Office of AdmissionGraduate Programs

It's all about value...

Because you are pursuing your doctoral nursing degree there is one thing we know about you already - you understand the value of education. You are among the very top percentile in the world to pursue this level of education, and whether earning your DNP is motivated by a career move, a promotion, or a passion for the exchange of ideas and high level thinking, the PLU DNP is an investment in you and your life as a global citizen.

At PLU our goal is to create a partnership that is financially feasible for you to pursue your studies. Financial assistance from PLU, federal and state financial aid programs, student resources, payment options and careful planning help make PLU affordable.

Financial Aid 101

As you look at graduate and doctoral programs, there are four types of funding resources you should look into:

  • Institutional Resources (scholarships, grants, fellowships from the university to which you are applying)
  • Federal or State Resources (loans or grants)
  • Outside Resources (non-profit organizations, foundations, etc. that fund graduate students)
  • Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs (not an initial source of funding, but options for mitigating federal loan debt.)

If you'd like to download a single document that lists all PLU institutional resources, and gives information on federal student loans, outside resources and loan forgiveness programs, you can download the Financial Aid 101 document.   If you have any questions about PLU institutional aid, you can contact us at

Institutional Funding

*please note that the 10% PLU alumni discount is not availible for the DNP program.

PLU School of Nursing Grants for Continuing Students

The School of Nursing may offer limited grant opportunities for admitted graduate or doctoral-level students.  Each year the School of Nursing applies for federal grants to help offset tuition for those in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, but we cannot guarantee funds.  For more information, contact

PLU Graduate Fellowships

The graduate fellowship program offers graduate students an opportunity to participate in academic and administrative activities that will enhance their graduate education experience, as well as provide financial assistance.  A limited number of fellowships are available for each program during the academic year.  In general, fellowships involve a time commitment of five to fifteen hours per week, and can contribute $2,000 to $5,000 towards tuition.

To find out more, email:


PLU International Graduate Student Scholarships

Full-time international graduate students can be eligible for between $4,000.00 and $7,500.00 in scholarship, renewable for the duration of the graduate program.To find out more, click here.


The Yellow Ribbon Program at PLU

Pacific Lutheran University is proud to partner with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to offer a total of 200 full-tuition, Yellow Ribbon Scholarships to qualified veterans or their dependents.  PLU has rich history of working closely with the military community and is excited to provide greater access to private higher education through this important program.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Educational Enhancement Program is component of the Post-9/11 Act of 2008.  This partnership between the VA and PLU offers qualified veterans or their dependents full-tuition scholarships to enter either undergraduate or graduate programs at PLU.  In the coming academic year, PLU will offer unlimited Yellow Ribbon Scholarships for graduate students. 

To find out more, visit:

Federal and State Resources


Federal Financial Aid

With more than $60 billion earmarked for student loans, the federal government is committed to helping you attend graduate school.  It all begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Complete the FAFSA on the Web at  When completing the FAFSA, be sure to indicate that you want the results of your analysis sent to PLU (use code 003785).   Keep copies of everything you submit. 

Typical Federal Financial Award

If you:

  • Are enrolled in a Graduate Program with a total “Cost of Attendance” of more than $20,500 per academic year (summer, spring, and fall):

Cost of Attendance typically includes:    

i.    Tuition costs for Summer through Spring Semesters in your specific program
ii.    Standardized estimate amount for Housing and Meals for student only
iii.    Standardized estimate amount for Personal Expenses and Transportation
iv.    Standardized estimate amount for Books and Supplies

  • Are a US Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen who files a 2014-15 FAFSA
  • Plan to be enrolled in a minimum of 4 credits for any or all standard terms (Summer, Fall, or Spring)

You are likely to be offered:

  • $20,500 in the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program
    • The $20,500 will be divided equally between the eligible terms in your Graduate Program for that academic year.  (Summer or fall 2014 through Spring 2015).
    • There will be a Loan Origination Fee deducted from the gross loan amount. 
    • Currently, the loan fee is 1.072%, which means that if you borrow the full amount of $20,500; you will receive $20,280.  $220 in loan fees will be deducted from the gross loan amount.  (This fee % is subject to change)

The remaining difference between your Cost of Attendance and the $20,500 Direct Loan will be offered in the form of an opportunity to borrow a Graduate PLUS Loan.  Graduate PLUS Loans are based on the  credit worthiness of the applicant.

How to submit a FAFSA

You may submit the FAFSA in one of two ways:

  • Complete the FAFSA on the Web at You will be provided a confirmation number and an opportunity to create your own Personal Identification Number (PIN) which you can use immediately to sign your application.  This is the recommended and most accurate way to complete the FAFSA.
  • Request a paper FAFSA from the US Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Complete and mail the FAFSA using the envelope included with the form. This processing takes approximately two to four weeks.  

When completing the FAFSA, be sure to indicate that you want the results of your analysis sent to PLU (use code 003785).   Keep copies of everything you submit.

Which application to use

To receive financial assistance for enrollment in summer or fall of 2015 use the 2015-2016 FAFSA

  1. Apply for the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA)    PLU School Code 003785
  2. If you do not have federal PIN, Apply for a PIN - your federal signature

The information from your FAFSA application will be electronically sent to PLU's Office of Financial Aid. They will work with your Student Services Center Counselor to send you your Offer of Financial Aid.

Direct Loans

Direct Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools.   A maximum of $20,500 per year is available to most eligible registered graduate students. Loans are unsubsidized, meaning that interest will be accruing on the loans from the time of dispersal. 

Direct Stafford Loans include the following types of loans:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans- With Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the borrower is not required to demonstrate financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Like subsidized loans, your school will determine the amount you can borrow (maximum of $20,500 per year). Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time it's first paid out. You can pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or you can allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of your loan). If you choose not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount you have to repay because you will be charged interest on a higher principal amount.

To find out more, visit:

Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Degree Students

Graduate and professional degree students can borrow a Direct PLUS Loan to help cover education expenses.

  • The terms and conditions applicable to PLUS Loans for parents also apply to PLUS Loans for graduate and professional students. These terms and conditions include a determination that you (the applicant) do not have an adverse credit history. 
  • Unlike parent PLUS applicants, you (the student applicant) are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In addition, before you can receive a PLUS Loan, your school must have determined your maximum eligibility for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.

Additional loan types provided under the Direct Loan Program, include Direct Loans (for undergraduate and graduate students), Direct PLUS Loans (for parents), and Direct Consolidation Loans (to combine federal education loan debts into a single loan).

To find out more, visit:

Federal Nursing Loans

Students accepted for admission into the PLU School of Nursing and enrolled at least half-time in the nursing program  may be considered for a low interest, federally funded Nursing Loan.  Federal Nursing Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5% and a repayment grace period of  nine months after graduation (or less than half time enrollment, whichever comes first).  For more information, click here.

Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you are employed in certain public service jobs and have made 120 payments on your Direct Loans (after Oct. 1, 2007), the remaining balance that you owe may be forgiven. Only payments made under certain repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments. You must not be in default on the loans that are forgiven. For more information, go to Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
The following Federal Perkins Loan Program cancellations apply to individuals who perform certain types of public service or are employed in certain occupations.
For each complete year of service, a percentage of the loan may be canceled. The total percentage of the loan that can be canceled depends on the type of service performed. Depending on the type of loan you have, and when that loan was taken out, you may be eligible to cancel part of or your entire loan if you have served as one of the following:
•    Volunteer in the Peace Corps or ACTION program (including VISTA)
•    Teacher
•    Member of the U.S. armed forces (serving in area of hostilities)
•    Nurse or medical technician
•    Law enforcement or corrections officer
•    Head Start worker
•    Child or family services worker
•    Professional provider of early intervention services

To find out more about any of the federal loan, grant, or loan forgiveness programs, go to:, or

Outside Resources--Scholarships & Grants

If you can take the time to research outside sources of funding, it can help you to limit the amount of federal loans you may need to take out.  Here are a few resources that we find helpful.   You may also look up our Lecture Series webpage, as PLU often hosts lectures around how to find outside scholarships, how to write grant proposals as an individual, etc.

Employee Benefits
Some employers will pay a certain percentage of a graduate degree.

Foundation Center Database

You may go to the UW T campus library to access the database for free, or you can subscribe for 20/month and search from home.   Typically we do not recommend that you pay for sources of scholarship/grants, but this is the exception, as we feel it's a great resource.  You can search for funders by category. 

Even if you don't subscribe, there are many resources, webinars, etc. there to guide you in the search process. and

King County Library--Redmond

Michigan State University Library

Word Docs with many Links for Scholarships

List of Scholarships for Service Members

List of Scholarships/Fellowships

Excel Doc with links for Scholarships/Grants/Loan Forgiveness for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

List of Scholarships for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

Service Member/Veteran’s Benefits
The Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-911 GI Bill offer benefits to service members or their dependents.  In addition, there are many non-profit groups who offer scholarships or grants to service members or dependents as well.

List of Scholarships for Service Members

Other Scholarship Databases


The College Grant Database

There are outside resources we have identified that benefit those looking into PLU Graduate or Doctoral programs:

The Washington Nursing Commission offers a list of scholarships

Click here for a link to the WNC scholarship page

or Download the WCN Scholarship document

Excel Doc with links for Scholarships/Grants/Loan Forgiveness for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

List of Scholarships for Medical, Dental, or Mental Health professions

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

A comprehensive list of outside scholarships and loans may be found at the The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)website.

Military direct-commissioning programs for the nurse-corp:

If you or your spouse has served in the military post 9/11, you may be eligible for full tuition scholarship through the Yellow Ribbon Program. 

Washington State Higher Education Board

The Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board has a loan repayment program for those entering the Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources Service Administration:

HRSA Advanced Education Traineeships
Grant-funded stipends from the Health Resources and Services Administration intended for students who plan to seek employment in areas that “will substantially benefit rural or underserved populations, or help meet public health nursing needs in state or local health departments.”

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program
Loans funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration grant are awarded to students enrolled in a full-time program of study specifically preparing them for careers as Nurse Educators. Following graduation, loan recipients may cancel up to 85% of the NFLP loan over four years for serving as a full-time nurse faculty member at a school of nursing.

HRSA Nursing Scholarship Program

Here is a list of several other outside scholarship sources for nurses:

The American Legion Eight and Forty Lung and Respiratory Disease Nursing Scholarship

Johnson & Johnson Scholarship Search Engine

Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization

National Student Nurses' Association

Pierce County Nurses Association

Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Information

Washington Center for Nursing

Health Careers Foundation

Minority Nurse Association

National Association of Hispanic Nurses

Satisfactory Academic Progress--Federal Financial Aid Standards

When students accept financial aid at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), they also accept the responsibility for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The policy at PLU is to allow students to continue to receive financial assistance as long as they are in “good standing”. To do otherwise could cause a severe hardship on students who devote their efforts to achieving satisfactory progress.

This progress is based on the following criteria:

  • The numbers of credit hours students enroll in per semester,
  • Term and cumulative grade point average,
  • Length of enrollment at PLU and,
  • Any transfer courses accepted by PLU.

To find out more about Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, please click here.

PLU MSN Grads--Ask about starting coursework in fall 2014
100% pass rate on all advanced certification exams