Recent statistics published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov) indicate that the healthcare industry is responsible for 20% of new job creation. Specifically, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has indicated a shortage of work-ready nurses that are currently growing. The current lack of nurses is due to the growing life expectancy rates of many Americans. For individuals looking for a stable career with good pay and opportunities for growth, the nursing shortage has created a viable work opportunity. For students eager to begin their nursing career, there is a plethora of funding resources available to help students meet their goals.
State Assistance Programs for Nursing Students
Rather than beginning at the national level, a student interested in nursing funding should first seek out programs at the state level. The AACN lists several states that have programs specifically to help aspiring nurses achieve their goals. For example, a state program in Pennsylvania provides state grants, which are matched by organizations in the private sector.
In addition to government programs, many individual corporations, specifically those in the healthcare field have taken the responsibility of seeing that nurses go to college. For instance, Inova has provided scholarships of over $7,000 to more than 50 students in Virginia; in addition, money for additional student resources at Shenandoah University. It is not uncommon for local hospitals to partner with institutions in the area to provide a fellowship program to nursing students who may work for the organization for a number of years after graduation.
Department of Labor Grants
More than $200 million dollars has been made available by the United States Department of Labor to assist local educational centers, including community college, to provide nursing education programs. In certain cases, students may even be eligible for a scholarship to enroll in one of the programs.
Department of Health and Human Services
For aspiring nurses who commit to working in an area that is experiencing a high nursing shortage, such as Alaska, complete funding may be available. The United States Department of Health and Human Services offers grants which cover basic educational costs including tuition, books and even a monthly living stipend to nursing students. Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in nursing; recipients of grants work in an area experiencing nursing shortage for a minimum of two years.
Though the nursing shortage is a problem, students can decrease the shortage and earn a good career opportunity by taking advantage of the programs above.