and includes a book stipend and a monthly living allowance. Recipients get Navy uniforms and textbooks and participate in three summer cruises. Navy ROTC nursing students learn technical skills in hospital and clinical settings.
Navy nurses work in the field, on ships, and in hospitals with service members, their families, and civilians around the world. Nurses can specialize in fields such as radiology or physical therapy.
Applicants must attend an approved school and be between 17-27 years old, with no criminal record or disqualifying moral obligations. Midshipmen must meet physical standards and medical qualifications.
Military Nursing Corps
Air Force Nursing
The Air Force Nursing Corps provides airmen and their families with medical services in clinical, hospital, and field settings. Air Force nurses often work in state-of-the-art facilities on base, or in evacuation units.
As commissioned officers, nurses with specialties enjoy higher pay and more benefits. The Air Force offers advanced training and career development opportunities that can lead to rewarding jobs in both military and civilian settings.
Nurses may receive specialized training at the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills, or in expeditionary medical support, epidemiology, neonatal services, or surgery. The Air Force offers fellowships in advanced and executive development, along with critical care and trauma.
Two- and three-year scholarships are available for Nurse Corps specialties. The Health Professions Scholarship Program pays full tuition and fees for nurses pursuing an advanced degree. Recipients must commit to one year of active-duty service for each year of funding they receive.
Eligible participants must be licensed nurses 18-48 years old. Nurses undergo a selection process and commissioned officer training prior to joining the Nursing Corps.
Army Nurse Corps
With more than 11,000 participants, the Army Nurse Corps comprises one of the U.S. Army's six corps of medical practitioners. Nurses care for service members, their families, military veterans, and retirees.
The Army Nurse Corps offers a wealth of opportunities for professional growth and continuing education. Nurses are respected commissioned officers who lead teams of healthcare providers. Many work in advanced healthcare settings, where they develop strong technical and problem-solving skills.
Nursing students and current practitioners may apply to the Army Nurse Corps, with the option of serving on active duty or in the reserves. Active-duty nurses receive a comprehensive benefits package that includes officer pay, a housing allowance, and possible sign-on bonuses.
Students can also apply for loan repayment programs and receive up to $120,000. Nurses serving in the reserves can continue practicing in their communities while taking advantage of increased training opportunities and incentive programs.
Military scholarships for nursing students are also available for graduate-level nursing programs. Scholarships cover tuition and fees and include monthly pay.
Navy Nurse Corps
The Navy Nurse Corps provides the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps with medical care, including preventative treatment and clinical tests. Also referred to as hospital corpsmen, these nurses can be stationed at Navy medical facilities, deployed to Navy or Fleet Marine Force units, or participate in humanitarian medical missions. A hospital corpsman learns skills in surgery assistance, emergency medical and dental treatment, and field-based medical care.
The Health Professions Scholarship Program covers tuition and provides a living allowance, with a sign-on bonus at graduation for students who attend select graduate-level nursing programs. The Health Services Collegiate Program awards graduate students with $157,000-$269,000, a housing allowance, and additional military pay. The Federal Assistance Program offers more than $275,000 during medical residency, an additional $45,000 yearly grant, and a monthly stipend.
Individuals without a nursing degree who are interested in joining the Navy Nursing Corps must hold a high school diploma and pass all enlistment requirements before starting hospital corpsman training. Participating sailors who wish to earn medical credentials receive extensive practical training and one-on-one mentorship.
Nursing Scholarships for Military and Veterans
Health Professions Scholarship Program
Eligible applicants must be active duty members of the Army enrolled in qualified medical programs, including specialty nursing graduate degrees.
Amount: Full tuition, plus $2,000 monthly stipend and a $20,000 sign-on bonus; monthly allowances for food and housing; the cost of books, equipment, and other fees.
Army Nurse Corps Scholarship
Students pursuing a degree in nursing or nurse anesthesia may apply for this scholarship, which supports veterans, service members from any Armed Forces branch, and their children and families. Participants may not receive other U.S. Army educational funding.
The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
This scholarship provides funding for spouses or children of active-duty service members who died in the line of duty or from a service-related disability on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
Amount: Full in-state tuition costs for public schools or up to $22,805 per year, plus the cost of housing, books, and supplies
Nurse Candidate Program
This award supports nursing students who serve in the Navy full time. Interested individuals should contact Navy medical officer recruiters.
Amount: Initial grant of $10,000; additional $1,000 monthly stipend for up to 24 months
Non-Traditional Student Scholarship
Intended for adults returning to their studies later in life, this scholarship helps cover the cost of attendance at schools, professional programs, and two-year and four-year degree programs. Applicants should be active members of the American Legion, Auxiliary, or Sons of the American Legion.
Amount: $2,000 annually
AMVETS sponsors multiple scholarships for veterans, active-duty service members, and individuals in the reserves, along with their spouses, children, and grandchildren. Awards vary in amount.
Amount: Up to $4,000 annually
Pat Tillman Foundation
The Pat Tillman Foundation offers merit-based scholarships to help service members, veterans, and military spouses begin careers in the public and private sectors. Applicants should be full-time undergraduate or graduate students. Scholarship winners enjoy access to other benefits, including an extensive professional network and admission to partner events like the Aspen Ideas Festival and SXSW.
Amount: Varies; $10,000 average
Military Order of the Purple Heart Scholarship
This award funds Purple Heart recipients, their spouses, and their direct descendants. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students, and membership in the MOPH is recommended.
Francis P. Matthews and John E. Swift Educational Trust Scholarships
The Knights of Columbus sponsors this scholarship for undergraduates attending Catholic colleges. The award supports candidates with a parent who was killed or permanently disabled by hostile action while serving in the military. Applications must be filed within two years of the date of death or official determination of disability.
Amount: Maximum of $25,000 per year; covers only tuition
Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship
Service members and veterans can apply for this collaborative award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Student Veterans of America, and Sport Clips Haircuts. Applicants should hold a military rank of E-5 or below and demonstrate financial need.
TonaLaw Veterans Scholarship
Sponsored by a New York law office, this scholarship offers funding for Armed Forces veterans. Applicants must provide proof of service and an essay, and be enrolled or accepted at an accredited school.
U.S. Veterans Magazine Scholarships List
U.S. Veterans Magazine's scholarship directory contains a wealth of financial aid opportunities. While award amounts and eligibility requirements vary, veterans and their children and spouses qualify for most scholarships.
eLearners Military Scholarship
Personnel, veterans, and spouses of individuals serving in any branch of the military may apply for this award. Applicants must write a 250-word essay in response to a prompt.
General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant
This grant is available to spouses and dependent sons and daughters of active duty, retired, and reservist Air Force or Space Force members. The grant committee considers need-based criteria, including family income and education costs.
Tailhook Educational Foundation
This Navy nursing scholarship supports the children and grandchildren of Naval aviators, Naval flight officers, air crewmen, or any veterans who served on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Applicants should be high school graduates preparing to enroll in an undergraduate program.
Resources for Active Military and Veterans
The Department of Education's student aid website includes a resource list for military personnel and family members.
The VA website helps students find approved schools and programs, research and apply for benefits, and keep track of benefits-related news. Military spouses and veterans can also find resources for nursing scholarships.
This organization advocates for veteran education and benefits, with support centers on many campuses. SVA connects students with scholarships, mentorships, and other resources.
VFW is a longstanding resource organization that sponsors community centers and helps veterans obtain benefits.
DAV assists veterans with securing resources for themselves, their families, and caregivers as they transition to civilian life. The organization conducts outreach programs and offers employment resources.
The American Legion is the nation's largest veterans' service organization. The group's website hosts a list of state-specific educational benefits.
*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the VA. FInd more information about the VA's education benefits at the official U.S. government website.
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