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Using Military Benefits to Get a BSN or MSN

Higher Education Articles November 24, 2013

If you are a Registered Nurse (RN) with military benefits and experience, and you have not yet earned your advanced nursing degree, then you will be happy to know there are ways you can use your experience and benefits to earn either your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. At this stage in your life, as a busy nursing professional who is likely already managing a family, career, and other obligations, you may think it’s not possible financially — but money is available in the form of scholarships, grants, and living stipends for nurses to pursue advanced nursing degrees. The nursing shortage is a documented fact in the U.S., but perhaps less well-known is the shortage of advanced practice nurses who can fill the roles of nurse educators and nurse practitioners.

5 Ways to Use Your Military Benefits to Get a BSN, MSN

Here are five programs that allow Registered Nurses to use their military benefits and/or experience to earn a BSN, MSN or other advanced nursing degree.

U.S. Army Active Nurse Corps Program

The U.S. Army Active Nurse Corps Program is classified as a scholarship or forgivable loan, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. The program offers the opportunity for undergraduate nurses to earn a BSN, as well as the following benefits: $5,000 bonus at the beginning of the program, plus a $5,000 bonus at graduation, and a monthly stipend of $1,000 during the months of full-time enrollment in a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education– or National League for Nursing– accredited nursing program.

U.S. Army AMEDD Enlisted Commissioning Program

The U.S. Army AMEDD Enlisted Commissioning Program is listed as a scholarship or forgivable loan, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. The program offers the opportunity for active or reserve Army enlisted soldiers who are between the ages of 21-42 to earn a BSN, as well as the following benefits: up to $9,000 per academic year for tuition; up to $1,000 per academic year for books; and full pay and allowances, including eligibility for promotions.

Funded Nurse Education Program

The Funded Nurse Education Program is listed as a scholarship or forgivable loan, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. The program offers the opportunity for Army officers on active duty to earn a BSN or MSN, as well as the following benefits: $12,000 per year for tuition, books, and fees; and full pay and allowances.

U.S. Army Reserve Nurse Corps Program

The U.S. Army Reserve Nurse Corps Program is listed as a scholarship or forgivable loan, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. The program is available for associate degree/diploma nurses currently enrolled in an accredited BSN program and offers a monthly stipend of more than $1,900. Note that participants incur a one-year obligation to serve in the Army Reserve for each six months or less of financial assistance.

Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program

The Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program is classified as a scholarship or forgivable loan, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System, with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Scholarships are provided by the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). The program provides students with a monthly stipend for living expenses while they attend the school of their choice. Since the stipend amount increases from year to year, it’s important to check with your local Health Professions Recruiter for the most current number.

One Way to Start Your Search

Before you start exploring the best program that meets your experience, benefits, and career path, check into the U.S. Government’s Federal Student Aid program. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known by its acronym FAFSA, is an important first step to help determine your eligibility for federal student loans that you may need if scholarships, grants, and living stipends don’t cover your full expenses. Whenever you apply for financial aid with any school, you must fill out the FAFSA, so if you have it done ahead of time, that’s one less thing to be concerned about in your pursuit of an advanced nursing degree using your military benefits and experience.

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