Finding Financial Aid for Nursing School
With the current nursing shortage, it may never be easier to find the financial aid that you need in order to get that nursing degree. Hospitals and private care centers are finding that well-trained nurses are able to keep their patients happy and healthy, while also allowing their care standards to be met.
Still, if you’re considering a career in nursing, you should realize that you’re not alone in your search. Because of the current need for nurses, many more students are considering this career path. This means that competition will be fierce for financial aid as well as spots in any particular school. The better your grades, your experience, and your desire, the better your overall chances for securing a good financial aid package.
But the nursing shortage also means that you have a lot more options to pay off those student loans or even have your employer help with the payments of your entire nursing education. Nursing scholarships and other study aid programs can also be something that your chosen school offers as well. Here’s a brief overview of the most common financial aid options.
Many nursing students (as well as traditional college students) don’t want to resort to student loans to help them with their schooling fees. However, with the exorbitant costs of higher education, students and their parents just don’t have the money to pay the large bills. That’s where FAFSA comes in handy.
FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, allows students to apply for students loans that are financed by the government. While they’re not restricted to only nursing students, millions of dollars have been given to students seeking a higher education. The form can be filled out online or by mail. Be prepared to provide personal information and income figures. The government is looking to see if you make enough money to pay for your college expenses or if you need assistance.
Most often, every student will qualify for some sort of financial aid. You will receive a form in the mail detailing the amount that you have received as well as the projected payment schedule for this student loan. You will not have to pay these loans back until you have left school or until other arrangements can be made.
When you qualify for a grant or scholarship, you don’t have to pay the money back as you would for a federal student loan. But as you may imagine, this kind of funding is very difficult to find. If you haven’t applied for federal aid before, you may be able to apply for a federal grant that will allow you to pay for your student fees without having to pay the government back. You will also want to note that this is generally reserved for those students that do not have the financial means to pay for school.
Scholarships can be found through the financial aid office at your chosen school or also through a number of scholarship web sites and services. FreeScholarshipGuide.com is currently offering a $5000 Scholarship for any School or Education Program. Click the link to request more information.
If you belong to a certain religious group, activity, or ethnicity, there may be a scholarship to help defray the costs of your education. While you may not be able to find large scholarships, every little bit helps to cut down your costs. Many local companies also offer scholarships to local students, so be sure to check with your guidance counselor in order to see if you qualify.
Many students that cannot qualify for federal aid or grants will have to turn to other sources of loan money. Some parents of students will refinance their homes in order to free up the money for a college education, and this can be done for nursing school as well. Banks and credit unions can also create a personal loan plan that will allow a student to go to school. Unlike federal loans though, these loans will need to be repaid immediately as the student is progressing through school, and there is no opportunity to stall the payment of the loan if something should happen to the student’s financial situation.
Working it Off
Some schools also offer the option of work-study or student employment. You will have to check with your school about these programs, but many times you can work specific hours for the school in exchange for a partial reimbursement of your student fees.
Getting Your Employer to Pay Your Tuition
If you already have a full-time job, you may want to look into their requirements for tuition reimbursement. Many companies offer partial to full tuition reimbursement if they see that your education can help your current job standing. For example, if you work at a hospital in the file room, you could feasibly move up into a nursing position for the same hospital. It is a wise investment for the hospital to help fund your education.
Go to the human resources department to see if there are any tuition reimbursement plans for your position. While you might not be able to get the entire costs defrayed, you may be able to help supplement any costs that can not be covered by federal aid or loans.
You will also want to note that some jobs will require you to pay back the tuition reimbursement if you decide to leave the job during a certain number of years after the reimbursement.
Paying it All Off
Though it might seem like a financial burden to go into nursing, you should realize that it’s an investment in your future and in the future of your patients. Loans can be easily paid off over the course of ten years and should never stand in the way of your education goals.