Loans, Scholarships and Grants for Nurses
Changes in healthcare delivery (prompted by the Affordable Care Act), and an aging population, are increasing the demand for highly skilled RNs who can help patients better manage chronic illnesses and who can address the increasing complexity of caring for older patients with multiple health problems.
In December 2010, the Institute of Medicine published a report titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The report's authors proposed a goal of raising the education base for the nursing profession so that 80 percent of all RNs would have a BSN by 2020—the same year in which one of every six individuals will be 65 or older.
AFT Healthcare has long been a proponent of nurses advancing their education. To that end, our union has made arrangements with Drexel University Online to provide tuition discounts for all AFT members. For nurses, an RN to BSN, RN to MSN, and nine additional master's level programs (including nurse practitioner programs) are available online and include a 25 percent discount for AFT members. See the broad range of nursing and other educational opportunities available through Drexel University Online.
Provisions of the Affordable Care Act also have led to an increase in grants and scholarships for the range of nursing programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has compiled a complete compendium of private and federal scholarship monies, as well as links to each state's financial programs.
In June 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded grants to 55 nursing schools for the 2012-2013 academic year. These grants are part of the foundation's New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program(NCIN). The grants will help the nursing schools provide support to students in accelerated baccalaureate and master's degree nursing programs; these students traditionally are underrepresented in the field of nursing and are pursuing a second career in nursing. For more information, please refer to this chart, which lists the 55 schools, the programs they offer, and links to the schools' web pages.
And last, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has just announced that applications are now open for the FY 2013 Nursing Workforce Diversity Funding Opportunity grants.(Application deadline is March 18). . HRSA also provides information on loan repayment as well as scholarship and loan programs to encourage and enable clinicians to work in underserved areas.