Scholarships for CNA Students

ASO Staff Writers
Updated November 16, 2023
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Pay for School: CNA Financial Aid and Scholarships

Certified nursing assistants are in high demand, which is why it’s important that students interested in pursuing a CNA education have access to financial aid, scholarships and other programs devoted to helping those who want to enter the field pay for school. This guide is designed to help students interested in this fast-growing field by providing information on tuition assistance, financial aid, scholarships and more.

In addition to financial aid offered on the state and federal level, CNA students can also seek out specialty scholarships that focus solely on funding certified nursing assistant education. These scholarship opportunities are a great place to begin.

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Private Financial Aid and Scholarships

plusCerner Nursing Assistant of the Year Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

A scholarship program from Cerner and the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) that gives nursing assistants who are either planning to enroll or are currently enrolled in a degree program. A panel reviews applicants based on work ethic and dedication to the CAN profession, and applicants must have at least one year of work experience in the long-term care industry for a licensed long-term care facility.

plusCertified Nursing Assistant Scholarship, Illinois

Amount: $500

Provided by the Mercer Foundation for Health, this scholarship is for students from a qualifying high school studying to become certified nursing assistants. Upon completion of a CNA program, students must work at a one of several specific healthcare facilities in Mercer County, Illinois. The application deadline is mid-to-late March.

General Nursing Financial Aid and Scholarships

plusCaroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Daughters of the Revolution offers a one-time scholarship award to one student of financial need who is enrolled in an accredited nursing school. Scholarship applications are due in early-to-mid February and consist of an essay, transcript, at least two letters of recommendation, proof of citizenship, list of extracurricular activities and completion of the Financial Need form.

plusFNSNA Scholarship Program

Amount: Between $1,000 and $7,500

The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association, Inc. offers a series of scholarships to students working toward an undergraduate or graduate nursing degree or diploma. Students have until mid-January to complete their scholarship applications. Recipients are chosen based on involvement in the nursing community, financial need and academic performance.

plusNurse Corps Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Certified nursing assistants who live and work in areas with a healthcare workforce shortage are eligible for this scholarship program, which covers tuition, fees and reasonable costs, as well as provides a monthly stipend. In return, graduates agree to work in the HPSA for at least two years.

Government Funded Aid Programs for CNA Students

There are many government-sponsored financial assistance opportunities and free training programs available to aspiring CNAs. Here’s a rundown of what aspiring students might find during their search for government CNA funding.

  • Job Corps

    The Job Corps offers free CNA training programs at many of their centers across the nation. Training typically includes basic living allowances, clothing allowances and job placement. Some centers require students to live at the Job Corps Center while training, others require students live off-campus. Some programs will also provide child care for students with kids. For those who are lacking a GED or equivalent, Job Corps can also help students get their high school credential before starting their CNA program.

    Find a Job Corps Center Near You

  • Health Professional Shortage Area (Hpsa) Programs

    States across the nation are becoming more dedicated to relieving the shortage of healthcare professionals, combating the problem by offering admissions assistance, financial aid and other tuition assistance to the EMT, LPN and CNA programs in exchange for future work commitments through Health Professional Shortage Area programs. Look up clinics in these eligible shortage areas below to inquire about their CNA student opportunities individually

    Find Eligible Health Professional Shortage Areas Near You

  • Medicare / Medicaid Service Based Tuition Reimbursement

    Some states offer tuition reimbursement for certified nursing assistants who are hired by a Medicaid or Medicare approved facility within 12 months of graduation. Costs covered typically include tuition, fees, books, and registration and competency examination fees. Some programs have other special requirements and limits on the amount of money that can be reimbursed, so be sure to check before making a commitment.

Workforce Investment Act Programs

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) is a federal law enacted in 1998 to improve the workforce of the United States. Since then, then WIA has been updated and renewed and is now sometimes referred to as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The WIA/WIOA workforce improvement goals are implemented by state and local investment programs. Given the growing healthcare sector, many state and local initiatives have included training individuals to be certified nursing assistants.

Pay for School: Additional Aid Programs for CNA Students

Financial aid scholarships are a great way to help pay for college, but CNA students should look for other sources of funding that could lower their bottom line and make college more affordable. Many schools offer payment plans and aid programs for enrolled students, while other organizations offer more standard financial aid options like grants and sponsored training programs. Many long-term care facilities, nursing homes and hospice companies also offer free CNA training in exchange for work. Here are a handful of examples of the types of financial help programs to look for locally and regionally.

School Payment Plans

For a $25 enrollment fee, CNA students can spread their tuition over three payments. For a $45 enrollment fee, there is the option of spreading tuition over six payments. Regardless of which plan is chosen, there is no interest charge. There is also an insufficient funds fee of $30.

CTI allows students to pay 50% of their tuition before classes begin, but the remaining balance must be paid before the final written exam. In order to use this payment plan, students must pay a $30 administrative fee. The plan is not available to online students and is available for tuition costs only.
In order to use this plan, students must pay a $25 enrollment fee for each semester the payment plan is used. Depending on when the student enrolls in the payment plan, a down payment will not be required and the tuition balance can be paid off monthly.
Life Solutions for Health’s payment plan
Life Solutions for Health allows students to pay their tuition in weekly installments through Paypal. However, an initial deposit for tuition is required and the student will be responsible for any Paypal fees.
This plan allows students to pay tuition costs in what amounts to three payments. A refundable deposit is due at the time of registration, with the “first” tuition payment due two weeks after classes begin and the final payment due four weeks after classes begin. There is no additional fee or interest charge to use the payment plan.
This academy offers a payment plan option to qualified students. Normally tuition must be paid in full before classes begin, but qualified students can break their tuition bill into three payments, plus a $20 installment payment servicing fee.


plusBureau of Health Workforce Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

Amount: Varies

The grants provided by the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students vary by health specialty and school. This link takes students to the list of active grants and their details by state and school. Each has different requirements, honors different award amounts and has different deadlines.

plusGilbert Matching Student Grant Program

Amount: Between $200 and $2,500 per year

The state of Massachusetts provides funds to participating schools, especially those which have nursing programs. Eligible students must be Massachusetts residents, attend class full time, meet basic academic standards and have proven financial need.

plusMoraine Park Technical College’s CNA Boot Camp

Amount: Free tuition

This college offers accelerated training for certified nursing assistants. As a result of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Round 4 Grant, eligible students learn for free.

plusNYC Workforce 1 Individual Training Grant

Amount: $3,800

ITGs are only granted for short term training, such as programs to become certified nursing assistants. In order to be eligible to receive an ITG, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be actively searching for a job and have an up-to-date resume.

plusWorkforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program

Amount: Varies

Monetary Amount: Up to the total cost of attendance or $19,000, whichever is less. This program is designed to help students who plan on entering fields that have worker shortages, including nursing. Award decisions are based on merit and financial need factors.

Private Paid Training Program

plusCompass Health CNA Classes

Tuition Cost: None

CNA classes are offered for free to employees of Compass Health, a healthcare provider in California with facilities dedicated to skilled nursing care, extended care and more. The three-month training program allows hands-on experience while providing all the benefits of a typical healthcare position, including benefits.

plusFair Acres Geriatric Center

Tuition Cost: None

This long-term care facility in Delaware offers CNA training to potential employees. Training lasts four weeks, and includes daily classes, skill labs and clinical hours. Students who complete training will have the opportunity to sit for the American Red Cross Certification Test and enroll in the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry.

plusFinger Lakes Health CNA Program

Tuition Cost: None

Those who work for long term care facilities under the Finger Lakes Health umbrella are eligible for the CNA program. The program is four weeks in length, covering 138 hours of classroom, lab and clinical instruction. Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take the New York State certification examination.

plusGenesis Healthcare

Tuition Cost: None

Genesis Healthcare offers over 500 facilities in 34 states. Those who work at Genesis can earn their CNA certification while working part-time, full-time or per diem for the system, then move into CNA employment at any one of the open positions throughout those 34 states.

plusGreater Philadelphia Healthcare Partnership

Tuition Cost: Varies

The GPHP offers discounted training for those who want to enter pre-nursing or CNA programs at partner schools in the greater Philadelphia area, including some areas of New Jersey and Delaware. Potential academic offerings include those at Drexel University, Community College of Pennsylvania, Jefferson University and many more.

plusGreater Philadelphia Healthcare Partnership

Tuition Cost: Varies

The GPHP offers discounted training for those who want to enter pre-nursing or CNA programs at partner schools in the greater Philadelphia area, including some areas of New Jersey and Delaware. Potential academic offerings include those at Drexel University, Community College of Pennsylvania, Jefferson University and many more.

Healthcare Training Collaborative

Tuition Cost: None

This CNA training offered through the Saint Antoine Community of Rhode Island is free of charge to those who qualify under income guidelines. Focused on under skilled and under employed individuals, the program has trained over 325 students since 2007. Classes are offered in January, April and September of each year.

National Nonprofit Organization Training Programs

plusGoodwill CNA Program

Tuition Cost: None

This program is offered by Goodwill Industries in several states. The eight-week course of study includes hands-on training, lab instruction and classroom sessions. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to sit for the certification exam. This is offered to welfare-to-work clients.

plusRed Cross Nurse Assistant Training

Tuition Cost: $1,395

The Red Cross offers CNA training to those who meet the entry requirements, such as a clean background check and minimum age of 16. The cost of the Nurse Assistant Competency Certification Exam is included in the tuition. Grants are available to those who meet income requirements.

plusUnited Way: Nurse Aid Certification Program

Tuition Cost: None

This community-based program through United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is an example of similar programs offered across the nation. The program is provided by El Centro College and offers four credentials: CNA, EKG, phlebotomy and Community Health Worker Certification. Support services are in place to help ensure students complete the program.

Regional Nonprofit Organization Training Programs

plusBaltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare

Tuition Cost: Varies

Monetary Amount: Varies

Dedicated to ending the shortage of frontline workers in healthcare, the Alliance partners with local agencies, healthcare institutions and organizations in the Baltimore area to provide more opportunities for allied health students, including certified nursing assistants. The Alliance partners with Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Medical Center and Baltimore City Community College, just to name a few.

plusEmpowerment Center

Tuition Cost: Reduced

Monetary Amount: Varies

Located in Brooklyn, NY, the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen Council (RBSCC) offers low-cost CNA programs for those who qualify. In addition to certified nursing assistant training, graduates of the program can receive job placement services, career development training, career counseling and other assistance.

plusFutureMakers Coalition

Tuition Cost: Varies

Monetary Amount: Varies

Numerous industries and colleges in Southern Florida have teamed up to provide CNA training. The six week courses prepare students for jobs at Lee Memorial Health System or other healthcare positions in the area. Tuition assistance is available for the program, as well as for those who choose to further their education after working as a CNA for six months.

plusSouthwest Alabama Workforce Development Council

Tuition Cost: None

The SAWDC has partnered with local career centers and healthcare employers to oversee a grant allowing students in Conecuh, Escambia, and Monroe counties to train for work as certified nursing assistants. The program is free of charge to those who meet eligibility requirements. Held on-site at healthcare centers, graduates are guaranteed employment at those centers upon graduation.

Additional Options

Students in financial need who attend a participating school may receive low-interest student loans to help pay for enrollment in a nursing program, including diploma and degree programs. Students must be United States citizens or legal permanent residents to be eligible.
This program allows qualified American Indian and Alaskan Native students to receive scholarship awards to pay for training to enter a health profession. In return for the scholarship award, graduates must provide at least two years of service within an Indian health program.

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