Nurse Scholarships: a strategic tool for Healthcare | Edcor

Nurse Scholarships: a strategic tool for Healthcare

Nursing is a noble profession, at the same time it is a profession that requires highly skilled individuals to continuously update licensures and upskill to provide optimal patient care. It’s a known fact that Healthcare organizations with a higher percentage of nurses with BSN or higher degrees have lower mortality rates and better patient outcomes. However, the U.S. has 4.4 million Registered Nurses out of which only 65 percent have a baccalaureate degree. Like me, if you are wondering why this number isn’t higher, the data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing may hold some answers. The data shows that around 70% of nursing students enrolled in an MSN program have a federal student debt averaging $47,321. The average student loan burden on nursing students graduating with a BSN is around $23,711 and for a DNP it is a whopping $184, 787 – making financial barriers a discerning factor in nursing education.

Employer-funded education benefits like Tuition Assistance, Student Loan Repayment Assistance, and Scholarships can significantly bring these numbers down for Nurses. This is basically why most Healthcare organizations have one or more of these education benefits available for their workforce. The former two may bear consequences of repayment on repartition or employment tenure expectations, but Scholarship dollars do not have to be paid back adding charm to the benefit, and yet they offer strategic leverages. Here, we’ll be talking about how Scholarships are a vital education benefit for Nurses and how you can leverage it.

Read ABCs of Scholarships as an Education Benefit

Benefits of employer-funded Scholarships

Let’s delve into how employer-funded scholarships benefit learners. Degrees in Nursing can be expensive, especially advanced ones. By offering scholarships, organizations can help remove the financial barrier to higher education for nurses and encourage them to pursue their career aspirations.

  1. Foremost, Scholarships have a positive impact on college enrollment and completion rates. A report from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) shows that when low-income learners receive a merit-based scholarship their college enrollment rates increase by as much as 8 percentage points and completion rates by 6 percentage points.
  2. Scholarships alleviate the burden of Student Loan debt and reduce the ticket price of a degree by covering at least in part the cost of tuition, fees, and books and making it easier for nurses to pursue their educational goals.
  3. Scholarships for underrepresented groups have a positive net effect on Diversity in institutes of higher learning and in the management at organizations by providing access to education to low-income and diverse populations of society.
  4. Scholarships increase academic performance and reduce drop-out rates, especially merit-based scholarships for learners from low-income groups as shown in a study by NBER. Naturally, learners can focus on their academics better when they have less worry about finances.
  5. Scholarships when combined with tuition assistance and student loan repayment assistance take care of the financial health of learners. This particular factor determines where employees choose to stay.

Types of Nurse Scholarships

Now that I have you convinced of the benefits, let’s look at the different types of Nurse Scholarships.

  1. Academic or merit-based scholarships are awarded to the best and brightest based on past academic performance.
  2. Need-based scholarships are designed for learners from low-income groups who need substantial financial assistance to achieve their educational goals.
  3. Diversity-based scholarships are targeted at underrepresented or specific groups.
  4. Career-goal-oriented scholarships are targeted at specific areas of nursing, such as pediatric nursing or critical care nursing. By receiving a scholarship in their chosen field, nurses can gain the education and training they need to excel in their specialty and make a meaningful impact on patient care and take up leadership roles.
  5. Nursing student scholarships are offered by many nursing schools and healthcare organizations specifically for nursing students or working nurses who want to further their education.

Here’s what to do:

If you are a Healthcare organization looking to offer scholarships to your Nurses but don’t know what to do, keep reading.

The first step is to always calibrate the education level of the Nursing population and map their career pathways. Then support them with education benefits, of which scholarship is a key ancillary benefit that is gaining a lot of impetus in the Healthcare industry. There are several ways in which Healthcare organizations can and are supporting the higher education and upskilling goals of Nurses with the help of Scholarships. Based on our experience, here’s what you can do:

  1. To build a recruitment pipeline offer merit-based scholarships to Nursing students or Dependents of your staff pursuing a Nursing degree. You can provide these scholarships for the entire course of education or the last couple of years to have a recency effect. These scholarships can be targeted at schools in your geographic location. This also helps in upskilling your Nursing staff if they choose to use these schools as clinical sites.
  2. To retain highly qualified Nursing staff that may not benefit from a degree offer Dependent Scholarships for those pursuing a Healthcare-related degree. These scholarships can be offered to dependents of full-time employees with tenure of a certain number of years in the organization to stretch their longevity and association.
  3. To upskill Nurses in specific areas of the healthcare organization offer specialty-based scholarships.
  4. To enhance DEI and support low-income learners, organizations can offer diversity or need-based scholarships.

It’s worth mentioning that regardless of the type or strategic intent of the scholarship each of them will have the common elements of administration like the application process, letter(s) of recommendation, a baseline GPA cut-off,  enrollment verification, reviews, and finally cutting checks for the awards. The scholarship process, even though it sounds simple, is best handled by a third-party organization specialized in these services because of the IRS requirements for Grants to Individuals. Let the experts do the job for you. Edcor can design and administer a Scholarship program that hits one or more of the above-mentioned strategic points.

Rest assured that the ROI of these benefits is pretty high considering the attrition in the Healthcare industry and Nurse Shortage. To sum, Scholarships provide financial support, enable access to higher education, and allow nurses to specialize in their field of interest. Ultimately, this benefits the healthcare system as a whole by ensuring that nurses have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care to patients.

Edcor specializes in Healthcare and other Corporate Scholarships. When in doubt, give us a call!

  By Spardha Khera, Edcor

Edcor is a woman-owned business and is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For 40+ years, our customized service and solutions have allowed Fortune 500 Clients to use education benefits programs for employee recruiting, retention, and development.