Nursing Education Forgivable Loan – RN to BSN (NELR)
The primary objectives of this program are to provide education opportunities to students who wish to upgrade their nursing degree and address Mississippi’s nursing shortage by providing a constant source of qualified nurses. NELR awards will be made available, to the extent of appropriated funds, to persons seeking a bachelor’s degree in nursing at one Mississippi institution of higher learning in exchange for employment in professional nursing in the State of Mississippi.
Application dates: January 1 – March 31
Document deadline: April 30, except for the Letter of Acceptance, this may be submitted through June 30
The dates are important as the number of awards and recipients are dependent upon available funds.
You are eligible if all the following apply:
- You will be a Junior or Senior for the upcoming school year
- You are a current legal resident of Mississippi
- You hold a current Mississippi nursing license
- You are enrolled full-time or part-time
- You must not presently or previously have defaulted on an educational loan
- You have been fully admitted to an eligible accredited School of Nursing
Review the complete program Rules and Regulations: NELS Rules and Regulations
- The NELR awards up to $4,000 per year academic year not to exceed two (2) calendar years or $8,000. Those pursuing the NELR program part-time are eligible to receive a maximum of $8,000 prorated over three (3) calendar years.
- All recipients must maintain a 2.5/4.0 or higher grade point average each semester/trimester in order to continue to receive funds under the renewal process.
The loan to service obligation can be discharged on the basis of one academic year of full-time teaching in an accredited school of nursing in Mississippi for one year of loan received, or one year’s service (12 months) in professional nursing in the interest of public health in Mississippi for one year of loan received. For those that received prorated funding over three (3) calendar years, the time of service required shall be two (2) years. The minimum service obligation is one (1) year, after graduation.
The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid will make awards on a first-come first-served based upon our level of funding. However, priority is given to renewal applicants who complete the renewal process by the deadlines.
- Complete the online application. This online application must be completed each academic year whether you are a prior recipient or a first-time applicant.
- Submit the following supporting documents:
- Signed copy of the first two pages of parent’s State Tax Return for the current tax filing year. Independent students would provide signed copy of student’s State Tax Return. Am I dependent or independent?
- Copy of valid Mississippi driver license, unless you elected to submit it electronically during the online application
- Copy of current Mississippi nursing license
- An official letter of acceptance from an accredited nursing school, showing date admitted and entering classification.
The NELR Award Process
- A student submits an application online at the State Financial Aid page.
- If the student provides an email address requesting electronic communication, the student will immediately receive an email confirmation that the application was successfully submitted. Students requesting paper communication will not receive an application confirmation.
- After a couple of business days, the student will be sent communication (either by email or regular mail, based on the student’s preferred method of communication) that contains a state-assigned Personal Identification Number (PIN). The student can use the PIN to log in to his/her student account to check the status of an application or make changes to an application.
- Supporting documents that may be needed to complete an application will be listed on the student account. Students should check the student account periodically to determine what documents are needed.
- The Office will receive an annual appropriation from the Mississippi Legislature at the end of the annual Legislative Session (typically in late March/early April during 90-day terms or late April /early May during 120-day terms).
- If funding is available, the Office will make award offers as soon as possible after receiving an appropriation, but no later than mid-June.
- Once award offers are made, to accept an award, the student must sign a Master Contract and Note, which includes the program Rules and Regulations, and sign a Private Loan Self-Certification Form. The contract may be signed electronically, but the self-certification form must be signed with pen and returned in hard-copy.
- When the Contract and Self-certification form have been received, the Office will notify the student’s attending institution that the student has been awarded.
Frequently Asked Questions
- THE NELR PROGRAM REQUIRES A COPY OF MY LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE TO A MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL OF NURSING AND WHILE I HAVE APPLIED TO A SCHOOL OF NURSING, IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING FROM THE SCHOOL THAT NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE WILL NOT BE FORWARDED TO ME UNTIL AFTER YOUR APRIL 30 DEADLINE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The only exception to the submission of documents is the Letter of Acceptance which may be submitted after the deadline but must be submitted before June 30th.
- WHAT HAPPENS TO MY NELR AWARD IF I DROP CLASSES DURING THE SEMESTER?
Each semester your NELR award is calculated based on your enrollment status at the time of registration. If your award is paid based on full-time status and you drop below full-time during the semester, then your award for the following semester will be prorated.
- WHY MUST I REAPPLY FOR NELR EVERY YEAR?
Current legislation requires “…the board shall create a renewal application for each student who received the award for one or more terms during the immediately preceding academic year.” At a minimum, a student must file an on-line application no later than the close of business on the deadline date of March 31st:
- WHAT IF MY SEMESTER GRADE POINT AVERAGE DOES NOT MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT?
If your semester/trimester gpa is less than 2.5 at the end of a semester/trimester, you will lose the NELR for the next semester/trimester of enrollment during a normal academic year. In order to regain eligibility your semester/trimester gpa must meet the minimum 2.5gpa requirement.
- WHAT IF I AM CURRENTLY ENROLLED IN THE RN/BSN NURSING PROGRAM AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION, WILL MY GRADES BE CHECKED BEFORE I AM ELIGIBLE FOR AN AWARD?
Yes, If your semester/trimester gpa is less than 2.5 at the end of the semester/trimester, you will not be eligible for the NELR Program.
- I KNOW THAT AS A RECIPIENT UNDER THE NELR PROGRAM I HAVE A CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO WORK IN THE FIELD OF NURSING IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI. WHAT IF I AM UNABLE TO FIND A JOB IMMEDIATELY AFTER COMPLETING MY DEGREE? Upon completion of the degree program and at the discretion of the Board of Trustees, all recipients are eligible for a one year grace period while seeking employment.
- MAY I RECEIVE FUNDS TO PURSUE ANOTHER NURSING DEGREE PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF MY SERVICE OBLIGATION REQUIRED FOR THE PRIOR NELR FUNDED STUDY?
Yes. Students who receive NELR funds are required to work at least part-time (minimum 20 hours/week) in an approved service loaction to be eligible for nursing funds for another program of study. However, service does not have to be complete.
- HOW DO I SUBMIT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS TO THE OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL AID?
How to Submit Supporting Documents