Have you been considering entering an accelerated nursing program but have concerns about costs? You’re not alone – tuition and living expenses for these intensive programs can be steep. However, there are scholarship options available that can help make accelerated nursing degrees more financially feasible.

What are Accelerated Nursing Programs?

Before diving into scholarships, it’s important to define what an accelerated nursing program entails. These programs allow students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to obtain their MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) in 2 years or less, compared to the traditional 4 years for a BSN.

Accelerated BSN and MSN programs condense prerequisites and nursing coursework into a concentrated curriculum. Students take classes year-round, including summers, to graduate faster. The intensive course load requires significant time commitments.


Many accelerated programs are designed for individuals interested in a career change. They are also appealing options for career-minded students who don’t want to spend 4 years in undergraduate studies. The accelerated format gets new nurses into the workforce more quickly compared to traditional BSN pathways.

Costs of Accelerated Nursing Programs

Now that the structure of these programs is clear, let’s examine the associated costs. Tuition and living expenses for an accelerated MSN can range from $50,000 to well over $100,000 depending on the school and location. Some key factors influencing overall costs include:

  • Tuition: In-state public schools tend to have lower per-credit tuition rates than private colleges. However, their programs may be more competitive to gain admission. Expect to pay $500-800 per credit at public schools versus $800-1,200 per credit at private institutions.
  • Program length: Accelerated BSN programs take 2 years or less to complete compared to 4 years for a traditional BSN. This reduces the total number of semesters but may not lower overall costs if tuition remains the same each term.
  • Location: Urban areas usually have higher costs of living than suburban or rural communities. Housing, groceries, transportation and more will influence non-tuition costs.
  • Fees: Additional charges like student healthcare, technology, lab supplies, and more are common on top of base tuition rates.
  • Textbooks: Nursing textbooks are notoriously expensive, costing thousands per year. Renting vs. buying and shopping used marketplaces can help offset these costs.
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Clearly, financing an accelerated nursing degree requires serious planning. Scholarships provide much-needed assistance in making these intensive programs financially feasible.


General Nursing Scholarships

Before addressing scholarships specifically for accelerated nursing pathways, it’s worthwhile to explore more general nursing awards. These donations from professional organizations, private endowments, and foundations don’t always specify program type.

American Nurses Foundation Scholarships

The American Nurses Foundation (ANF) offers multiple annual scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 each. Selection criteria focus on GPA, leadership qualities, and service to the nursing community. 

The early deadline is typically in February, though some scholarships have later spring or summer deadlines. Make sure to check the ANF website for the full listing and specific requirements for each available award.


National Student Nurses’ Association Scholarships

The National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) provides scholarships for both traditional and accelerated BSN/MSN students. Awards vary between $500-$2,000 each. Students must be NSNA members in good standing to qualify.

The application period opens in October annually for the following academic year. Candidates are evaluated based on GPA, leadership experience, personal statement, and reference letters. NSNA scholarships do not specify degree program type.

Scholarships from Professional Organizations

Several major nursing organizations offer scholarships as well. A few examples include:

  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers $1,000 to $10,000 awards. The deadline is usually December.
  • Oncology Nursing Society gives $1,000-$5,000 per recipient. Look for deadlines in February/March.
  • The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses provides $500 to $2,500 depending on the award. Deadlines span from October to February.

Checking directly with specialty nursing associations can uncover additional opportunities. The requirements usually center around academics, career goals, and sometimes financial needs.

Accelerated Nursing Program Scholarships

There is a wide range of scholarships designed specifically for students in accelerated BSN and MSN programs:

Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future Scholarship

This renowned scholarship program provides substantial support of $10,000 per year for two years of full-time study. Candidates must demonstrate excellent academics and a commitment to nursing.

Application deadlines are between September and November annually with decisions released the following spring. Johnson & Johnson scholarships are highly competitive.

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Versant RN Acceleratedpath Scholarship

Versant, an online RN-to-BSN/MSN program, offers $2,000 to $5,000 one-time scholarships to accepted students. The priority deadline is usually in early spring ahead of a summer/fall start term. Recipients must enroll full-time at Versant.

Accelerated Second Degree BSN Scholarships

Many colleges that offer accelerated nursing pathways have internal scholarships specifically for these programs. Examples include:

  • Vanderbilt Accelerated Second Degree BSN Scholarship: up to $10,000 per student based on need/merit. May reapply annually.
  • Georgetown University Second Degree BSN Scholarship: one-time $5,000 scholarship for qualified applicants. Priority deadline early March.
  • University of Michigan Second Degree BSN Fund: awards up to $5,000 per student depending on availability. Must fill out FAFSA.

It’s important to check the financial aid website or contact the nursing admissions office at your accelerated program(s) of interest regarding institution-specific awards. The requirements vary between schools.

State Nursing Workforce Scholarships & Loan Forgiveness

Many states recognize the demand for more nurses by sponsoring scholarship and loan repayment programs. Funding is typically offered in exchange for a commitment to work as a nurse for a defined period in that state after graduation.

A couple of strong examples include:

  • California Promise Program: up to $10,000 awarded per year for tuition. Must work in-state for at least one year post-graduation for every year of funding received.
  • Oregon Nursing Service Scholarship: awards up to $20,000 total. You must work as an RN in Oregon for a minimum of two years after graduation.

Research if your state offers similar workforce incentives. The deadlines tend to fall during the winter and early spring application cycles for nursing programs. Meeting the service obligation keeps nurses employed locally.

Private Scholarships for Second-Degree Students

Additional private donors support the nursing field through local scholarships and foundations nationwide. Examples to keep an eye out for include:

  • Susan G. Komen Secondary Education Scholarship: awards $2,000-$10,000 specifically for accelerated/second-degree nursing candidates. The priority deadline is in March.
  • American Sentinel College Scholarship: provides one-time $2,500 scholarships for career-changers enrolled in an accelerated BSN program. Applications are typically due in early April.
  • Robert Michael Education Foundation Scholarship: awards up to $5,000 to undergraduate and graduate nursing students, especially non-traditional students. The deadline falls in the winter months.
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Networking with your nursing program, community organizations, and local hospitals may reveal additional local scholarships available as you piece together your funding strategy for accelerated nursing school.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve covered the major scholarship options, let’s address some common questions students may have:

How competitive are these scholarships?

Many accelerated nursing scholarships, especially large multi-year awards, receive hundreds of applicants each cycle. Maintaining a strong GPA, leadership experience, a compelling personal statement, and recommendation letters will help your application stand out. Be sure to proofread carefully and meet all requirements.

When should I start applying?

Set calendar reminders for scholarship deadlines starting 6-9 months before your anticipated accelerated program start date. Many require fall enrollment, so submit applications as early as possible – typically between September and April for the following academic year. Apply to both internal school awards and outside organizations concurrently.

What if I don’t win a scholarship?

Have a backup plan for funding your education if you don’t receive an award. Federal loans like Direct Plus or private student loans may help fill the gap if need-based grants and scholarships aren’t sufficient. Be realistic about estimated costs versus available resources as you weigh program options and timelines.

Can the scholarships be combined with other aid?

Yes, in most cases scholarships can be combined with additional sources of financial aid. Be sure to check for any specific restrictions and notify the Scholarship awarding organization and your school’s financial aid office about all funding you expect to use. This allows them to coordinate and prevent over-award situations.

What are my chances of winning multiple scholarships?

While it is ideal to obtain financial support from various sources, keep expectations realistic when aiming for numerous awards. Focus your efforts by prioritizing scholarships most closely aligned with your profile and goals. Strong candidates who strategically target the best-fitting opportunities have the best chance at multiple awards or larger total amounts.

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