Federal Grants for Nursing Students


Federal Grants for Nursing Students and Nurses
There are many reasons nurses and nursing students should consider federal grants. They can be used for a multitude of purposes such as paying for education or getting funding to implement a research project.  Regardless of the reason, grants from the federal government typically do not have to be repaid as long as grant agreement requirements have been met.

Following below are grant programs administered by the federal government that might be of interest to nursing students and nurses.

Federal Nursing Education Grants

Multiple federal grant opportunities exist to help nursing students pay for their education.  Unlike loans, grants generally do not have repayment requirements. There may be stipulations on how you can use the grant money which will be outlined in your award letter or grant agreement. The following federal program offers nursing education grants to eligible students.

Indian Health Scholarship Program (IHS)

Nursing students who are American Indian or Alaska Natives can apply for education grants to help pay for nursing school.  There are three primary education grants available under this program.  The Preparatory Scholarship pays for the courses necessary to prepare students for a nursing education.  This can include improving basic math and science skills. The Pre-Graduate Scholarship pays for the tuition of a four-year degree program that leads to an advanced education program. The Health Professions Scholarship pays for tuition and living expenses for nursing school.  This opportunity is restricted to graduate students and undergraduate students in their junior or senior years. Award amounts vary.  Applications are due the first quarter of each calendar year.  These are service-obligation grants so students must be willing to work in underserved areas after graduating from college.  For applications and guidelines, contact the Program at 801 Thompson Avenue, TMP-450, Rockville, MD 20852 or by calling (301) 443-6197.

Federal Nursing Research Grants (AHRQ)

Nurses and nursing students may be eligible to apply for various research grants that are offered by the federal government. These grants often require you to follow rigorous research guidelines and have access to high-tech research equipment. You may have to have written permission from your employer to apply for research grants. The following agency offers grants for research activities in healthcare-related fields including nursing.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Through this agency the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an excellent resource for post-graduate nursing students as well as nurses who are interested in obtaining grant support for a particular area of study or research. Students can apply to the AHRQ Grants for Health Services Research Dissertation Program for funds to support research projects in collaboration with your educational or nursing institution. Full-time students enrolled in accredited colleges and universities in an eligible health services area of study qualify for this grant. Grant awards are $400,000 for a 9-17 month period. Awards are contingent upon documented approval of your dissertation proposal by your educational review committee by the time grants are awarded. Students interested in learning more about grants available can contact the Agency at 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850 or by calling (301) 427-1364.

Federal Nursing Program Grants

The government also offers program grants that nurses may be eligible to receive if they work in an environment in which they oversee a specific healthcare program. Nurses interested in establishing a specific program may also qualify for federal grants for program start-up. The following is an example of a federal program grant opportunity that nurses may be interested in applying to in collaboration with their employer.

Health Resources and Services Administration

Nurses who work in various settings and have direct contact with patients may apply to the Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Demonstration Program. The overarching goal of this program is to fund pilot projects that improve how patients can take advantage of various services offered by their healthcare provider. The intent is to better connect patients with preventative care services and opportunities that are available to them but they may be unaware of or unsure how to access them.  Grant awards are $450,000. Application deadlines vary. As with many federal grant programs, this program is not open to new applications each year so it is important to regularly check for updates on availability. For additional information, nurses can contact the Administration at (301) 443-5688.

Federal Nursing Business Grants

Nurses or nursing students who own their own business may be eligible for business-related grants from the government. Generally, federal grants will only help with the research and development components of a business idea, not actual business startup. The following is an example of a business grant that nurses and nursing students may be eligible for if they meet all stated requirements.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

These grants are available from every department and agency within the federal government. And each department is responsible for administering its own SBIR programs. This includes when they publish Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) or Request for Proposals (RFPs). Several departments allow SBIR grant requests to be submitted at any time. SBIR grants are available in two phases.  Phase I is a short-term grant project that focuses on concept development and research design. Most awards for Phase I are about $150,000 for between 6-12 months.  Phase II is the implementation phase which can last for 2 years. Depending upon the awarding agency, these grants range from $750,000 to $1,000,000.

Nursing students and nurses are eligible for this grant as long as they have a legally formed business which can be a one-person sole proprietorship.  Various agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administer individual SBIR programs. The National Institutes of Health’s SBIR Program may be of particular interest to nurses and nursing students because all of its national institutes and centers participate in the program so there are many opportunities for grant funding.  To learn more about this federal opportunity, contact the NIH SBIR Program Office at (301) 435-2688.

Federal grants can be used by nursing students to pay for their education or cover costs associated with nursing-related projects. Grants awarded by the government can provide significant financial assistance to qualified students and nurses.

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