A master’s degree is one of the best ways to advance your career. Graduate nursing programs are among the few ways to improve your qualifications as a nurse for higher positions in the healthcare field. While paying for your nursing education may be a challenge, you can get the money by applying for graduate-level nursing scholarships.
This article covers what a master’s in nursing entails, how much it costs, and how you can pay for your graduate-level education with scholarship opportunities. Full-time nursing students have a challenging enough course load as it is, so read on to learn how to make the financial burden of your master’s degree less stressful.
What Is a Master’s in Nursing?
A Master’s of Science in Nursing, or MSN, is a graduate degree for registered nurses that prepares them for advanced practice in the nursing profession. To pursue a master’s in nursing, you’ll need to have finished your undergraduate nursing degree or attained at least 55 percent in your Post Basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Once nursing undergraduate students complete their program, they can pursue their master’s degree in nursing. If you have a post-basic degree, you’ll also need a year’s work experience before or after your studies.
A Master’s of Science in Nursing typically takes two years to complete. It provides theoretical and practical expertise, allowing you to get registered as a professional nurse. It’ll also enable a nurse to become a consultant in clinical scenarios since it provides knowledge on nursing and related sciences.
How Much Does a Master’s in Nursing Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost for graduate studies at a public institution is about $48,000. Still, factors like boarding, transportation, location, and other fees will likely affect how much you pay each year.
Additionally, an online master’s in nursing program will probably be more affordable. For instance, at the University of Missouri, you can pursue an online Master’s of Science in Nursing in 43-47 credits at $218 per credit, while Johns Hopkins University charges $1,738 per credit for its in-person nursing program.
Master’s in Nursing Salary: How Much Can You Earn?
Compared to registered nurses, advanced nurse practitioners can earn a higher salary. According to PayScale, the average salary of an advanced registered nurse practitioner is about $99,679 per year.
Some of the best paying jobs for those with a Master’s of Science in Nursing include a certified registered nurse anesthetist, whose average salary is $189,190, a family nurse practitioner, whose average salary is $114,501, and a psychiatric nurse practitioner, whose average salary is $112,210.
Is a Master’s in Nursing Worth It?
Yes, it is! There are many reasons why a master’s in nursing can be a worthwhile investment. While it might seem expensive to pay for your master’s in nursing, financial aid like college scholarships can alleviate some of this pressure.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a critical shortage of nurses in the United States. Therefore, the demand for nursing practitioners has increased, ensuring employment opportunities for those with a master’s or doctoral degree. You won’t have to worry about limited job vacancies for students with a master’s in nursing.
There are various places you can work, including military hospitals, educational institutes, healthcare centers, and nursing homes. Additionally, after obtaining your Master’s Degree in Nursing, you’ll be eligible for higher levels of learning, such as a PhD, which could provide more job opportunities in the future.
How to Pay for Your Nursing Graduate Degree with Master’s in Nursing Scholarships
It can be challenging to pay for your master’s in nursing on your own. Fortunately, with help from financial aid programs, you can get additional funding and proceed with your studies. A master’s in nursing scholarship is a sum of money that covers all or most of a student’s tuition without the expectation that it will be repaid in the future.
Most scholarships are offered based on merit, which means you’ll need to meet specific criteria to be eligible. For example, students have to achieve a certain undergraduate GPA or showcase their proficiency in a certain skill. When applying for a scholarship, you might need to provide a personal essay, letters of recommendation, or a registered nurse cover letter.
Full scholarships, which cover all your educational costs, are not as common as partial scholarships. Plus, advanced practice nurses can get financial or merit-based scholarships depending on their situation. Below we cover a variety of scholarships current graduate students can apply for in nursing school.
Best Master’s in Nursing Scholarships: Overview
|Organization||Scholarship Name||How Much It Covers|
|AfterCollege||AACN Scholarship Fund||$2,500 per quarter ($10,000 in total)|
|Air Force Health Professions||Health Professions Scholarship Program||Full scholarship|
|American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)||Dean Hayden Student Research Scholarship||Up to $5,000|
|American Association of Nurse Practitioners||AANP Scholarship Program||$2,500-$5,000|
|American Association of Occupational Health Nurses||Professional Development Scholarship||$2,500|
|American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)||AT Anderson Memorial Scholarship Program||$2,000 per year|
|American Nephrology Nurses
|ANNA Career Mobility Scholarship||$2,000|
|Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses||AORN Foundation Scholarship||$2,500|
|Emergency Nurses Association||ENA Foundation Academic Scholarship||$5,000|
|National Association of Hispanic Nurses||United Health Foundation Scholarship||$5,000 per semester|
Best Master’s in Nursing Scholarships: In Detail
AACN Scholarship Fund | AfterCollege
An applicant pursuing advanced learning to become a nurse educator will receive special consideration when applying for this scholarship. It’s one of the best annual scholarships offering a total of $10,000, split into $2,500 each quarter until you complete your program.
An eligible graduate nursing student also needs to be a registered member of AACN to receive this scholarship because it’s exclusively offered to organization members. There are considerable professional growth and job opportunities once you join the AfterCollege group.
Health Professions Scholarship Program | Air Force Health Professions
If you are planning on serving in the Army, Navy, or Air Force, you’ll be glad to know that they offer a military service scholarship for medical and health practicing students. If you enroll in such a program, you’ll receive full coverage of your tuition and other school-related expenses.
Qualified applicants will get a monthly stipend of about $2,000. You’ll need to “repay” the funds by working in a health facility for every year you receive the scholarship.
Dean Hayden Student Research Scholarship | American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)
You could also apply for the Dean Hayden Student Research Scholarship, sponsored by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. The AANA provides scholarships to students pursuing nurse anesthesia. You’ll also need to have a high GPA and be a member of the AANA to be eligible for this scholarship.
You could get up to $5,000 when approved for this funding. You’ll need a letter of support from your Research Advisor or Program Administrator to demonstrate authenticity. You’ll need to be researching a nursing-related project and you’ll need to meet the application deadline to be considered.
AANP Scholarship Program | American Association of Nurse Practitioners
One of the eligibility requirements necessary for students to apply for this is an advanced degree in nursing at an accredited university. You can receive this scholarship if you are a US citizen or a legal resident. You’ll also have to write a letter of acceptance and have completed at least one semester of your current program.
Proper documentation of your transcripts, current CV, and professional references will be necessary to consider your application. If awarded, you’ll receive up to $5,000 in funding your nursing education.
Professional Development Scholarship | American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses is a professional association of registered nurses and medical professionals engaged in advancing nursing practices. This organization has various scholarships to support health professionals in their studies.
Sponsored by the UPS Foundation, this scholarship will provide recipients a $2,500 scholarship award for pursuing degrees in nursing, including MSN students, and can cater to part-time and full-time graduate students. You’ll need to be a member of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses to qualify for this scholarship.
AT Anderson Memorial Scholarship Program | American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)
Another excellent scholarship program is the AT Anderson Memorial Scholarship Program, which offers $2,000 to graduate students for an entire academic year. Applicants need to be members of AISES at the time of scholarship application and full-time students at an accredited institution. Luckily, AISES membership is free for college students.
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Additionally, you’ll need to be an outstanding nursing student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and be an enrolled citizen of a state-recognized American Indian Tribe. If you are a Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Alaska native, you may also apply for this scholarship.
ANNA Career Mobility Scholarship | American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA)
The Career Mobility Scholarship is a financial aid program from the American Nephrology Nurses Association. It’s offered each year to a student pursuing an advanced degree in nursing such as an MSN. For an applicant to become eligible, they’ll need to have been a member of ANNA for at least two years.
You’ll also have to be involved in healthcare services related to nephrology nursing. You must provide documentation showing you meet the eligibility criteria, academic transcripts from your educational institution, and a letter of recommendation. You’ll also need to write a personal essay explaining your career goals and the impact that completing your degree program has on your practice.
Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses Scholarship | Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses
You can also apply for the AORN Foundation Scholarship for your MSN studies. You’ll need to be a nursing student with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher pursuing your graduate studies. Another requirement is an interest in perioperative or surgical nursing, which narrows down the number of people who can apply for this scholarship.
The AORN Foundation awards scholarships ranging anywhere between $500 to $2,500 for the cost of tuition. Having supported more than 3,000 nurses with their studies, eligible students can rely on the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses to support their educational goals.
ENA Foundation Academic Scholarship | Emergency Nurses Association
For applicants pursuing a Master’s in Nursing, you’ll need to be a member of ENA, so you’ll need to register if you want to be eligible. You’ll also need an academic standing of 3.0 GPA or higher and be attending a CCNE or ACEN accredited nursing program.
Eligible applicants also need two recommendation letters from a current member of ENA. You can receive up to $5,000 for your tuition. If you want to be an emergency nurse, this is an excellent scholarship for your studies.
United Health Foundation Scholarship | National Association of Hispanic Nurses
For this specific scholarship, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and United Health Foundation partner to provide graduate nursing students with $5,000 in financial assistance for three consecutive years. Graduate students with Hispanic heritage can apply for the scholarship if they meet specific eligibility and merit requirements.
As a scholarship recipient, you’ll also receive registration and membership funding from the United Health Foundation throughout your academic years and attend various forums and award ceremonies for the organization.
How to Pay for Your Nursing Graduate Degree Without Scholarships: Alternative Financial Aid Options
The wide variety of graduate nursing scholarships we’ve covered isn’t the only way for graduate students to pay for advanced nursing studies. Even if you don’t get a scholarship, there are other financial aid packages you can apply for to fund your graduate nursing degree.
One of the financial aid options you can seek is grants, which you won’t have to pay after receiving. Not every full-time student will be eligible for grants because they are typically only offered based on financial need or a specific project.
In addition to need-based requirements, you’ll also need to meet a certain academic threshold because you might be required to refund the money if you end up failing the program. You can find grants from state or federal organizations. In some cases, non-profit groups, universities, and foundations can also provide grants to nursing students.
Another popular way of meeting your tuition requirements without nursing school scholarships is with a student loan. You can apply to federal programs during your undergraduate nursing program to receive financial assistance at low-interest rates and the same is true for graduate school. The educational loans can also follow an income-driven plan for loan repayments.
You can also take out a private loan rather than government financial aid, but these will come at higher interest rates. Subsidized loans are also available for any student enrolled in a school of nursing who meets specific criteria based on financial need.
Saving and Budgeting
You can also pay for your master’s or doctoral program by creating a significant saving and budgeting strategy. You can cut your non-essential expenses for a certain period of time to save up enough for your education costs. While you may not be able to cover all of your tuition, you’ll need less assistance from loans or grants than you would without a savings plan.
Some of the things you can do to save cash include eating at home, buying used academic materials, and enrolling in accelerated graduate programs. Since it can be challenging to juggle your graduate nursing program, it can be safer to save than handle both.
There are thousands of institutions that participate in the federal work-study financial aid program. Nurses can apply for work-study programs after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s the same process you undergo when applying for federal loans and grants.
Working while studying allows you to earn some cash which can help you manage other learning-related costs. Depending on which one is easier for your professional goals, you can find a job on-campus or off-campus.
Should You Apply for Master’s in Nursing Scholarships?
Yes, you should apply for any of the scholarships on this list or others you find online. Pursuing your master’s in nursing can help you improve your nursing skills and advance your nursing career.
While it might be expensive to cover all school-related costs, you don’t have to give up your dreams of becoming an advanced nursing practitioner. With a master’s in nursing scholarship, the load of funding for tuition will be lighter.
Master’s in Nursing Scholarships FAQ
Yes, there are. Whether you’re a part-time or full-time student, there are various scholarship programs that nursing students can apply for from different organizations. The scholarships could partially or fully cover the costs depending on the amount you are awarded.
Yes, it’s possible. However, the student will need to get a limited registration from the South African Nursing Council before starting the program.
The best way to get a full ride to nursing school is by applying for grants and scholarships to cater to your schooling expenses.
Yes, they can, thanks to the Overseas Nursing Programme, which allows international students to work as health care professionals in the UK.
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