College of Nursing Graduate Student Scholarships

Graduate Student Scholarships are available to SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University College of Nursing students through a grant that has been awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) Program. The funds are available to full-time MS or DNP students from environmentally or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, who demonstrate financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

The SDS Scholarship Program provides scholarships/ living expense stipends (up to ~$30,000 annually) to full-time nursing students from environmentally or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, and have financial need. The program’s goal is to increase the number of students in health professions to provide care to underserved areas and populations following completion of the student’s degree.

Funds are awarded to eligible full-time students who: (A) are from an educationally/environmentally disadvantaged background; (B) have filed a FAFSA form; and (C) are citizens/nationals of the United States. 

“Educationally/environmentally disadvantaged background” means an individual comes from an environment that has made it difficult for the individual to obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school. For example:

The individual is the first generation in his or her family to attend college;

English is not the individual’s primary language and language is still a barrier to academic performance;

The individual comes from a family that received public assistance (e.g., Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, Medicaid, and/or public housing);

The individual graduated from a high school with low average SAT/ACT scores, or below average state test/Regents’ results, according to published data.

The individual graduated from a high school that had a low percentage of seniors receiving a high school diploma, according to published data.

The individual graduated from a high school that had a low percentage of graduates (<60%) who go to college during the first year after graduation, according to published data.

The individual graduated from a high school where many students (at least 30%) were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches; according to published data.

Examples of current published data supplied by the New York State Education Department can be accessed by dataset or district name.

No. You need to be enrolled full-time for summer, fall, and spring semesters in the year that you are receiving SDS funds.

Yes. However, depending upon the number of qualified applicants, and their individual level of financial need (per FAFSA), funds will be preferentially distributed to last year students.


Yes. While each student case is unique, loans will usually be reduced to maximize the SDS scholarship.

SDS funds are limited and awarded until funds are exhausted. Students who believe that they are eligible will be asked to complete a verification form regarding criteria for disadvantaged background status. This application will be available on the Student Life/Financial Aid web pages of Downstate University during the month of July. Please note the application deadline.  Eligible applicants will have their applications reviewed by the scholarship committee. Not all applicants will receive an award.

Scholarship Application


Thank you for your interest in the HHS SDS Scholarship Program.

We look forward to reviewing your applications.