There are many types of funding available to help you pay for your nursing education. When applying for any funding, keeping the following in mind:
- Anticipate deadlines.
- Start early - 18 to 24 months before you want to begin your degree program. Do not wait until you are admitted to apply for funding.
- Expect small amounts from a number of different sources. Don't count on one large amount to pay for everything.
- Use your unique qualities as strengths. The University sees scholarships, grants and fellowships as important forms of financial aid for achieving diversity in the student population.
- Use a variety of sources to locate scholarships (the internet, personal contacts, etc.).
- Apply to more than one source of funding.
Money is awarded that you don't need to pay back. Many scholarships have stipulations regarding the type and location of your post-graduate employment. Sources include private foundations and organizations, University of Washington, and School of Nursing-specific scholarships.
Often awarded to help students complete a thesis/special project or research, grant money does not need to be repaid.
Teaching or research assistantship positions that pay for your tuition, plus a monthly stipend. These are only available to graduate students.
Federal (Nursing, Perkins and Stafford) Student Loan Programs have varying interest rates and repayment provisions. An education loan must be repaid. There are many different types of education loans available, from interest-subsidized federally backed loans to specialized loans for specific fields of study. Loans available to students include the Perkins, Stafford and National Health Services Corps programs. Investigate your state's Department of Health, Rural Health Department, and Indian Health Services, to see what loan programs are offered.
Most states coordinate with the federal government to offer programs that offer financial assistance, in the form of loan repayments, for a commitment to service (generally in an area of need). You may receive a salary in addition to loan repayment. If eligible the student borrows money, and if certain requirements are met, government funding sources provide a dollar-for-dollar match to repay qualifying educational loans.
Federal money may be awarded to the School of Nursing for graduate students. Amount of funding varies per year and may pay tuition with or without a monthly stipend. Traineeships for specific areas of study include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Traineeship for Occupational Health Nursing students and the Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program (CGEP) Traineeships for Adult Nurse Practitioner students.
Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Some employers offer programs that pay for a portion of tuition while you work a required minimum of hours. Ask the human resources office at your workplace to see if your employer offers this benefit. UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center offer six credits of paid tuition to all employees working at least half-time.
Other creative ways of receiving money include thinking about the communities to which you belong. Scholarship opportunities may be available through clubs, religious organizations, your state, national and local health service associations, or employers. Professional groups sometimes allocate a portion of membership dues for nursing student scholarships. There are scholarships for women, for multi-ethnic students, for nurses, for older students, for those pursuing a second career, and for people who want to practice in underserved areas, to name just a few examples. For more ideas, see the postings on bulletin boards outside the UW School of Nursing Academic Services, Room T310 of the UW Health Sciences building.