Financing Your Graduate Nursing Degree

FEATURED ARTICLE | APRIL 28, 2016 | BY JENNIFER VANLAEKEN, DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDENT SERVICES, UB SCHOOL OF NURSING

According to AACN data, in 2014 the average graduate student accrued over $57,000 in debt to complete his or her degree. With growing tuition rates in health sciences fields, it’s important that students understand all available financial opportunities. There are many different sources of funding students may utilize. These sources can be external (sources other than the college you are attending) or internal sources (funds offered by the college). We have explained some opportunities below, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. It is worth taking some time to see what else you can find!

External Sources

Federal Loans & Aid

Advanced Nursing Education Traineeships (AENT)
Funds traineeships for registered nurses to practice as nursing faculty or in primary care.

Advanced Nursing Education (ANE)
Supports advanced nursing education programs for registered nurses.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP)
Assists graduate students pursing faculty careers. Students must agree to teach at a school of nursing in exchange for cancelation of up to 85% of their educational loans, plus interest, over a four-year period.

Nursing Student Loan Program
Assists graduate nursing students based on financial need.

New York State Programs

Senator Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarships
Competitive awards for registered professional nurses enrolling in graduate programs that will qualify them as nursing faculty or adjunct clinical faculty.

Veterans Tuition Award
Awards for full- and part-time study for eligible veterans.

Scholarships

AfterCollege/AACN Nursing Scholarship Program
Supports students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing.

Johnson & Johnson/AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars
Provides financial support to graduate nursing students from minority backgrounds who agree to teach in a school of nursing after graduation.

Minority Fellowship Program (MFP)
Provides federal grants to increase the number of PhD prepared nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists from underrepresented ethnic minority groups.

MinuteClinic Nurse Practitioner Scholarship Program
Awards 40 nurse practitioner scholarships each year.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
Funding for educational costs in exchange for working at an eligible NURSE Corps site after graduation.

The Oncology Nursing Society Foundation
Awards academic scholarships for master's, doctoral post-master's certificate students.

TYLENOL® Future Care Scholarship Program
Awards fund up to 40 undergraduate and graduate students pursuing healthcare fields. 

Your Employer

Many emloyers have tuition reimbursement policies or other educational incentives that are offered to advance the educational goals of the employee while enhancing the educational preparation of the employer's workforce. Contact the human resources department of your employer for information on these types of benefits.

Internal Sources

Whichever college you attend, make sure to find out what opportunities are available to you through the school. Many colleges have their own scholarships and assistantships you can apply for.

Students accepted to UB School of Nursing may explore other financial resources and opportunities through the School of Nursing and the University.

Visit the School of Nursing Graduate Finances and University at Buffalo Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Searchable Resources

Financial Aid & Scholarships: Lists & Databases

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Maintains updated list of financial resources for graduate nursing students.

Financial Aid Programs for Graduate Study in New York State
HESC resource includes information about federal, NYS and SUNY programs, along with various assistantships/fellowships.

FastWeb
Extensive, searchable online database of more than 1.5 million scholarships.

International Education Financial Aid (IEFA)
Searchable resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information, geared toward international students wishing to study abroad.

Johnson & Johnson's Discover Nursing
Includes an extensive searchable database of nursing scholarships.

National League for Nursing (NLN)
Offers information on NLN and co-sponsored funding opportunities.

It’s worth the effort!

Students find that at the graduate level it takes more time to apply and receive funding. Be aware that sometimes applications include essays, interviews and even transcripts that verify you are in good standing with the University.  Keep applying, even if you think you might not be selected.

Questions about financing your education at UB?

COMMENTS

I also found that certain ethnic groups will sponsor some scholarships. Not just minorities but Polish, Italian to name a few. Some of these scholarships are announced in the newspaper. Even if it's for an UG degree, check with them to see if they might be willing to give you some money too. Sometimes you have to "piece-meal" your financial aid but it's well worth it.

-Janice Jones, PhD, RN, clinical professor (UB SON)

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