Many people find that they are unable to pursue their dreams due to a lack of funding for their studies. Money really should be the last thing standing in your way when trying to gain an education which could lead you to a lucrative and rewarding career. This is especially true in the case of prospective registered nurses (RNs) since it is such a noble occupation to choose for oneself. RNs are involved in providing and coordinating care for patients, educating patients as well as the general public, and providing emotional support to their patients and their patients’ families. They can also take on more authoritative roles within the legal and managerial aspects of health care industries.
It should be comforting to know, then, that there are numerous RN grants available for which you can apply in order to study at absolutely no cost. This helps to eliminate the pressure of having to repay a loan, or not being able to afford your textbooks, thereby allowing you to focus all your energy on your coursework. You will also find that grants for RNs may be more readily available than for other careers due to the higher demand for nurses as of late.
Will You Choose A Grant, Loan, Or Scholarship?
Firstly, you should know what the differences are between grants, loans, and scholarships. A loan is money that is being lent to you, which will need to paid back. Typically, you will only need to repay the loan once you have completed your studies and graduated, however be aware that interest may be added to the loan, so you will be paying back more than you borrowed.
A scholarship does not have to be paid back, and is awarded based on merit. This means that you will have to meet specific academic requirements in order to qualify for the scholarship, for example achieving a certain grade. Once it is awarded, you will also be expected to maintain a specific level of academic performance, which, if not met, may result in you having to pay back the scholarship amount.
A grant is financial aid which you will also not have to pay back, and is provided by non-profit organizations. Filling in applications for grants take up quite a bit of time and you will need to research a number of aspects such as your tax information and your parents’ income; you will also need to detail all the information of the course or degree for which you want the grant so that the organization who is awarding the grant can be sure that the funds are being utilized correctly.
An Example Of An RN Grant
The Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant Program
Washington D.C., 20044
The Federal Pell Grant program is one of the most popular grant programs; it was started by the Federal Student Aid, which is an office of the United States Department of Education. These grants are designed to help students with a financial need to pay for their cost at college so that their education is not hindered by their lack of finances. These grants are mostly awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet obtained a bachelor’s or professional degree, although as with everything, there are exceptions.
The amount that will be granted to you will vary depending on your needs and the college at which you wish to study, but the Department of Education’s website indicates that these amounts can range from $486 to $5 550, the latter being the maximum amount that was awarded for the 2012-2013 award year (the award year runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013).
As mentioned previously, the amounts can change annually and will vary depending on a number of aspects. These are:
- Your financial need: This is the calculated as the difference between your cost of attendance (COA) of your school or college, and your expected family contribution (EFC). The COA not only includes tuition, but also your books and living costs. SO basically, they want you or your parents to contribute to the costs, and then the grant will hopefully cover the rest.
- Your cost of attendance.
- Your status as a full-time or part-time student.
- Your plans to attend school for a full academic year, or for less.
How this usually works is that after successfully being awarded the grant, your college will apply those funds to your tuition, additional fees (such as textbooks), and your room and board if you are living on campus. Any money which is left over from that will go to you , either in the form of a check, cash, a credit to your bank account, or any other method which is agreed upon (in some instances you will be able to choose the method which best suits you. This left over money can then be used for any other expenses which you may have.
The Iraq And Afghanistan Service Grant
This is a grant designed to help students who meet all the above requirements but whose EFC is too high. You will be eligible for this grant if:
- you meet all the Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements, except on the basis of your EFC, and
- your parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces who died as a result of his or her military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11, and
- you were under the age of 24 or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of your parent’s or guardian’s death.
The maximum amount is the same as the maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year; however it may not exceed your cost of attendance for that year.
The payment procedure is also the same as for the Federal Pell Grant.
How To Fill In A Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Nearly any grant that you apply for will require you to complete a FAFSA; this can be done online or printed out and then sent through the mail. It is quite a process as you need to gather a lot of information in order for the United States Department of Education to determine whether you are eligible for student financial aid or not. Each application period is 18 months, and most of these aid programs will be awarded on a first come first serve basis. It is therefore recommended that you submit your FAFSA as early as you possibly can so that you can be chosen above others, and receive the maximum amount of financial aid.
Get A Federal Student Aid PIN
You will need this PIN number in order to sign your FAFSA electronically. You can get this as you fill in your FAFSA, or you can get it before you start.
Gather The Documents That Are Needed To Apply
Other than your name, date of birth, and address, you will need to include information about your financial situation. This may include:
- Your social security number, and your parents’ social security numbers if you are a dependent student.
- Your driver’s license number, only if you have one of course.
- Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a citizen of the U.S.
- Your federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information. If you are married then this is also needed for your spouse; and if you are a dependent student, this is also needed for your parents.
- Records of any untaxed income such as child support and interest income. Also include your parents’ records if you are a dependent student.
- Information on cash, savings and checking account balances, investments (this includes stocks, bonds, and real estate, but not including the home in which you live), and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student.
When including the information on your income records, make sure that you are doing so for the tax year prior to the academic year in which you plan to study; so if you are completing the 2012-13 FAFSA, your tax information should be for 2011. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is very helpful if you have already filed your taxes prior to completing the FAFSA as it will retrieve most of your tax information straight from the IRS and then will automatically include that information in your application form; this will save you a lot of time.
If you find that you have not yet done your taxes at the time of filling in your form, you can estimate the amounts based on your tax return for last year. However, remember to log back in and change any amounts that may be incorrect once you have filed your taxes for that year.
Schools That Offer RN Grants
You will also find that some schools or universities will offer their own grants to prospective students. One example of this is the School of Nursing at John Hopkins University.
Johns Hopkins University
School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
According to their website, in order to apply for this aid program you must:
- Be either a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen.
- Be enrolled in a degree program and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Register at least half time.
- Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
- Register with the Selective Service (if required) and have a valid Social Security Number.
- Be free of any convictions under federal or state law of possession or sale of illegal drugs.
When looking at the costs involved for a Summer-Entry or Fall-Entry Accelerated Bachelor’s Program, you will see that there is a lot of money which can be saved should you be successful in your grant application.
The Summer-Entry Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for the 13-month period (June 2012 to July 2012) is as follows:
- Tuition: $65,700
- Matriculation fee: $500
- Health Insurance: $3,584 (If you already have your own health insurance it is not necessary to do this through the school)
- Health Fee: $525
Estimated other expenses:
- Room and board: $19,124
- Books and supplies: $3,172
- Personal expenses: up to $2,100
- Travel expenses: up to $5,236
Total expenses: $99,941
The Fall-Entry Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for the 17-month period (August 2012-December 2013) adds up to an estimated total of $104,801.
This is just an example for you to see how much you will need in order to enroll in an RN program.
Being awarded a grant is a fantastic opportunity for you to get the education that you need, so do not take it lightly. Success in getting any types of RN grants should motivate you even further to excel in your area of choice. In lieu of the recent nursing shortage which has affected the quality of health care throughout the nation as a whole, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration are offering a large amount of grants (as well as scholarships) for nursing students and registered nurses who have already completed their schooling. Some of these will then require you to work in approved health care facilities which are short staffed due to the nursing shortage. This is done in an attempt to alleviate this shortage, and is an opportunity for you to give back to the community, in exchange for being able to have completed your studies for free.