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Scholarship pays off for nursing student

Eastern Bay of Plenty nurse Maria Mitchell was debt-free when she finished her degree, thanks to one of our scholarships. 

Maria, an ICU nurse at Whakatane Hospital, received funding to help with her study costs throughout her three-year degree. In return, she was expected to submit progress updates every six months and provide evidence she has passed each year.

“I applied for this scholarship as I met the criteria and was going into a nursing degree, which costs a lot of money,” Maria says. “I knew the scholarship could drastically help me. I didn't think I would get it and I was just so shocked but thankful when I did.

“The scholarship helped me so much. It meant I could buy myself a laptop, which has been my biggest asset throughout my studies so far, as it enabled me to complete all assessments. Having a laptop was also invaluable to me during the COVID-19 lockdown as it meant I could complete all classes and work online and not miss any valuable lessons.”

Maria also used the scholarship money for course-related costs. “I was able to purchase my scrubs and all my books I needed each year. Through getting this scholarship I was also fortunate enough to be offered paid holiday work at the foundation and a rest home, so as well as receiving my scholarship I was able to save enough money to pay for the fees of two years of study. I didn't have to get a student loan and I will be debt-free when I complete my studies.

Maria worked at the Hepatitis Foundation during her summer holidays. “Before I entered my degree I learnt lots about blood tests, the different types of hepatitis and how it affects the body. I also learnt about the prevalence of hepatitis in NZ; I had no idea how many people had it.

"I was also able to speak with the registered nurses who work for the foundation and gain knowledge from them. The experience helped broaden my knowledge about hepatitis and how to nurse patients who have it. I’ve also learned valuable skills such as how to work in a team.

Maria advises any high school student considering applying for this or a similar scholarship to do it.

“When you enter a degree, you don't realise how many extra costs you encounter. The actual cost of each year of study can get very expensive, but a scholarship takes such a weight off your shoulders. I would encourage everybody to apply for all scholarships they meet the criteria for, because there is no harm in trying and you may just be the lucky recipient."


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