Advanced practice nurses are among the highest-paid employees today. Knowing how to pay for nursing school without going into debt with a private student loan will ensure financial success in your post-graduate career in nursing. Before starting your application process as an aspiring nurse, you should learn how to afford nursing school tuition.
Fortunately, there are many ways to pay for nursing school. While financial constraints can deprive many people of their dream careers, you can be an exception by utilizing the correct information. This article will teach you about legitimate ways to pay for nursing school without loans.
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How Much Does Nursing School Cost?
An undergraduate student attending a traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program can expect total tuition costs of at least $40,000, according to Nurse Journal. Depending on the program, tuition costs can reach as high as $100,000 for an advanced degree in nursing. It is necessary to anticipate external expenses, such as transportation, books, and living costs.
Nonetheless, the cost of a nursing program depends mainly on your choice of school, location, and the type of program. The tuition for community colleges, public, and private universities differs from program type. It’s a wise move to review each program’s nursing school requirements, check the location of each school, and evaluate your financial plan before applying.
Can I Pay for Nursing School Without Loans?
Yes, you can pay for nursing school without loans. You can contribute to your college fund through a nursing scholarship and grants from the government, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and aid from family members. Federal loans can be unsettling, and avoiding them can make life easier for you after graduation.
Top 5 Tips to Avoid Nursing School Loans
- Start saving early: It is never too early to start saving for your education, and doing so can help you avoid financial assistance. While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll save up the entire cost of your program, you can save enough to prevent you from opting for a loan. You may consider delaying your enrollment until you have enough money for school.
- Consider work-study programs: Opting for a part-time or work-study nursing program will help you avoid taking out a private student loan and significantly cut down student loan debt. Depending on your academic level, you can work as a nurse educator or choose any other nursing-related job to help you gain real-time experience.
- Choose a more affordable option: Consider attending a community college or public school that is less expensive for you. You won’t feel overwhelmed about tuition and your other costs will feel more manageable. Community colleges and public universities are more affordable than private schools and offer the same quality of education.
- Seek help from relatives: Seeking help from relatives is another feasible way to afford nursing school without loans and monthly repayment plans. The cost of nursing school is expensive, and you need all the financial assistance you can get. Reach out to family members or friends who can assist you financially.
- Apply to an online university: For many, applying to an online school may be the easiest way to avoid loans because it is affordable and flexible. Some of the fees associated with in-person or traditional nursing programs, such as transportation and school accessories, don’t apply to online nursing programs.
How to Pay for Nursing School: 8 Ways to Pay for Nursing School
1. Apply for Financial Student Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one of the guaranteed ways to pay for nursing school available to current and prospective students. After completing an eligibility form, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which will inform you about your eligibility for financial aid.
Response to the application is on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s wise to apply within the specified time. While this aid for nursing school may not cover the total cost of college, it is a legitimate way to seek assistance.
Scholarships are one-time, annual, or monthly stipends provided to students as an incentive for their academic achievement. You can pay for nursing school by taking advantage of these nursing scholarship opportunities for students pursuing a nursing degree program, such as the Nurses Make a Difference Scholarship sponsored by Cascade Health Solutions.
Scholarships for nursing students will cover either full or partial tuition costs. Most of these scholarship programs are based on nationality or membership in a particular organization, and you can apply for scholarships at any point in your degree program. If you meet the eligibility requirements for multiple nursing scholarships, go ahead and apply.
Grants are gift aids for students with financial difficulties. Unlike scholarship programs, you don’t need an extraordinary performance to qualify for them. Nursing school grants are primarily based on needs. They usually prioritize marginalized and disadvantaged students, giving them opportunities to fund their nursing careers.
A popular nursing grant is the Pell Grant program funded by the federal government for nursing students. While the grant money is solely for tuition fees, you can use the balance for additional expenses. You must provide your academic records and family’s financial details during the application.
4. Employer Tuition Assistance
Employer Tuition Assistance (ETA) can enable you to pay for nursing without loans. This option is part of many companies’ professional development programs, where eligible employees are allowed to further their education within a stipulated time while on the job. In other words, your employer can sponsor you to earn any nursing degree that would boost your productivity.
You can request an ETA or earn it through your exceptional work record over time. If you are currently working for a healthcare firm, you can inquire from the HR department about any tuition assistance available for workers. While it is an easy route to fund your nursing education, consider the agreement before consenting.
5. Federal Student Loans
Federal student loans are more convenient than private loans, as they have lower interest rates, and you don’t need a credit check to get one. This means you can afford nursing school even with bad credit or no credit history.
Luckily, you are eligible for loan repayment assistance if it becomes difficult to pay back your federal student loan within the repayment period. Depending on the type of loan, the government can allow you to choose from a student loan forgiveness program or a student loan repayment program.
6. Work and Study
Working and studying give you autonomy over your nursing school expenses. You can choose to work part-time as an undergraduate student and use your salary to fund your full-time nursing education. This option is more feasible for a relatively affordable school and might demand you finish school in a bit more time.
Working while in nursing school can be quite demanding, and it would be best to have all the support you can get from friends and relatives to maintain a work-life balance. You can check for on-campus jobs, community jobs, or research other nursing specialties that fit your preference.
7. Military Service
Joining the military is another option to pay for nursing school. The Army, Marines/Navy, and Air Force help eligible nurses pay for their tuition through scholarships, loan reimbursement programs, and grants. Although most military nurses are expected to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, they can still help you pay for advanced degrees.
They may pay off part of or all your existing student loans accumulated while funding your first degree. A typical example of military scholarship service is the Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship Program, which is open to US citizens. While studying as a nurse in active service, you’ll also have access to healthcare facilities, travel allowance, and career support.
8. Income Share Agreements
Like other professions, you can use the Income Share Agreement (ISA) model to pay for nursing school. Income Share Agreements offer nursing students an alternative to student loans. You can conveniently go to any nursing school of choice, public or private university, and pay for tuition when you start earning a specific amount in your post-grad career.
An example of a nursing ISA provider is Stride Funding. Nursing ISAs could last for five years or less, and payment is based on a fixed percentage of your future income. There are no interest rates, and there’s a rest period after graduation before payment commences. While this may seem simple, it is essential to read through the agreement and other requirements before signing.
Is Going to Nursing School Worth It?
Yes, going to nursing school is worth it if you want to begin your nursing career with a proper foundation. Nursing education can offer you life-saving skills and professional accreditation for different career options. You also get to enjoy unmatched job security and other industry-related incentives and benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all healthcare occupations are projected to grow by 16 percent through 2030, and further projects a nine percent growth rate for registered nurses due to the current shortage of nurses and hospital staff. You can land a high-paying job by gaining the necessary certification from an accredited nursing school.
How to Pay for Nursing School FAQ
Is nursing school hard to get into?
Yes, it is difficult to get into nursing school. Apart from tuition, getting into nursing school is competitive due to the admission requirements. Unfortunately, these requirements are almost the same in a public or private school. Aspiring students must meet the high GPA requirements, pass the entrance exams, complete application essays, and adhere to other strict protocols.
How many types of degree programs are in the nursing field?
There are seven degrees in the nursing field. They include the Certified Nurse Assistant Certificate, Licensed Practical Nurse Certificate, Associate Degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, joint Master’s Degrees in Nursing, and Doctoral Degrees in Nursing.
When do I apply for nursing school?
There is no definite date to apply for nursing school due to the difference in programs and school calendars. Decide on the school you want and check their portal for the application date. Do this as often as possible, so you don’t miss out on important information when changes are made.
Can hospitals pay for nursing school?
Yes, hospitals can pay for nursing school, depending on the program and potential of the employee. Although this is not a common practice, a reputable medical center will likely cover the educational costs for any nursing program, such as ADN or BSN degree program.
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