Scholarship Guide for Nurse Practitioner Schools (2021-2022)

Nurse practitioners are the best-paid nurses in the country, but their education comes with a price tag: a nurse practitioner can rack up over $100,000 in tuition fees through their bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found that 69 percent of graduate nursing students had taken out student loans. For nearly half of those respondents, their debt totaled between $40,000 and $100,000, and 16 percent had debt over $100,000. Notably, more than half of all students from diverse backgrounds took on more than $55,000 to finance their education, a total higher than the average for the overall population. The effects of all this debt are exacerbated by the fact that over half of all nursing students have dependents.

Student loans aren’t the only way to pay for your tuition. An increasing array of scholarship programs offer the chance to significantly discount, or in some cases entirely cover, the cost of graduate-level nursing education. These scholarships attempt to prioritize those who need it most and make it easier for motivated people to become nurse practitioners.

For those seeking to join a profession like advanced practice nursing, which is focused on compassion and service to others, it may seem difficult to summon the ego necessary to apply for individual scholarships. It’s easier, instead, to believe that someone else probably needs the help a little more. But that’s exactly the type of attitude the world needs more of—and it’s precisely who these scholarships are meant to help.

Scholarships for nurse practitioner schools have never been more plentiful. Whether you’re searching for a particular region, a particular specialization, a particular demographic, or even just general assistance, there’s a scholarship out there for you. The hardest part is doing the research and sending in the applications. With our detailed guide below, you’re already halfway there.

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NP School Scholarships: Common Application Requirements

Each NP school scholarship will have slightly different application procedures, but common requirements include any of the following:

  • Current RN license
  • Competitive GPA (3.0 or greater)
  • Essay responses and/or personal statement
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Demonstration of financial need
  • Community service and volunteer experience
  • Current acceptance or enrollment in a graduate nursing program

Outside of the common application requirements, many NP school scholarships take on a particular focus, such as catering to a specific demographic, a specific specialization, or a specific school or region. In some cases, an applicant can win multiple scholarships across different categories, lowering their school tuition rate significantly.

General Nurse Practitioner School Scholarships

Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: January 31, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be able to provide a letter of acceptance to a nursing program, or a transcript stating that the applicant is currently in a nursing program. They should also be able to demonstrate financial need.
  • About the Donor: While provided through the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), applicants do not need to be a DAR member, nor do they need to be related to one for this scholarship. DAR awards scholarships to three students who have been accepted or are currently enrolled in an accredited school of nursing through the Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Scholarship Program

  • Amount: Between $2,500 and $5,000
  • Deadline: Details about the application deadline will be available in January 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be US citizens, AANP-members, and licensed RNs who have completed at least one semester of their current MSN, DNP, or another doctorate in the nursing program. They must also be completing their education in a reasonable timeframe. Primary selection criteria include recent academic performance, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume.
  • About the Donor: AANP is the premier professional organization for NPs, and their scholarship program seeks to aid future NPs in gaining the advanced clinical training and education they need.

Nurses Educational Funds (NEF) Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: February 1, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be registered RNs with membership in a national professional nursing association. Scholarships are available for MSN, DNP, and Ph.D. nursing programs. Primary selection criteria include scholastic achievement, personal references, and essay responses.
  • About the Donor: NEF’s sole purpose is to provide scholarship assistance that makes graduate-level nursing education more accessible. They are the largest private, professionally endorsed source of funds for advancing the nursing study, with over 100 years of service to the field. NEF currently offers over a dozen scholarships for nurse practitioners.

AfterCollege/AACN Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: March 31, June 30, September 30, December 31 (2022)
  • Who Should Apply: The fund supports nursing students who are already enrolled at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level, but special consideration is given to applicants in accelerated programs, and to those in a graduate program to become nurse educators. The applicant’s program must also be accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
  • About the Donors: Since its inception in a Stanford University dorm room in 1999, AfterCollege has been connecting students and recent graduates with employers. AACN has been the national voice for academic nursing since 1969. Together, their scholarship fund awards $2,500 every quarter to help deserving students cover expenses during school, and propel them into rewarding careers after college.

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

  • Amount: Varies, but includes financial support for tuition, fees, books, and/or a monthly stipend.
  • Deadline: May 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be US citizens who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a professional nursing degree program at an accredited school of nursing in the US. The primary selection criteria include academic performance, response to essay questions, resume, and recommendation letters.
  • About the Donor: The US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) supplies scholarships to nursing students across the country, in return for an agreement to work at an eligible facility with a critical shortage of nurses, known as a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF), upon graduation. This award is meant to effectively redistribute nursing talent to where it’s needed most.

Sharps Compliance Scholarship Program

  • Amount: $1,500 (first place); $1,000 (second place); and $500 (third place)
  • Deadline: May 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be accepted to or currently enrolled in an accredited university in healthcare-related studies. Selection criteria revolve around an essay contest. This year’s topic is not yet out. The topic for the 2021 scholarship was “COVID’s Impact on the Long-Term Care Industry”.
  • About the Donor: Sharps Compliance is a nationwide provider of healthcare waste solutions for the healthcare market. Part of their mission is to innovate new services that are both regulatory compliant and environmentally sensitive.

Tylenol Future Care Scholarship

  • Amount: Ten scholarships, $10,000 each; and Twenty-five scholarships, $5,000 each
  • Deadline: August 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be US residents who can provide proof of enrollment in a nursing program, and who have at least one year of school remaining. The primary selection criteria are GPA, academic records, community involvement, and an essay contest.
  • About the Donor: Each year, the makers of TYLENOL award annual scholarships to well-deserving students who are pursuing careers in healthcare. Over the last quarter-century, these scholarships have awarded millions of dollars to students pursuing graduate education at nursing schools, medical schools, and pharmacy schools.

NPHF/Procter & Gamble Endowed Scholarship in Community Service

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: December 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be nurse practitioner graduate students enrolled in a master’s, DNP, or PhD program. Selection criteria center around an applicant’s positive contributions to their school, to their community, or in the field of patient care.
  • About the Donor: The Nurse Practitioner Healthcare Foundation (NPHF) administers this endowed scholarship through an educational grant from Procter & Gamble. NPHF’s mission is to improve health status and quality of care through NP innovations in clinical practice, education, research, health policy, service, and philanthropy.

Demographic-Specific NP Scholarships

F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program

  • Amount: Full tuition compensation, $2,400+ monthly stipend, and $20,000 sign-on bonus
  • Deadline: Rolling
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must qualify as active-duty commissioned officers in the US Army. They must also be US citizens, hold a bachelor’s degree, be enrolled in an accredited graduate nursing program, and maintain full-time student status during the length of the program.
  • About the Donor: Offered through the US Army, this scholarship is one of the most comprehensive available for healthcare-related professions. As part of the Army’s healthcare team, awardees will be connected with one of the world’s largest, most funded, and most high-tech healthcare networks.

Indian Health Service’s Health Professions Scholarship

  • Amount: Covers tuition, fees, and educational and living expenses
  • Deadline: April 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be members of federally designated Tribes and villages. They must also be enrolled in an eligible health profession degree program. Scholarship recipients are required to fulfill a minimum two-year service commitment at an Indian health facility upon graduation.
  • About the Donor: The Indian Health Service (IHS) offers scholarships to American Indian and Native Alaskan students to train health professionals to staff American Indian and Native Alaskan health programs. These scholarships seek to develop the next generation of leaders and make the pursuit of a meaningful career in Indian health attainable for American Indian and Native Alaskan students.

Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship

  • Amount: Four scholarships, $1,000 each
  • Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be members of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and pursuing an advanced nursing degree. Primary selection criteria include scholastic achievement, financial need, and community service.
  • About the Donor: The scholarship is offered through NBNA, which is committed to excellence in education, and conducts continuing education programs for nurses and allied health professionals throughout the year. The Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship is named after NBNA’s founder and first president, and its recipient should embody her leadership and commitment to service.

George McGuire Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be members of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) enrolled in an advanced nursing program, and their primary focus should be social justice. Candidates must have been NBNA members for at least two years; must have completed at least one full semester/quarter in a graduate program, and must have at least one full semester/quarter remaining in their graduate program.
  • About the Donor: The scholarship is offered through NBNA, which is committed to excellence in education, and conducts continuing education programs for nurses and allied health professionals throughout the year. All NBNA scholarships are presented to awardees at NBNA’s Annual Institute & Conference.

Dr. Martha A. Dawson Genesis Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 15, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be members of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), and pursuing formal education at the master or doctoral level in nursing or nursing education.
  • About the Donor: The scholarship is provided by Dr. Martha A. Dawson, a member of the Birmingham Black Nurses Association, and administered by NPNA. Believing that true success is measured by its succession, Dr. Dawson has offered the scholarship award to support nurse leaders to continue their growth and development.

The United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: June 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be members of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), and enrolled in a full-time graduate nursing program with a GPA of at least 3.0. If selected, awardees will be required to attend the NAHN Annual Conference Gala, as well as the United Health Foundation (UHF) Diverse Scholar Initiative Forum in Washington DC. UHF will pay for travel and conference expenses.
  • About the Donor: NAHN has partnered with UHF in its Diverse Scholars Initiative, which, since 2007, has provided more than $23 million in funding to support nearly 3,000 scholarships. The program aims to create a more culturally relevant health workforce and a more effective healthcare system, particularly in under-served communities.

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Award Program

  • Amount: $1,500 per semester
  • Deadline: June 1, December 1 (2022)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be able to prove tribal ancestry, and be enrolled in a health professional program, having achieved good scholastic standing. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate financial need and be able to provide letters of recommendation. This scholarship is targeted towards those who are focused on a career goal directly related to the healthcare needs of the American Indian, Alaskan Native, or Hawaiian Native communities.
  • About the Donor: Started by the Pennsylvania Society in 1928 and made a national project by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of American (NSCDA) in the 1930s, this award was created to allow students of American Indian descent to pursue careers in nursing. Originally intended to benefit females only, it’s since expanded to include all genders and multiple healthcare careers.

Exceptional Nurse Scholarships

  • Amount: $250 to $500
  • Deadline: June 1, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be nursing students with documented disabilities. Applicants will need to submit a medical verification of disability, an essay, and three letters of recommendation.
  • About the Donor: Started in 2001 as a grassroots effort to address the needs of nursing students and nurses with disabilities, Exceptional Nurse awarded its first scholarship in 2003. Today it offers eight different scholarships, with varying amounts and foci, for truly exceptional nurses. Examples include the Peter Gili Scholarship Award, Caroline Simpson Maheady Scholarship Award, Jill Laura Creedon Scholarship Award, and Anna May Rolando Scholarship Award, among others.

NP Scholarships for Specific Specializations

Oncology Nursing Foundation Doctoral Scholarships

  • Amount: $7,500
  • Deadline: January 30, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be RNs who are committed to oncology nursing and enrolled in a Ph.D. or DNP program. Two professional letters of support are required.
  • About the Donor: Since 1981, the Oncology Nursing Foundation, a national public, non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, has provided over $29 million in funding to support oncology nursing education, research, and leadership development.

March of Dimes Graduate Nursing Scholarships

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Deadline: March 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be RNs currently enrolled in a graduate nursing program with a focus on maternal-child nursing. Applicants must also be members of at least one of the following organizations: the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; the American College of Nurse-Midwives; or the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.
  • About the Donor: March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of mothers and babies, and they have a long history of working with nurses. For this scholarship, they’ve paired with Pampers to help nurses advance in graduate school training that focuses on the care of mothers and babies.

The Melanie Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,500
  • Deadline: March 5, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be currently enrolled in an accredited mental health graduate program, such as a DNP program with a focus towards becoming a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Applicants will need to supply a resume, academic transcripts, two letters of reference, and an essay.
  • About the Donor: The Melanie Foundation was created in 2006 to honor Melanie Merola O’Donnell and foster support for mental health issues. Melanie’s life was cut short while in the middle of a doctoral degree in psychology, and the scholarship is awarded to those who will carry the torch for her commitment to compassion, generosity, respect, and honesty.

NP Scholarships for Specific Schools or Regions

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship

  • Amount: Two scholarships, $5,000 each
  • Deadline: January 31, April 30, July 31, October 31 (2022)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be admitted or enrolled in an NP program at an institution accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and associated with CastleBranch. Applicants must have maintained at least a 3.2 GPA in their current program or at the last school attended.
  • About the Donor: CastleBranch helps employers and school programs screen candidates with background checks, drug screenings, and other core requirements. They’ve partnered with AACN, the national voice for academic nursing since 1969, to provide a scholarship that covers a wide range of different nursing programs.

Ida W. Casey Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Deadline: March 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be RNs enrolled at an accredited graduate nursing program, and live within or attend a school within the 65-mile radius of downtown Cincinnati. A competitive GPA and faculty recommendations are required.
  • About the Donor: Offered by InterAct for Change, a community health initiative in Cincinnati, this scholarship is named for the founding chair of the Department of Nursing at Edgecliff College, now Xavier University.

Michigan Nurses Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: May 1, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants should be currently enrolled at a nursing program in the state of Michigan, and be able to demonstrate good academic standing. Letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and current transcripts are required. Financial needs and community service are also considered.
  • About the Donor: Funded through private contributions and fundraising activities, the Michigan Nurses Foundation was formed in 2000 to advance nursing and nursing education by awarding scholarships and research grants.

Conway Scholarship (University of Maryland School of Nursing DNP Program)

  • Amount: In-state tuition and fees
  • Deadline: June 1, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be current students of the University of Maryland School of Nursing’s DNP program, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and submit an essay of 300 words or less. Conway Scholars must maintain a course load of at least 6 credit hours per semester, attend required Conway Scholars activities and events, and remain in good academic standing.
  • About the Donor: William and Joanne Conway are investors turned philanthropists who have generously donated to multiple nursing schools, including the University of Maryland School of Nursing. The Conways remain personally involved in their philanthropy, and, each semester, typically host a luncheon for Conway Scholars.

Alabama Board of Nursing Graduate Scholarships

  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: August 31, 2022
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be RNs who have been residents of Alabama for at least one year before application. They must also be accepted to a graduate nursing program within the state of Alabama, and be a person of good character. Primary selection criteria include scholastic achievement, work experience, and essay responses. Recipients are required to work for a minimum of two years in the state of California upon graduation.
  • About the Donor: The Alabama Nursing Resource Center (ANRC), as an entity of the Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN), strives to promote and safeguard the health of the public through the provision of education and information.

Colorado Nurses Foundation Scholarships

  • Amount: $1,500 to $5,000
  • Deadline: October 2022 (estimated)
  • Who Should Apply: Applicants must be Colorado residents committed to practicing nursing in Colorado. Scholarships are available for both master’s and doctoral programs, with a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5.
  • About the Donor: The Colorado Nurses Foundation is dedicated to improving healthcare and nursing practice in Colorado. Since 1999, they’ve raised more than $329,000 for nursing scholarships, and currently offer eight different scholarships for Colorado’s nursing students.
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog

Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California, and he believes a strong society demands a stronger healthcare system. Since early 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging topics in healthcare administration, healthcare research, and healthcare education. Drawing upon interviews with hospital CEOs, nurse practitioners, nursing professors, and advocacy groups, his writing and research are focused on learning from those who know the subject best.