Nursing Scholarships for Adult Learners

Updated August 29, 2022 · 4 Min Read

Paying for college can be challenging for nontraditional students. Here are some scholarships for working professionals returning to nursing school.

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Nursing Scholarships for Adult Learners

Adults interested in going back to school are often concerned about the cost. Budgeting for tuition and other educational expenses while paying for housing, food, and childcare may seem to put college out of reach for many people.

Fortunately, there are many financial aid options specifically for nontraditional students, including private scholarships. Below, we've listed some scholarships for nontraditional students pursuing a nursing degree.

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Undergraduate Nursing Scholarships

The following nursing scholarships are open to candidates seeking an associate or bachelor’s degree. Other eligibility requirements and award amounts vary.

Jeannette Rankin Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to low-income women age 35 or older pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree, or technical/vocational education at a regionally accredited not-for-profit institution. Applicants must demonstrate how they will use their education to give back to the community.

Amount: $2,000

Amount: $2,000

Washington-Nixon Nursing Scholarship for Single Mothers

Who Can Apply: Single mothers in the Houston, Texas area may apply for this award if they are enrolled in a bachelor of science in nursing program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and submit an essay for consideration.

Amount: Varies

Amount: Varies

Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students who have at least a three-year gap between high school and college or university can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must be full-time nursing students pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

College JumpStart Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This merit-based scholarship assists nontraditional students who are enrolled or planning to enroll in a two- or four-year college or vocational/trade school. Applicants must demonstrate how education will help them meet their goals and improve their lives and/or community.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

Nurse Corps Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Nurse Corps Scholarship covers educational expenses for individuals who commit to working in an area with a critical nursing shortage after graduation. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program and lack any outstanding commitments, overdue federal debts, or federal judgment liens.

Amount: Varies; covers tuition, fees, and other expenses*

Amount: Varies*

Save a Life Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Academy of CPR and First Aid offers this award for candidates studying healthcare at accredited institutions. Applicants submit an essay detailing their goals, how they plan to advance healthcare, and what inspired them to seek education in the field.

Amount: $1,500

Amount: $1,500

Adult Skills Education Program Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to nontraditional students pursuing career-based higher education. Applicants must be at least 19 years old, maintain full-time enrollment at a participating institution, hold membership in Imagine America Foundation, and complete an educational success potential assessment.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

Ford ReStart Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Open to California and Oregon residents attending school in either state, this need-based scholarship is open to full-time students age 25 and over. Applicants must demonstrate financial need by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Amount: Varies

Amount: Varies

Working Parent College Scholarship Award

Who Can Apply: This award supports working parents attending college who have worked at least 12 hours a week in the four-week period before applying. Applicants must be 18 years or older, maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, and submit an essay.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

Adult Students in Scholastic Transition Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Women who are entering college for the first time, nontraditional students already enrolled in postsecondary education, and candidates training for a new career can apply for this scholarship. Awards are limited to applicants 18 and older who live in cities with participating Executive Women International chapters, demonstrate financial need, and clearly articulate their career goals.

Amount: $2,000-$10,000

Amount: $2,000-$10,000

Graduate Nursing Scholarships

Some scholarship programs offer financial aid for graduate students. If you are seeking a master’s degree or a doctorate, consider applying for some of the following awards.

The Mahoney Family Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Current full-time nurses with at least three years of experience can apply for this award. The funds can be used for continuing education, advanced practical training, or graduate tuition. Applicants must verify enrollment and submit a professional development plan and recommendation from a supervisor.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Amount: Up to $5,000

Healthcare Heroes Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is intended for nurses who are seeking an advanced degree. The application requires a statement detailing what inspired the candidate to pursue nursing.

Amount: $5,000

Amount: $5,000

Nurses Educational Funds, Inc.

Who Can Apply: This organization offers multiple scholarships for nurses who are seeking a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited institution. Completed applications include an essay, proof of current nursing license, transcripts, and references.

Amount: $2,500-$10,000

Amount: $2,500-$10,000

Return2College Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to any student over the age of 17 entering an undergraduate or graduate program. Applicants must submit a three-sentence statement explaining why they are pursuing a degree.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

BHW Women in STEM scholarship

Who Can Apply: Open to women pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields, including nursing. Applicants submit an essay on a designated topic pertaining to apps.

Amount: $3,000

Amount: $3,000

Patsy Takemoto Mink Educational Support Awards

Who Can Apply: Low-income women with minor children living at home qualify for these scholarships. Funds can be used toward a first postsecondary degree that adds to the applicant's level of education (e.g., bachelor’s degree to master’s.)

Amount: Up to $5,000

Amount: Up to $5,000

Women’s Independence Scholarships

Who Can Apply: These scholarships support low-income women who identify as survivors of domestic partner abuse. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited institution, and must describe a clear plan for how they will improve their career prospects through education.

Amount: $1,000

Amount: $1,000

Dr. Angela E. Grant Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is open to cancer survivors or students with immediate family members who have received a cancer diagnosis. Recipients are selected based on an essay, personal recommendations, achievements, community involvement, and leadership potential.

Amount: Up to $5,000

Amount: Up to $5,000

PEO Program for Continuing Education Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is intended for women who have been out of school for at least 24 consecutive months and are within 18 months of completing a career-focused degree. Candidates must interview with a local PEO chapter and receive a written recommendation.

Amount: Up to $3,000

Amount: Up to $3,000

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award is open to those who have applied to a graduate-level nursing program via NursingCAS, along with current nursing students who maintain a 3.2 GPA. Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll at an American Association of Colleges of Nursing accredited institution.

Amount: $5,000

Amount: $5,000

Frequently Asked Questions: Scholarships for Nontraditional Students


How do you get scholarships for nontraditional students?

Working professionals returning to school can find nursing scholarships by researching their options and applying for as many awards as possible. Your college or university, local professional organizations, and philanthropic groups can be great sources for scholarship information.

Can nontraditional students apply for FAFSA?

Anyone attending college at any age can apply for financial aid using the FAFSA. The information you submit could result in grants, scholarships, and other forms of aid from your school or government programs. Many private scholarships also request information from the FAFSA during the application process.

How old is too old to become a nurse?

Although nontraditional students may face challenges that younger students do not, there really is no such thing as “too old” to become a nurse. Your maturity and experience can benefit your career and other students. Before you apply to nursing schools, consider your existing obligations to your family and work, and how nursing school will fit in.

Can I attend nursing school as a single parent?

It is possible to attend nursing school as a single parent. Exceptional time management and organizational skills, plus support from your school, friends, and family can increase your likelihood of success. Some nursing programs offer programs specifically for single parents that provide resources like childcare, and you may qualify for special scholarships.

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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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