Affording Nursing School: 5 Ways to Pay
Mar 14, 2015 | 8:00 am
Nursing is a hot career, and recent studies from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation show patients, employers and the nursing profession all benefit when nurses advance their education. Not only is there evidence of better patient outcomes when cared for by RNs with nursing school training at a bachelor’s-degree level or higher, but the nurses themselves often feel more prepared and secure in their work.
But let’s face it: having the desire to train and affording nursing school can be two different issues. If you feel the career calling, but don’t know how to pay for nursing school, check out these five ways to pay. Some could allow you to go for free!
Find the Free Money First
Let’s take a look at tuition help that may be available simply for the asking. It sounds like the obvious first step, and it is, but many future nursing students will overlook it.
1)Scholarships – free money that goes straight toward nursing school, so it’s worth the research. DiscoveringNursing.com, among many nurse-specific sites, has a scholarship search page listing at least 370 available scholarships for nurses.
2)Tuition Reimbursement – nurses are encouraged to go back to school and earn higher degrees, and as a result, many healthcare employers offer tuition reimbursement. How this works: with employer approval, nurses enroll in a nursing school program and get reimbursed for their classes upon completion. This is another great way to get a free education!
3)Army ROTC Nursing School – joining the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) can offer a wide range of benefits, from scholarships to other financial aid options for nursing students.
4)Alternative Approaches to Paying for Nursing School – certain healthcare facilities offer loan repayment programs, which pay off student loans in exchange for working at the facility. There are also residency programs and “career ladder” programs, which offer scholarships and a job after graduation.
Locate Loans to Cover the Rest
Sure you’ll have to pay this money back, but it does allow you to earn your degree and get a job that can pay off the loans later.
5)Federal Loans – these can help you pay for nursing school when it costs more than you can afford to pay in the present. You’ll have to pay off the loan eventually, but there are many different plans for how to do this over time. Personal loans also exist as an option, but this is usually a last resort as repayment since it can be less flexible and depending on your credit score, borrowing may require a co-signer.
When it comes time to pay for nursing school, don’t head straight to the student loan center. First, check out your options for scholarships, financial aid and other repayment programs that can make life a lot easier down the road. Good luck!