Funding Your MSN to Become a Nurse Educator

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Many financial aid options are available to RNs seeking new roles.

Nurse educators play a crucial role in the future of healthcare, sharing their expertise, knowledge and skill in nursing schools and teaching hospitals to prepare the next generation of nursing experts. The shortage of nursing faculty means educators are in high demand.

Earning a master’s in nursing to become a nurse educator can be a costly undertaking, so some qualified registered nurses (RNs) may be reluctant to start a degree program. However, RNs who have their eyes on working as nurse educators do not have to give up their dreams due to financial constraints. Many financial aid options are available to RNs seeking new roles, including grants for nursing students and a federal initiative that supports nursing workforce programs.

“Today’s undersupply of appropriately prepared nurses and nurse faculty, as well as the projected loss of experienced nurses over the next decade, does not bode well for our nation,” the National League for Nursing (NLN) said. “Funding for nursing education is inconsistent with the healthcare reality facing our nation today. A strong nursing workforce is essential to a health policy that provides high-value care for every dollar invested in capacity building.”

RNs who have earned master’s in nursing degrees for MSN careers are in high demand throughout the nation. A growing number of financial-assistance programs are making it easier for RNs to become nurse educators.

Graduate Nursing School Financial Assistance

The first step for any nursing student seeking financial assistance for graduate education is to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, which helps determine eligibility for student aid. In many cases, a FAFSA application is required to be considered for grants, scholarships, work-study employment and student loans. Many universities also have financial aid programs, so speaking with the financial aid administrators is important.

In addition, there are several other resources to explore for financial assistance:

Federal Financial Aid Options

Nursing schools often offer loan and scholarship programs that are subsidized by state and federal governments. Some require repayment and others require post-graduation service commitments. They include:

Advance Nursing Education Traineeships

Offers financial aid to graduate nursing students for tuition, books, program fees and some living expenses.

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

Pays 60 percent of unpaid nursing debt over a two-year period with an option to extend to a third year. In exchange, RNs work in a designated critical-shortage location.

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

Provides fellowships to assist graduate nursing students who demonstrate financial need.

Nursing Student Loan Program

Provides a maximum $17,000 loan to nursing school students seeking graduate degrees.


Private Financial Aid Options

Healthcare stakeholders, including big businesses and healthcare organizations, provide private financial aid packages to nurses seeking graduate educations, including:

Tylenol Future Care Scholars

Awards both graduate and undergraduate healthcare students, including nurses, up to $10,000 for education.

NLN Foundation for Nursing Education Scholarship Awards

Provides scholarships to support the National League for Nursing’s mission to support a diverse nursing workforce.

Promise of Nursing Regional Faculty Fellowship

Designated to assist graduate-degree seeking RNs who plan to work as nurse educators.


Online Financial Aid Databases

Numerous larger nursing organizations have put together databases that detail information about scholarships for specific nursing specialties and degrees. They include the following:

Nurses Educational Fund

Offers information on more than 1,300 scholarships for advanced nursing degree students, including students pursuing nursing education programs.

Discover Nursing

Offers information on dozens of national scholarships for RNs who are seeking graduate-level degrees.

In addition to financial assistance through public and private entities, many nursing students can take advantage of federal Nursing Workforce Development programs, which provides financial support to nursing programs and students.

Nursing Workforce Development

The program, also known as Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development, started about 50 years ago to address nursing shortages. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It funds programs that support nursing education, such as:

  • Nurse education and retention grants
  • Healthcare education diversity grants
  • Nurse faculty loan programs
  • Nurse loan assistance and repayment programs

In June 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act, which renews funding for the program until 2022. The bipartisan bill supports the advancement of educational programs for skilled nurses and offers education grants to support nurse specialists and clinical nurse leaders. The bill has been forwarded to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

MSN Nurse Educator Degree Options

RNs considering careers as nurse educators have several options to finance a degree program. At the same time, an online master’s in nursing provides the best return on investment for students.

Online degrees allow students to continue their professional and personal responsibilities. Graduates from Duquesne University’s online master’s in nursing earn the same degree as on-campus students. Duquesne University has been repeatedly recognized as a best value in undergraduate and graduate education.

About Duquesne University’s Master of Science in Nursing

Duquesne University’s online master’s in nursing programs prepare RNs in all stages of their careers to become nurse educators. The university offers both an MSN degree and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education and Faculty Role. The university provides one-on-one faculty support to encourage academic success at every step.

The National League for Nursing (NLN) has recognized the university as a Center for Excellence. The university’s MSN in Nursing Education and Faculty Role prepares graduates for the Certification for Nurse Educators (CNE) exam. For more information, contact Duquesne University today.



Testimony Regarding Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations for the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs March 8, 2017: NLN

3 Steps to Getting Financial Aid: College Board

Funding Resources for Future Nurse Educators: AACN

Nursing Workforce Development: APNA

Legislation Will Authorize Critical Health Workforce Programs: House Energy and Commerce Committee

H.R.959 – Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2018: Congress