Nursing Education Scholarship Program

Purpose

The goal of the Nursing Education Scholarship Program is to increase the number of nurses available for employment in Illinois by offering scholarships to overcome financial barriers to education. The program provides financial assistance to qualified individuals pursuing a certificate in practical nursing, an associate degree in nursing, a hospital-based diploma in nursing, a baccalaureate degree in nursing, or a graduate degree in nursing.

General Program Information

The application submission period is March 1, 2017 through April 30, 2017. If you mail an application to IDPH, it must be received by April 30, 2017. Applications received after April 30, 2017 will not be accepted. Applications postmarked by April 30, 2017 but received by IDPH after April 30, 2017 will not be accepted. Applications submitted through the on-line process will be accepted until April 30, 2017.

The scholarship pays for coursework within the nursing curriculum for which the recipient is funded; it does not pay for pre-requisite coursework. The expense for coursework applied to another degree will not be paid nor will it be considered when determining eligibility for a stipend.

Applicants who have other scholarship or loan funds that require a service commitment that prevent the applicant from meeting the nurse employment or nurse educator employment obligation of this program are ineligible to receive scholarship funds.

Applicants who are in default on other educational loans and/or scholarships received from state or federal funds are not eligible to receive these scholarship funds.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to notify program staff if any information on their application changes.

Submitting an application and having it deemed complete DOES NOT guarantee a scholarship.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a scholarship an applicant must:

  1. Be a resident of Illinois for at least one year prior to application;
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States;
  3. Be enrolled in or accepted for admission to a nursing program in Illinois that isapproved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.Approved schools can be found by clicking on Illinois Approved NursingEducation Programs under RESOURCES in the right-hand column;
  4. Demonstrate financial need based on the applicant’s Student Aid Report; and
  5. Agree to the nurse employment or nurse educator employment obligation.

Application

To be considered for the scholarship, an applicant must submit:

  1. A scholarship application prior to the submission deadline;
  2. A copy of your enrollment or acceptance letter to an approved nursing program;
  3. A copy of your Illinois driver's license or state-issued identification card;
  4. A copy of your notarized birth certificate, or documentation you are anaturalized citizen, or documentation you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.;
  5. Your latest official transcripts which indicate your cumulative grade pointaverage. Transcripts must be received by IDPH directly from the school or havebeen issued to the applicant in a sealed envelope, which shall remain sealed untilits arrival at IDPH. Transcripts must include the institution's official seal, thedate the transcript was issued, and the registrar's signature. Transcripts that donot conform to these requirements will not be accepted;
  6. Your current Student Aid Report (SAR) from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that indicates your Estimated Financial Contribution. A current SAR is required even if you are not eligible for or have not applied for other financial assistance;
  7. A copy of your current Illinois nursing license (if applicable); and
  8. Your signed Confirmation and Release form (the form is attached to the e-mailyou will receive from IDPH when your application is submitted).

For assistance with your SAR, visit your school's financial aid office, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov, or call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Distribution of Scholarships

Scholarship awards are distributed as follows:

  1. 40 percent for students pursuing a baccalaureate degree in nursing;
  2. 30 percent for students pursuing an associate degree or a hospital-based diploma in nursing;
  3. 20 percent for students pursuing a graduate degree in nursing; an
  4. 10 percent for students pursuing a certificate in practical nursing.

Selection Criteria

For applicants pursuing a certificate, diploma, or degree to become a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or advanced practice nurse, recipients will be selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Current recipients requesting a scholarship renewal receive preference.
  2. If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of scholarships to beawarded, priority will be given to applicants who:
    1. Demonstrate financial need, as shown on a current SAR, who will pursue their education on a full-time or close to full-time basis and who already have a certificate in practical nursing, a diploma in nursing, or an associate degree in nursing and are pursuing a higher degree; and
    2. Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

In the event of a tie, applicants having the fewest number of credit hours remaining to complete the certificate, diploma, or degree will be awarded scholarships.

For applicants pursuing a graduate degree in nursing to become a nurse educator:

  1. Current recipients requesting a scholarship renewal receive preference.
  2. If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of scholarships to beawarded, priority will be given to applicants who:
    1. Demonstrate financial need, as shown on a current SAR, who will pursue their education on a full-time or close to full-time basis and already have a baccalaureate degree in nursing and are pursuing a higher degree; and
    2. Are registered nurses pursuing a graduate degree in nursing to obtain employment in an approved institution that educates licensed practical nurses and registered nurses in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs; and
    3. Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

In the event of a tie, applicants having the fewest number of credit hours remaining to complete the degree will be awarded scholarships.

Number of Years of Scholarship Funding

The number of years a recipient is eligible to receive funding is based on the certificate, diploma, or degree being pursued. The maximum years are:

YEARS OF SCHOLARSHIP FUNDING
Certificate, Diploma, or Degree Year(s) of Scholarship Assistance
Certificate in Practical Nursing One Academic Year
Associate Degree in Nursing Two Academic Years
Hospital-based Diploma in Nursing Three Academic Years
Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing Four Academic Years
Graduate Degree in Nursing Five Academic Years
Graduate Degree in Nursing (to become a Nurse Educator) Three Academic Years

Scholarship Amounts

Full-time students may receive the following for an academic year:

SCHOLARSHIP AMOUNTS
Institution Tuition and Fees (estimate) Stipend (estimate)
Public Colleges or Universities $11,177 $4,875
Community College, Hospital-based School of Nursing, or School of Practical Nursing $3,118 $4,875

Students attending private colleges and universities receive the same amount of assistance as students attending public institutions.

Scholarship awards for part-time students are determined by applying the ratio of part-time enrollment to full-time enrollment to the average per-term scholarship amount for a student in the same nursing degree category. Part-time students are ineligible for the stipend.

Grant Agreement

Prior to receiving scholarship funding for any academic year, the recipient must sign a grant agreement with the State of Illinois. The agreement states that the recipient agrees to work at a medical facility in Illinois providing direct patient care as a licensed practical nurse, registered professional nurse, or advanced practice nurse. For individuals who pursued a graduate degree in nursing to be a nurse educator, the recipient must teach nursing students at an approved institution in Illinois.

Repayment of Scholarship Obligation

Repayment of the scholarship obligation to the State of Illinois may be achieved by:

  1. Working at a medical facility in Illinois as a licensed practical nurse, registeredprofessional nurse, or advanced practice nurse, providing direct patient care; oras a nurse educator teaching at an approved institution; or
  2. By monetarily repaying the obligation.

Following graduation and licensing, a recipient is required to be employed on a full-time or a part-time basis. For individuals who pursued a certificate in practical nursing, an associate degree in nursing, a baccalaureate degree in nursing, or a graduate degree in nursing to become an advanced practice nurse, the recipient must work at a medical facility in Illinois providing direct patient care. The service obligation must equal the amount of scholarship assistance received. For example, if a recipient received one academic year of assistance, the recipient must work at a medical facility providing direct patient care in Illinois for one year. For individuals who pursued a graduate degree in nursing to be a nurse educator, the recipient must work at an approved institution in Illinois teaching nursing students. The recipient must work two years for each year of scholarship assistance received.

Full-time employment means providing direct patient care or working as a nurse educator for 35 hours or more per week for weekday shifts or at least 24 hours per weekend shift. Part-time employment means providing direct patient care or working as a nurse educator for a minimum of 17.5 hours and up to 34 hours per week.

Fulfillment of the employment obligation must be within a time period that does not exceed twice the number of months covered by the scholarship, as illustrated in the following table:

Scholarship Basis Employment Obligation
Full-time Employment Part-time Employment
One Academic Year (semester/trimester basis)

Per term, full-time student

6 months 12 months

Per term, part-time student

3 months 6 months
One Academic Year (quarter basis)

Per term, full-time student

4 months 8 months

Per term, part-time student

2 months 4 months
Summer Term

Per term, full-time student

3 months 6 months

Per term, part-time student

1.5 months 3 months
NOTE: The total nursing employment obligation for any one academic year will not exceed 12 months of full-time employment.

License pending status – Employment while in “license pending” status does not meet the employment obligation of this scholarship.

For recipients holding a current Illinois nurse license prior to graduation, the scholarship obligation is met by employment subsequent to receipt of the degree for which the scholarship was received.

Monetary repayment - A recipient who fails to meet any term(s) of the grant agreement is in default and will be required to monetarily repay the scholarship to lDPH. Repayment is as follows: for each year not met by the nursing employment (or nurse educator employment) obligation, recipient will repay IDPH the total amount of scholarship funds received plus seven percent interest per year on the unpaid balance. Cash repayment must begin within six months following the date of the default and must be completed within six years.

Deferment of Scholarship Obligation

The nursing employment (or nurse educator employment) obligation may be deferred by review of a written statement from the recipient to IDPH when failure to fulfill the employment obligation results from:

  1. Involuntarily leaving the profession due to a decrease in the number of nursesemployed in the state; or
  2. Enlisting for up to four years in military service, before or after graduation, andbefore completion of the obligation. Within 30 days following completion ofactive duty, the recipient will begin meeting his/her employment obligation.

In addition to the above-referenced requirements, IDPH may allow a nurse educator employment obligation fulfillment alternative if the recipient is unsuccessful in finding work as a nurse educator.

Waiver of Scholarship Obligation

The nursing employment or nurse educator employment obligation is waived if the failure to fulfill the obligation is the result of the recipient's:

  1. Total and permanent disability; or
  2. Adjudication as incompetent; or
  3. Death.

Recipient Responsibilities

Upon graduation, a recipient must provide a copy of his/her certificate, diploma, or degree to IDPH.

Recipient must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and provide a copy of his/her Illinois nurse license to IDPH.

Recipient must meet the required nursing employment obligation, nurse educator employment obligation, or monetarily repay the funds.

Recipient should consult a tax preparer regarding the potential tax obligations resulting from this award.

Questions regarding the scholarship may be directed to:

Illinois Department of Public Health
Center for Rural Health
Nursing Education Scholarship Program
535 West Jefferson Street, Ground Floor
Springfield, IL 62761-0001
Telephone: 217-782-1624 or 1-800-821-3635
TTY (hearing impaired use only) 1-800-547-0466
E-mail: dph.nesp@illinois.gov