Meet the Expert

Norma Battaglia
Norma BattagliaMS, BSN, RN

Norma is Master’s prepared Registered nurse with over 35 years of varied professional nursing experience in maternal-child health and EMS, including staff and specialty flight positions, management in the hospital and flight environments, education for graduate nurses, continuing education for RNs, paramedics and EMTs in metropolitan and rural communities; grant and project coordination for Emergency Medical Services for Children, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NHTSA and the Brain Trauma foundation; human services coordination between public health, behavioral health and EMS; and collaborative initiatives at the local, state, regional and national level. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist for multiple nursing programs.


Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a rewarding Nursing Career! Although the decision may have been a difficult one, trying to envision and plan your life around a school commitment, family, work and even sleep, you have realized that becoming a Professional RN is worth the hard work. Nursing can be one of the most rewarding and flexible careers out there, but it’s up to you to make the most of your opportunities.

Now that the choice to go to nursing school has been made, the next critical decision is how to afford good quality training without spending more than necessary. There are some considerations to think about that in the end may impact your choice of nursing programs, colleges and funding sources. Take some time to think about what type of nursing professional you see yourself as. There are limitless possibilities in the field of nursing. Maybe you see yourself as a staff nurse in a hospital or maybe working as a nurse educator in an academic setting. You can even do both!

Few nurses pick a single direction without wavering or changing over the length of their career. If you allow and encourage yourself to be challenged by learning new specialties, environments or skill sets, you’ll always find yourself interested, invested and rewarded by your choices. Once you have at least considered and researched different career options in the field of nursing, use that information to guide you while researching scholarships and grants to offset the expense of your nursing education. This doesn’t mean you need to have a specific career path mapped out as you enter nursing school, but use your areas of interest and knowledge of your community to help you make sound decisions that will support all of your hard work.

Good Luck and congratulations for taking those important first steps!

Scholarships for Nursing School

Community Foundations

Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital Gold Award Scholarships & National Young Woman of Distinction Awards(NYWOD)
  • Total Amount: $150-$5000 per scholarship
  • Coverage: Varies depending on level of support
  • Application Cycle: March 15 Annually
  • Current or recent Girl Scout participation and be a resident of Washington DC; Multiple levels of award including corporate, memorial, and endowment

Touchmark Foundation Nursing Scholarship
  • Total Amount: Varies; up to $1000
  • Coverage: Varies
  • Application Cycle: December 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017
  • Students must be accepted into or enrolled in an accredited nursing program. The Touchmark Foundation awards scholarships to support students pursuing degrees in nursing; especially those interested in teaching positions and geriatrics.

American Legion Auxiliary Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship
  • Total Amount: $2500-$3500 per award; One annually per Auxiliary geographic division (approx. 15 annually)
  • Coverage: Tuition, books, fees, room, and board.
  • Application Cycle: March 1; Annually
  • High school seniors who are children, step-children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or great-step-grandchildren of veterans who served in the armed forces during eligibility dates for membership in the American Legion. Applicants must have completed 50 hours of volunteer service within the community.

Giva Nursing Student Scholarship
  • Total Amount: $1000 scholarships to students currently enrolled in an accredited nursing program in the United States or Canada.
  • Coverage: Tuition
  • Application Cycle: Bi-annual: September 1st and March 1st
  • The candidate must be an enrolled, active nursing student.

Merit Based

Samsung American Legion Scholarship
  • Total Amount: up to to $20,000 per award; $300,000 total annually
  • Coverage:  Tuition, books, fees, room, and board
  • Application Cycle: Applicant to contact area Boys/Girls State Program Coordinator; Applications due no later than participant’s arrival at American Legion Boys State or American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.
  • Applicants must be direct descendants (i.e., child, grandchild, great-grandchild, or legally adopted child) of a U.S. wartime veteran who served on active duty during one or more of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility dates for membership in the American Legion. Scholarship winners are selected based on academic record, involvement in school and community activities, community service, and financial need.

  • Total Amount: $1000
  • Coverage: Paid directly to institution for school related expenses.
  • Application Cycle: March 31, 2017
  • Scholarships are awarded to Non-traditional, full-time students pursuing undergraduate degrees in nursing. Non-traditional students are those students who postponed the pursuit of a college degree after high school, or had their college careers interrupted, and instead entered the workforce, or military or fulfilled a family or non-profit obligation.


U.S. Bank Financial Genius Scholarship Program
  • Total Amount: $5000-multiple awards
  • Coverage: Not specified.
  • Application Cycle: Coming Soon
  • Applicant must be permanent legal resident of the United States (excluding residents of New York and Florida, Puerto Rico,
    Guam, and other U.S. Territories) Entrants must be a high school senior or current undergraduate college student enrolled by September 1, 2016 at an eligible two- or four-year college or university. Applicant must complete all eight Financial Genius education modules; where each learning module is approximately 10-15 minutes long and contains a series of videos, animations, activities, and knowledge checks.

2016 Making Life Easier (MLE) Scholarship Program
  • Total Amount: Up to 110 awards ranging from $1,250 to $5,000 per year. Awards for undergraduate study may be renewed for up to three additional continuous years or until a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first. Students can apply for up to $20,000 that will be distributed over four years
  • Coverage: Based on financial need and community service.undergraduate or graduate school related expenses only.
  • Application Cycle: November 6, 2016
  • Applicants must:
    -Be between the ages of 16 and 26 as of the application deadline date.
    -Be members, alumni or staff of one of the listed non-profit partners* .
    -Be high school seniors, graduates, current post-secondary undergraduate, or graduate students
    -Have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent degree by September 2016. plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university, professional school or vocational-technical school in the United States for the entire 2016-17 academic year.
    -Be in good standing in the community and at school (i.e. not on disciplinary or academic probation).

TYLENOL® Future Care Scholarship
  • Total Amount: 10 awards of $10,000 annually, non-renewable. 30 awards of $5,000 annually, non-renewable.
  • Coverage: Not specified.
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • U.S. residents only. Must have completed one or more years of undergraduate or graduate coursework at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school by the spring of 2015. Students must also have one or more years of school remaining.

A Nurse I Am Scholarship
  • Total Amount: $2000 Annually-10 awards
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • U.S Residents enrolled in Nursing programs.

  • Total Amount: $1000 non-renewable; 5 awards annually
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: April 15, 2017
  • Must be pursuing a degree in the fields of gerontology, long-term care administration, social work, medicine, nursing, or sociology. Scholarship will be awarded to five students who write the most compelling essay in each of five categories as judged by an outside panel of senior living professionals.

Minority Or Special Interest

  • Total Amount: Awards range from $500 to $2,000 annually, non-renewable.
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Must be of Greek descent, OR be a member, or the son/daughter of a member, of AHEPA, the Daughters of Penelope, the Sons of Pericles or the Maids of Athena. Must be a full-time student. Must be a resident of Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, or Washington, D.C.

UNCF Website provides list of 22 varied UNCF Scholarship opportunities
  • Total Amount: $4,000 annually, non-renewable; number of awards varies annually
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: Various
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident. Must be African American/Black. Must reside in St. Louis or Springfield, Missouri, OR attend Missouri State University.

AHN Nursing Scholarship
  • Total Amount: $1000-$5000 annually; non renewable
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Scholarship awards are presented to NAHN members enrolled in accredited full-time LVN/LPN, associate, diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate nursing programs. Scholarship recipients are a select group of Hispanic nursing students who demonstrate promise of professional contributions to the nursing profession and who have the potential to act as role models for other aspiring nursing students.

  • Total Amount: $1000
  • Coverage: Paid directly to institution for school related expenses.
  • Application Cycle: March 31, 2017
  • Non-traditional, full-time students pursuing undergraduate degrees in nursing. Non-traditional students are those students who postponed the pursuit of a college degree after high school, or had their college careers interrupted, and instead entered the workforce, or military or fulfilled a family or non-profit obligation.

Catching the Dream
  • Total Amount: Variable
  • Coverage: Tuition & Fees, Books and Supplies, Room & Board, Transportation and Personal expenses
  • Application Cycle: March 15, 2017, April 30, 2017, September 15, 2017
  • Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) [Proof of your enrollment with a federally recognized, state recognized, or terminated American Indian tribe. Demonstrate financial need.

Government and Related Organizations

Army Nurse Corps Scholarship
  • Total Amount: $3000 per applicant
  • Coverage: Paid directly to school for qualifying school expenses.
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated later this fall
  • Students currently enrolled in an accredited baccalaureate or advanced degree program in nursing, nurse anesthesia, or related healthcare field who: Are serving or have previously served in any branch, and at any rank, of a component of the US Army (Active Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve) OR Nursing or anesthesia students whose parent(s), spouse, or child(ren) are serving or has served in a component of the US Army.

  • Total Amount: Varies-See HIS Scholarship comparison chart
  • Coverage: all tuition and required fees at the institution; a stipend of no less than $1,500 per month for the 12-month period of Aug. 1, 2016-July 31, 2017 (pro-rated for part-time students); and an annual lump sum to cover books, travel, tutorial services, parking permit, and other educational expenses. This scholarship provides financial support for up to four years of full-time (eight years part-time) academic work. 
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Qualified American Indian and Alaska Native health profession students 

U.S. Air Force ROTC Three- and Four-Year Nursing Scholarships*
  • Total Amount: $5000+
  • Coverage: 3-4 years funding; tuition, fees, books, living expenses, stipends 
  • Application Cycle: Ongoing
  • The U.S. Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) established these scholarships for officers wanting to pursue a nursing degree in order to earn their Air Force commission through the U.S. Air Force ROTC. Only high school seniors are eligible to apply for the four-year program. You may apply for this scholarship at the end of your junior year of high school. If you are already in college and are interested in applying for a two- or three-year nursing scholarship, you will need to meet the following eligibility requirements: be a US citizen, take and pass the Air Force Officer qualifying test, pass the Air Force physical fitness assessment, and have at least a 2.5 GPA. You must also be attending a university that offers AF ROTC or has a cross-town agreement with one that does.

Post-9/11 GI Bill (US Code, Title 38, Chapter 33); Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30); Yellow Ribbon Programs at Selected Colleges
  • Total Amount: Monthly housing allowance and $1000 Stipend for books and supplies
  • Coverage: 36 months within 15 years of last day of active duty; may be combined with other VA education benefits
  • Application Cycle: Open
  • Active-duty, honorably discharged, Veterans with minimum number aggregate days of active service or discharged due to hardship or approved condition

Philanthropic/Alumni Organizations

Alumni Association Scholarship Fund of the Former Albert Einstein Medical Center Nursing School of Philadelphia
  • Total Amount: $1,000 – $2,000 each
  • Coverage: Varies. Grants and scholarships for study, instruction, research and scholarly pursuits in nursing
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Students demonstrating financial need in the pursuit of a nursing degree, whether baccalaureate, graduate or post-graduate. 

Cancer for College Scholarships-Approx. 10 separate scholarships available
  • Total Amount: $1000 – $5,000 each
  • Coverage: Tuition and other customary expenses related to a college degree
  • Application Cycle: January 31; Annually
  • Open to any cancer survivor who is enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States. Applicants attending Southern California Colleges will receive first consideration.

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship
  • Total Amount: Two $5,000 scholarships 
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: January 31, April 30, July 31, and October 31; Annually
  • Maintain at least a 3.2 grade point average in current program or at last school attended. Be admitted or enrolled in a baccalaureate or higher degree nursing program at an AACN member institution affiliated with

Udall Undergraduate Scholarship
  • Total Amount: 60 scholarships of up to $7,000 each, and anticipates that at least 20 scholarships will be awarded in Tribal Public Policy and Native Health Care.
  • Coverage: Tuition, fees, books and supplies, and room and board.
  • Application Cycle: March 2; Annually
  • Sophomore or junior-level college student at a two-year or four-year accredited institution of higher education in the United States, pursuing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree full time during the upcoming academic year; and are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident.

Memorial Foundations

American Legion Legacy Scholarship
  • Total Amount: Varies – Based on need and requested amount
  • Coverage: Tuition, Room & Board, Textbooks, Fees, Supplies, Equipment
  • Application Cycle: April 20, 2017
  • The child/children or legally adopted child/children or a child of a spouse by a prior marriage or dependent child as defined by the United States Armed Services of active duty United States military and National Guard, and military reservists who were federalized and die on active duty on or after 9/11/01.

Marine Gunnery Sargeant John David Fry Scholarship
  • Total Amount: 36 months of benefits at the 100% level
  • Coverage: Full tuition, fees, monthly housing allowance, books and supplies stipend
  • Application Cycle: Open
  • Children and surviving spouses of an active duty member of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001 are eligible for this benefit. Children are eligible as of their 18th birthday (unless they have already graduated high school). A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible, although their eligibility ends on their 33rd birthday. A spouse will lose eligibility to this benefit upon remarriage. A spouse has 15 years from the date of death of the Service member to use the benefit.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Nursing Student Loan-for-Service Program
  • Total Amount: $12,000 renewable; approx. 38 awards annually
  • Coverage: The award is for a forgivable loan at an amount of up to $12,000 annually, renewable for three additional years providing the student re-applies each year.
  • Application Cycle: July 1, 2017
  • Must be a resident of New Mexico. Must attend an accredited New Mexico public postsecondary educational institution. Demonstrated financial need.

National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program (NHSC) and NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
  • Total Amount: Varies-T uition and fees An annual payment for other reasonable costs to cover expenses for books, clinical supplies and instruments. A monthly stipend to cover living expenses monthly stipend is taxable
  • Coverage: The scholarship pays tuition, fees, other educational costs, and provides a living stipend in return for a commitment to work at least 2 years at an NHSC-approved site in a medically underserved community.
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • You can apply to the Scholarship Program if you are committed to primary care and accepted to or enrolled in an accredited U.S. school in one of the following primary care disciplines: Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Professional Nursing Organizations

AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship Fund
  • Total Amount: $2500 Quarterly; $10,000 Annually
  • Coverage: Not specified
  • Application Cycle: Quarterly March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31; Annually
  • Supports students who are seeking a baccalaureate, masters or doctoral degree in nursing. Special consideration will be given to students in a graduate program with the goal of becoming a nurse educator; students completing an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program; and those enrolled in an accelerated program. Please note that all applicants must already be enrolled (not just accepted) at an AACN member institution.

ENA Foundation Scholarships (includes several with partner organizations, chapters and states)
  • Total Amount: The Charles Kunz Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship is for $3,000; the Betty J. Smith Scholarship is for $3,000; and the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) Undergraduate Scholarship is for $3,000. All awards are offered annually and are non-renewable.
  • Coverage: Depending on Scholarship
  • Application Cycle: April 30, 2017
  • Proof of acceptance into an undergraduate nursing program (copy of acceptance letter and current transcript); proof of one year or more of pre-hospital work experience (copy of current EMT registration card, or letter from employer); verification of school tuition costs.

AORN Foundation Scholarships 
  • Total Amount: $500–$2500 annually; approximately 54 awarded per year
  • Coverage: Tuition, fees, books
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Must be enrolled at time of application in an accredited program as a nursing major for the upcoming school year and have an interest in perioperative or surgical nursing.

  • Total Amount: $2,000 annually, non-renewable. Approximately 20 recipients
  • Coverage: Not Specified
  • Application Cycle: Information will be updated January 1
  • Applicants can choose from seven WOCN-Accredited WOCNEPs in the U.S. Accreditation by the WOCN Society guarantees the student that the program meets established criteria regarding admission requirements, course content, clinical experience, qualified faculty and student/faculty ratio. 

  • Total Amount: $500-$1000 per award; up to 6 awards annually
  • Coverage: Not Specified
  • Application Cycle: June 1 yearly as funds allow; contact organization for additional information
  • Pre-license or Graduate, Male Nursing students who are members of AAMN

Financial Aid Sources for Higher Education

Nursing school can be expensive but if planned for, it is most definitely affordable. Take some time to become familiar with the different choices there are for financing your nursing education.


The office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides over $150 billion each year to students that qualify for aid. A part of the U.S. Department of Education, FSA is the largest provider of student financial assistance. The amount of federal financial aid awarded to a student is based on family and individual income shown on a yearly application called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).


Each state is different when it comes to financial aid policies and money that it offers. If a student is not eligible for federal assistance, state funding may still be an option.


Colleges and universities often have the ability to offer scholarships. Often the money available is given by donors to the institution. These awards can be based on merit, need or even previous academic successes.

Private Organizations

Companies and organizations will often offer scholarships and funds to students that have fulfilled criteria that generally align with their mission.

Financial Aid – What’s Available?

Keep in mind that no amount of financial aid or support is too small to apply for. All of those $100, $500 and $1000 amounts add up in the end and some may be used for different categories of expenses such as textbooks, tuition, lab fees or even room and board or living expenses. Some types of aid, such as loans, need to be paid back while others are given as an award and therefore can cut the cost of your nursing education down significantly.


Scholarships are offered by many sources including governments, colleges and private organizations and do not need to be paid back. They may be awarded for academic or athletic ability, interest in a certain subject, volunteer work, membership or association with an organization, club or special interest, religious or ethnic group. Often these are awards that need to be applied for and therefore it is important for you to take the initiative to find out which ones you qualify for.


Grants are sometimes called gift aid because they are generally given based on financial need and do not require repayment. Grants may be available from federal and state governments, colleges and less frequently, institutions or corporations. This type of financial aid usually requires the submission of personal or family income statements.


Loans are not always the most popular first choice, but think of loans for nursing school as an investment in your future. There are a number of sources for school loans can such as banks, credit unions or privately from lending institutions. A loan must be paid back over a scheduled period including a fee or interest added to reimburse the company or individual for carrying your loan.

The percentage interest may vary greatly, with the federal government usually offering the lowest-interest loans to students with financial need and often a deferred payment plan during school and after graduation.

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Sometimes hospitals or other healthcare facilities that employ nurses offer loan repayment in return for a commitment of work for a specified length of time. These types of programs are ideal because nursing school loans can be paid back at the same time as gaining valuable nursing experience. You can find out more information on these loan forgiveness programs here.

Work Study

The Federal Work-Study Program offers paid part-time jobs to help students pay for part of their college cost. Work may be available on or off-campus and specific to degrees or departments. Hours and pay varies considerably, but flexibility is often the hallmark of these programs making working during nursing school feasible.

Tuition Reimbursement
Student and/or Parent Employers often provide Tuition reimbursement for degree specific or college specific fields of study.

Where to Look for Financial Aid for Nursing School

As you start looking for ways to financially support your dreams of nursing school, it can seem daunting. Keep in mind that there are many resources out there to help you including online sources as well as those in the financial aid departments in a university or government setting. Here are some places to start gathering information about your options when it comes to seeking financial aid for your nursing degree:

High School Counselors

College counselors at your high school can be an extremely valuable source of information when it comes to assessing financial aid opportunities. They can also be a resource for local aid and scholarships that are available. These could be from businesses in your community or even local nonprofit organizations. Your counselor will also be able to help you understand the federal and state process for applying for financial aid as well.

College or University Financial Aid Office

Once you have chosen the school you will attend, set up an appointment with a financial aid advisor so that you can get started on the application process for financial aid. They will also be able to tell you about any grants that are available as well as institutional aid.

Professional Nursing Associations

If you know what type of nursing specialty you want to go into, make sure to check out the professional nursing association that supports it. Oftentimes these associations will have scholarships available. For example, if you know that you want to be an Oncology Nurse, the Oncology Nursing Society has grants and scholarships available.


There are many online resources that make searching and applying for scholarships less overwhelming. Some good places to start your search are:

Federal Student Aid
American Association of Colleges of Nurses
Big Future

Make sure to check out the Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association, Inc.

Stand Out When Applying for Grants and Scholarships

Most universities and organizations offering financial aid receive applications from hundreds of qualified students, all of whom have good grades, good exam scores and high GPAs. This is especially true of high-ranking, competitive, Ivy-League and specialty colleges and large corporations that are well known to many. While the FAFSA® application is one that is standard and based on income levels, many other loan, grant and scholarship applications have to do with effort, academics and extra-curricular activities. So, how do you make your application stand out from all the rest? Letters of recommendation, extra-curricular activities and athletics may certainly give you an edge over your competition. Below are some tips on how to make the most of these pieces of information.


Before crafting a college or financial aid essay, research each college or funding source carefully and in detail. Your essay should be crafted to address their mission and values as well as providing information why you are their best candidate. Make a list of what makes you unique and what’s important to you; how do you fit their target audience, what do you hope to accomplish if awarded the financial aid? Include items that show personality, character strengths and goals, painting a picture of why you are an excellent candidate for this source of financial aid. Remember, this is your personal statement to each individual organization. And, having a teacher or even a family member edit your essay before sending is always a good idea!

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation are often required and each college or funding organization may have specific categories of people whose opinions they value. Previous teachers, employers, volunteer coordinators, coaches or anyone who can honestly comment on your character, maturity, work ethic or determination. Remember to request a copy to keep for your files.

Transcripts and Test Scores

Grants and scholarships awarded to individuals based on academics will often require transcripts and test scores to be provided at the time of application. These must be sent directly from the high-school, previous college or testing center to maintain the integrity and confidentiality for the information.

Tips on Keeping Organized when Applying for Financial Aid

  • Use a calendar to write scholarship and financial aid application deadlines on for a quick overview.
  • Keep a running list of scholarships that you would like to apply for.
  • Give yourself plenty of time before application deadlines – allow for editing on both applications and essays.
  • Develop a list of potential recommendation providers and reach out to them in advance to see if they would be willing to write one if and when the time comes.
  • Keep copies of essays in one folder on your computer so that they are easily accessible.