Financial Aid for Minority Students

Hospitals and healthcare providers are increasingly alert to health disparities prevalent in minority populations. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2013 U.S. Health Disparities and Inequalities Report show 60% more preterm births in black infants than white, a higher prevalence of diabetes in black and Hispanic patients, and more uncontrolled high blood pressure in Mexican Americans. Fewer black AIDS patients received antiretroviral therapy than white, and preventable hospitalization rates were higher for black and Hispanic patients.

A study conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Forum of State Workforce Centers revealed that minorities accounted for only 19.5% of nurses in the workforce

Disparity also exists within the healthcare industry. A 2015 study conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Forum of State Workforce Centers revealed that minorities accounted for only 19.5% of nurses in the workforce. While the data indicate that younger nurses are more racially and ethnically diverse than those closer to retirement, there is clearly room for minorities in this profession.

Given the well-documented nursing shortage and the Institute of Medicine's call for a more educated workforce, nursing schools across the country have bolstered their recruitment efforts. Healthcare providers benefit from hiring well-educated nurses who can address these health disparities. Now is an opportune time for aspiring minority nursing students to pursue a career in the healthcare field. Below is a guide of college scholarships for minorities.

Scholarships for African American Nursing Students

Dr. Lauranne Sams Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Requirements: National Black Nurses Association membership; official transcripts; two letters of recommendation; headshot; two-page essay
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and community service; may be applied to a bachelor's or advanced nursing degree
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Lynne Edwards Research Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,500–15,000
  • Requirements: National Black Nurses Association membership; official transcripts; two letters of recommendation; headshot; two-page essay
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Applicable to Ph.D. programs
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

George E. McGuire Memorial Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Requirements: National Black Nurses Association membership; official transcripts; two letters of recommendation; headshot; two-page essay
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Candidates must be established graduate or doctoral nursing students with a dual focus on social justice; must have held NBNA membership for two years
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Ron Brown Scholar Program

  • Amount: $10,000 for four years
  • Requirements: Application; letters of recommendation; official transcripts
  • Deadline: January 9
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, economic need, community involvement, and leadership potential; must be a black high school senior or rising junior to apply
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Black Nurses Rock Scholarships

  • Amount: Up to $2,500
  • Requirements: Black Nurses Rock membership; application; two letters of recommendation; official transcripts; headshot; one-page biography; resume or CV; two-page essay; GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Deadline: July 30
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, economic need, and involvement in student nursing and/or community health; must be currently enrolled in a nursing program at bachelor's level or higher
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Professional Organizations for African-American Students

  • National Black Nurses Association: In 1972, Dr. Lauranne Sams founded the first chapter of NBNA in Ohio. Now a global organization with more than 150,000 members, NBNA offers professional networking opportunities for black nursing professionals and advocacy for the healthcare needs of all people of color.

  • Black Nurses Rock: A young organization by professional association standards, BNR's social media presence and membership are growing rapidly. Launched in 2014, this global organization comprises 174,000 nursing professionals and offers networking opportunities, continuing education options, and scholarships and grant funding.

  • National Black Graduate and Professional Student Association: In 1989, several University of Michigan graduate students organized the first national conference devoted to black students in higher education. That conference led to the creation of NBGSA, a national organization that provides resources to encourage and support black students pursuing advanced degrees.

Scholarships for Hispanic and Latino Nursing Students

NAHN United Health Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000 for three years
  • Requirements: NAHN membership
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement and economic need
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

NAHN Hector Gonzalez Past Presidents Scholarship

  • Amount: $4,000
  • Requirements: NAHN membership
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement and economic need; male nursing students are encouraged to apply
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: $500-5,000
  • Requirements: Must be Hispanic; minimum 3.0 GPA for high school students; minimum 2.5 GPA for college students; must be U.S. citizen, permanent legal resident, DACA, or eligible noncitizen as defined by FAFSA
  • Deadline: April 2
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement and economic need
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarship

  • Amount: $250-1,000
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; letter of recommendation; minimum 2.5 GPA; current enrollment in accredited four-year program
  • Deadline: Oct. 15
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Latino Resources College Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: $2,000
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; resume; essay; FAFSA Student Aid Report; must be U.S. citizen, permanent legal resident, DACA, or eligible noncitizen as defined by FAFSA; must have home residence in Cook County, Illinois
  • Deadline: May 31
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, economic need, community involvement, and leadership potential; applicable to any accredited two-year or four-year nursing program at any degree level
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Professional Organizations for Hispanic and Latino Students

  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses: At the 1974 American Nurses Association convention, a small group of Hispanic professionals met to discuss their needs and how the nursing industry was working to meet them. NAHN emerged from that splinter group and is now advocates for Hispanic nursing professionals and public health in Hispanic communities.

  • National Hispanic Institute: Offering programs to high school and college students, NHI fosters leadership development among Hispanic students while encouraging community involvement. Undergraduate students can apply for the John F. Lopez summer internship, during which select students with high potential receive coaching in professional leadership and management skills.

  • La Unidad Latina Foundation: Through educational initiatives targeted toward high school and college students, LULF encourages Hispanic students to attend college, earn degrees, and enter the workforce as socially conscious Latino professionals. The foundation offers college application assistance and scholarships and prepares rising seniors with resume assistance, professional attire, and interview skills workshops.

Scholarships for Native American Nursing Students

Indian Health Service Health Professions Scholarship

  • Amount: Tuition, fees and, living expenses
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; letters of recommendations; essay; application; collegiate letter of acceptance; membership in a federally recognized tribe or Alaska-Native village; enrollment in an eligible health professions program; minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Deadline: March 28
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, faculty/employer recommendations, and essay quality; recipients must complete two-year clinical service commitment in the IHS after graduation
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Award Program

  • Amount: $1,500 per semester
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; letter of recommendation; headshot; biographical statement. Must be one-quarter American Indian and enrolled in a tribe
  • Deadline: June 1
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement and financial need; applicable to associate, baccalaureate, or graduate programs
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Daughters of the American Revolution American Indian Scholarship

  • Amount: $4,000
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; three letters of recommendation; personal statement essay; proof of American-Indian blood; minimum 3.25 GPA
  • Deadline: February 15
  • Additional Information: Applicable to baccalaureate or graduate programs, though undergraduate applicants receive preference
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Daughters of the American Revolution Frances Crawford Marvin American Indian Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; three letters of recommendation; personal statement essay; proof of American-Indian blood; minimum 3.25 GPA
  • Deadline: February 15
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement and financial need; applicable to any accredited two-year or four-year university
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship

  • Amount: Varies
  • Requirements: Online application; essay; transcripts; tribal ID; headshot; membership or descendant of member of federally recognized or state-recognized tribe, or Alaska Native; minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Deadline: May 31
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, community involvement, and leadership; applicable to any undergraduate or graduate mainstream or tribal college or university
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Professional Organizations for Native American Students

  • National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association: Relaunched in 1993 after a nine-year hiatus, NANAINA is a networking community for Alaska Native and American-Indian nursing professionals throughout the United States. The association advocates for the healthcare needs of tribal peoples and seeks to advance the nursing profession through research and professional development.

  • Native American Nurses Association of Arizona: In many U.S. states, Native-American nursing professionals can network through state-specific organizations, such as NANAAZ. Focused primarily on the health and well-being of American Indians, these organizations advocate for public policy, consult on public health concerns, support research, recruit Native-American students to the profession, and promote awareness of Indian healthcare and cultural topics.

  • Association on American Indian Affairs: Founded to support Native-American land rights protection in the 1920s, AAIA today emphasizes advocacy, public policy, cultural awareness, and the promotion of education and healthcare. AIAA awards merit- and need-based scholarships to enrolled tribal members attending accredited undergraduate and graduate colleges.

Scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Nursing Students

Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association Scholarship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Requirements: Two letters of recommendation; resume; essay; minimum 3.5 GPA; membership in AAPINA for at least two years; current enrollment in accredited program
  • Deadline: June 10
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, leadership, extracurricular activities, and AAPINA involvement; applicable to bachelor's, master's or doctoral programs
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: $2,500-20,000
  • Requirements: Online application; minimum 2.7 GPA or GED; letter of recommendation
  • Deadline: January 11
  • Additional Information: Preference is given to applicants who live at or below the poverty level, are the first in their families to attend college, represent APIA's diverse demographics, and demonstrate strong scholastic achievement, community involvement, and leadership skills; applicants must be high school seniors enrolling in college in the fall
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

USPAACC Hallmark Scholarship

  • Amount: $3,000-5,000
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; essay; copy of most recent household tax return; two letters of recommendation; plan of study and associated costs; minimum 3.3 GPA
  • Deadline: March 30
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, community service, leadership, and financial need; applicants must be high school seniors planning to attend college in the fall
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Frederick and Demi Seguritan Scholarship

  • Amount: $5,000 for four years
  • Requirements: Two letters of recommendation; transcripts; essay; resume; must be first-generation Asian American; minimum 3.0 GPA; must reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Solano County in California
  • Deadline: February 23
  • Additional Information: Based on financial need, community service, and outstanding citizenship; applicable to any accredited four-year college; students majoring in business receive preference
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Tang Scholarship

  • Amount: $15,000 per semester for four years
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; two letters of reference; personal statement; FAFSA Student Aid Report or most recent Form 1040; proof of residency; interview; at least 25% API ancestry; must reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Solano County in California
  • Deadline: April 30
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, financial need, and demonstrated involvement in the LGBT community; applicable to any accredited two-year or four-year college or graduate school
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Professional Organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander Students

  • Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association: Formed in 1992, AAPINA is a global organization that supports Asian-American and Pacific Islander nursing professionals and nursing students. AAPINA sponsors networking opportunities, professional development, and research initiatives. The association advocates for public policy that affects healthcare in Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

  • The Center for Asian Pacific American Women: This national nonprofit is devoted to developing and nurturing leadership skills among Asian-Pacific American women. Professionals from all industries benefit from the organization's networking, mentorship, and educational initiatives. Asian-American and Pacific-Islander nurses benefit from the organization's regional conferences, national leadership summits, and fellowship program.

  • National Association of Asian American Professionals: NAAAP focuses exclusively on career development for Asian Americans across industries. The nonprofit organization offers professional development opportunities including a leadership convention, local workshops and networking events, community service activities, a leadership webinar series, mentoring, and a job board.

Scholarships for Undocumented Nursing Students

PepsiCo Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund

  • Amount: $5,000
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; two letters of recommendation; FAFSA Student Aid Report, IRS Form 1040, or alternative proof of income; minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Deadline: June 8
  • Additional Information: Based on scholastic achievement, financial need, leadership in extracurricular activities, and commitment to volunteer service in the community; applicable to any accredited undergraduate program in Arizona or California
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

TheDream.Us National Scholarship

  • Amount: Up to $14,500 for associate programs and up to $29,000 for bachelor's programs
  • Requirements: Official transcripts; letter of recommendation; essay; minimum 3.0 GPA; eligibility for DACA or TPS status; eligibility for in-state tuition at partner college; must have arrived in the U.S. before age 16
  • Deadline: March 1
  • Additional Information: Based on financial need, scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, and community service; must be high school student or graduate who has not attended a four-year college
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship

  • Amount: Up to $80,000 to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses for bachelor's programs
  • Requirements: Minimum 2.8 GPA; must be graduate of high school in locked-out state; must have or be eligible for DACA or TPS status; must be eligible for in-state tuition at partner college; must have arrived in the U.S. before age 16
  • Deadline: January 23
  • Additional Information: Based on financial need, scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, and community service; must be high school student or graduate who has not attended a four-year college
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

The Red Thread Foundation Fellowship

  • Amount: $1,000
  • Requirements: Two letters of recommendation; two essays; telephone interview; must be women with international backgrounds, including immigrants, foreign students, and undocumented students
  • Deadline: April 15
  • Additional Information: Applicable to first-year expenses at any accredited college
[ MORE INFORMATION ]

Professional Organizations for Undocumented Students

  • Red Thread Foundation for Women: Comprising former immigrants, international students, and first-generation college students who have thrived in their careers, this organization nurtures the educational goals of students in similar circumstances. In addition to generous scholarship funds, the Red Thread Foundation offers comprehensive mentoring and professional development resources. The foundation's website contains articles, career advice, and member Q&As.

  • United We Dream: This youth-led nonprofit helps undocumented Americans develop the skills needed to fight social injustices. UWD identifies education as a top priority and provides campus-based advocacy training and toolkits for raising institutional awareness about the educational needs of undocumented students.

Filing the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential step in obtaining financial aid for nursing school. The government uses the information on the FAFSA to calculate how much a student's family can contribute to college costs. This number determines the student's financial aid eligibility. Nearly all awarding bodies consider this calculation when making decisions about loans, grants, work-study opportunities, and some scholarships.

The FAFSA is available in English or Spanish. Students may file from October 1 to June 30 for the upcoming academic year and should file as soon as possible. Many state-based grant pools allocate their limited funds on a first-come-first-served basis, and schools often have earlier internal deadlines. FAFSA maintains a database of state and school deadlines.

FAFSA eligibility requires citizenship or eligible noncitizenship, a high school diploma or GED, and a Social Security number. Undocumented and DACA students are not eligible for federal student aid, but they are not precluded from state or college-based aid. DACA Dreamers who have a Social Security number should complete the FAFSA to access federal aid.

To complete the FAFSA, students need a Social Security number or alien registration number, federal income tax returns, W-2 forms, bank statements, investment records, a Federal Student Aid ID, and records of all other income for students and parents, if applicable.

Scholarship Application Tips:

Start Your Search Early

Large numbers of students apply for high-award, competitive scholarships, and the decision process takes time. Even small or local scholarships for minorities often have lengthy decision timelines. All scholarships have specific opening and closing dates, and students should begin identifying potential scholarships well before organizations begin accepting applications. Scholarship programs often close application windows early in the prior academic year, so junior year of high school is not too soon to begin searching for opportunities.

Use Recommendation Letters

A solid recommendation letter can be useful outside the college application process. A recommendation letter cosigns a student's academic value to an admissions committee and can do the same for a scholarship review panel. Students can also tailor recommendation letters to specific scholarship programs. For example, a minority student could ask a teacher for a letter speaking to achievement despite financial hardship or for a letter detailing involvement in promoting cultural awareness or social justice.

Cast a Wide Net

When searching for scholarships, students shouldn't limit efforts to high-dollar awards. Smaller scholarships may have fewer applicants and less competition, and several small scholarships can add up to the same funding amount as a single big award. Students can search for opportunities through online scholarship-matching services, industry-specific professional associations, cultural heritage organizations, local news publications, and high school guidance counselor recommendations.

Social Media Presentation

Applicants to scholarship programs should expect their social media profiles to be screened. Students should remove from their feeds any offensive language, sexual imagery or inappropriate photographs, references to drugs or underage drinking, and hints of other unsavory or illegal activity.

Pay Attention to Details

Many scholarship applications are rejected because students fail to read directions closely. Supply all required information, and leave no line or text field blank. Mark "not applicable" instead of omitting important information by mistake. Provide all requested supporting documentation. Write an essay that matches the prompt and the word count, and triple-check spelling and grammar. Meet the application deadline.

Additional Scholarship Resources for Nursing Students

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid: With an application portal in both English and Spanish, the FAFSA website provides information on alternative filing options, state- and school-specific financial aid deadlines, and data on individual colleges. The College Scorecard offers details on estimated costs of attendance, graduation rates, and average salaries of each school's graduates.

  • Minority Nurse: Emphasizing professional development and career resources, Minority Nurse offers career-planning tools for nursing students. The nursing statistics page delivers demographic breakdowns of the profession by race, ethnicity, education level, and other metrics. The organization also provides a scholarship database and links to professional associations.

  • American Association of Colleges for Nursing Student Resources: AACN offers a comprehensive assortment of tools for nursing students, including financial aid resources, career planning guidance, student nursing webinars, a nursing school application service, and job interview tips.

  • Discover Nursing: Hosted by Johnson & Johnson, Discover Nursing supports aspiring nurses and nursing students. The website offers tools including NCLEX preparation, a job board, and resume and interview preparation assistance. The organization also provides information about financial aid for accelerated nursing programs, finding scholarships, and education and career planning.

  • Nurse Corps: Managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Nurse Corps offers scholarships or loan repayments in exchange for a two-year commitment to nursing in a critically underserved area. Nursing student scholarships include tuition, fees, miscellaneous costs such as uniforms and books, and a monthly living stipend.