Scholarships for Nursing Students in Minnesota

Many people dream of becoming nurses, yet their dream proves elusive. College gets more expensive every year. Some healthcare workers do make it as far as ADN status, but feel like it’s out of their reach to become a nurse-midwife or even earn a BSN. In all of these cases, grants and scholarships can prove useful.

Grants and scholarships are both sources of free schooling money; most of the time, in fact, the two words are used interchangeably. There are some exceptions. At the highest levels of education, grants are sometimes awarded for independent research. Minnesota does offer a few of these; organizations within the state obviously want to encourage nursing excellence. Whatever your current level of education, though, there are options worth exploring.

Nursing Scholarship Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota’s professional organizations have generous donors. The Minnesota Nurses Association Foundation offers a number of scholarships at both the BSN and MSN levels. Nursing students must be members of the professional organization and must turn in their application by June 1. Most scholarships are between $2,000 and $3,000 a year; the Cynthia Hunt-Lines Scholarship, which is awarded to a single parent BSN or MSN candidate, is worth $5,000. Scholarships are not renewed automatically, but awardees may reapply for a second year.

Criteria vary, but a number of the awards do mention leadership ability. The Rose Dheine Scholarship is for prospective nursing educators. The Sarah Colvin Social Justice Scholarship is for graduate nurses who have advocated for groups that face inequities: for example mentally ill patients, those who lack monetary resources, and those who have been victims of abuse.

The Minnesota Nurses Foundation also awards research grants to master’s and doctoral level nursing students. There are four application dates each year, on the 1st of January, April, June, and October.

The Tri-County Hospital Foundation also offers scholarships in their service area. The Frances E. Raatikkah Scholarship is for BSN students. Preference is given to current employees. The Jim Lawson Scholarship is for graduate students in healthcare. A service obligation is not required, but the scholarship committee does favor candidates who are likely to serve.

Colleges and universities also have endowments and other school-specific scholarships. Some, like the University of Minnesota’s Cynthia Kelley O’Neill & Louise Muller Fellowship in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing are open only to graduate students in particular nursing programs.

If you do have to take out a loan to pay for your nursing education, you may ultimately get it forgiven. Like many states, Minnesota has a loan forgiveness program for those who work in areas of very high need. For LPNs and RNs, the high needs areas are nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled. For advance practice nurses, the greatest need is in areas that are rural and underserved. This is because APRNs can deliver primary care. The minimum obligation is three years; a fourth year is optional. Applicants should realize that there is a competitive selection process. The state gives preference to prospective RNs who are in their final year of study and to APRNs who have demonstrated competence and suitability for the job.

Professional Advice When Applying for Scholarships

Application packets take time to prepare. They generally depend on information from others (the registrar, your supervisors and professors, even your parents). Make sure you begin the process early. Scholarship committees report that people often get themselves disqualified because of issues like missing information or wrong transcripts. Double check everything.

In some Minnesota nursing scholarship competitions, you are approaching the committee as not only a student but a potential employee. Programs like the Minnesota Loan Forgiveness will ask you to demonstrate that you understand the needs of the particular group of people with which you will be working.

Contact Information for Nursing Scholarships in Minnesota

Minnesota Nurses Association

345 Randolph Avenue #200
St. Paul, MN 55102

Website: mnnurses.org/programs/minnesota-nurses-association-foundation/mnaf-research-grants-and-scholarships

Tri-County Hospital Foundation

415 Jefferson Street North
Wadena, MN 56482

Website: tricountyhospital.org/foundation/foundation_scholarships.html

University of Minnesota Graduate Scholarships

Website: nursing.umn.edu/Foundation/Scholarships/GradScholarships/home.html

Minnesota Department of Health

Website: health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/funding/loans/index.html

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