How to Pay for Nursing School

If you need to know how to pay for nursing school, Utica offers several options to finance your ABSN tuition including grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans. We also help you evaluate whether the financial investment will be worth it in the end.

Calculator and stethoscope sitting on a notebook

Pursuing a career in nursing can be a daunting investment. Many potential nursing students are held back from pursuing their dreams because of a fear of not being able to afford a nursing degree. If you are wondering how to pay for nursing school, we can help you figure it out. There are many financial options available to students, especially those considering earning their nursing degree in the Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program at Utica University.

Here at Utica, we offer many options to make your goal of a nursing degree more attainable; you just need to know here to find them. To be confident in paying for nursing school, you will need to make sure that you are aware of all your financial options and are ready to invest in your future career.

Ways to Finance Nursing School

You are not alone if you are intimidated by the fact that you won’t be able to pay for nursing school outright. Many people have to find alternative ways to afford nursing school. We will go over the ins and outs of four different options for financing nursing school which include grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans.

1. Grants

Grants are an excellent way to pay for a nursing degree because it’s money that doesn’t need to be paid back. Securing a student grant can help save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Although both grants and scholarships are “free” money, grants are typically need-based, while scholarships are traditionally merit-based. You will first start by filling out your FAFSA, which is required for federal grants. We recommend working with your admissions representative so they can help you find out whether you are qualified for any grants.

2. Scholarships

Scholarships are similar to grants in that they don’t need to be repaid and are excellent for helping to finance your education. However, scholarships can be extremely competitive. Many scholarships are merit-based, meaning you earn them by meeting or exceeding standards set by the scholarship-giver. Merit scholarships can be awarded based on achievements, traits, or interests. You may find some scholarships that require an essay, certain academic standards, or a competition of some kind.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) offers several scholarships for nursing students. They have also gathered a plethora of information on grants, loan forgiveness programs, and other financial aid options on their website.

a scholarship application with pen on a table

Some hospitals may also offer scholarships to future nurses, although eligibility may depend upon working at the hospital after you have graduated. Check official hospital websites to see how you could be considered.

3. Work-Study Programs

Many colleges offer work-study programs for students to help finance their education by working on-campus, assisting teachers, or taking part in community-related jobs. Being awarded a work-study program often depends on the level of financial need and the school funds available.

Often, students can find work-study programs related to their field that allow for great resume experience. Work-study programs are not offered everywhere, so nursing students should contact local hospitals to find what work-study programs are available. This is the perfect solution for students wanting real-world experience while earning wages as well.

By taking part in work-study programs with hospitals, students have the chance to become a full-time employee once they complete the Accelerated B.S. in Nursing program. Taking part in a work-study program also allows you to build a professional network while still in school, so you can get a letter of recommendation or professional references down the road.

For more information, visit the federal work-study site.

4. Student Loans

Student loans should only be pursued after exhausting other options, but sometimes they are necessary to pay for nursing school. Even a few hundred dollars in grants and scholarships can help pay for books and fees along the way. Once you’ve exhausted other resources, look at what student loans you may need. Consider it as an investment in your future as a B.S. in Nursing-educated registered nurse. Student loans will require payments once you’ve graduated with your degree, but nursing is a career field with great stability, as healthcare providers in every state are always seeking new nurses to meet the needs of an aging patient population while replacing nurses who retire or leave the field.

Be sure to look at all of your loan options before committing, and consider the differences between federal student loan and private student loans. If you do look for a private loan, be sure to shop around for a good rate. To get a federal student loan, you will first have to fill out a Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Your FAFSA will tell you how much you are qualified to receive in federal student loans. You should fill these out as soon as you can in January prior to your academic year so you can pursue other financial aid options if necessary.

Is Nursing School Worth the Investment?

Now that you are aware of the options you have for financing nursing school, you must ask yourself if the return on investment is worth the initial cost. Aside from allowing you to have a rewarding career full of diverse positions and advancement opportunities, nursing school can be worth it from a strictly financial viewpoint as well. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why the investment in your nursing education will be worth it in the end.

Utica ABSN student using laptop

Diverse Work Environments

When most people imagine nurses, they picture them working in hospitals. And while this is true for a lot of nurses, there are a wide variety of job descriptions and settings in which nurses are qualified to work. Whether you love working with children but want consistent hours and time off during holidays (consider working as a nurse in an outpatient pediatric clinic or being a school nurse) or are interested in work from home opportunities (investigate telehealth nursing or become an insurance nurse) you can tailor your nursing career to fit your interests and desired lifestyle.

Nursing is also a great field for anyone who can’t see themselves working the same job for the rest of their lives. Your skillset as a nurse is desired by many different types of employers, so if you want to change up your career it usually isn’t too difficult with a nursing degree.

airplane lifting off

If you want to learn more about different nursing careers, see more examples of nursing careers outside of the hospital.

Advancement Opportunities

Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing also opens opportunities for you to continually advance in your career. As an RN, you will have more autonomy in the workplace and more upward mobility than your associates-educated peers. Having a bachelor’s degree also sets the stage for future further education, like a master’s degree. With an advanced education, you can specialize in specific areas or grow in your career even more. Not to mention nurses with master’s degrees often have high-paying positions (more on salary later).

Demand for Nurses

Another reason why a nursing degree is a great investment is that the current demand for nurses will increase the likelihood of you finding a position you desire. Currently, the US is experiencing a nursing shortage due to an aging population of baby boomers in need of more medical attention as well as a retiring workforce. Deciding to go to school to become a nurse during these times will not only help you to secure a position quickly (the BLS predicts over 3 million positions will open before 2030), but you will also be contributing to the solution.

Higher Earning Potential

Utica ABSN student, Lester

While all the above reasons are important in understanding why a nursing degree is worth the cost, for many people it is necessary that the investment is worth it financially. So what is the average salary for nurses with a bachelor’s degree? The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the median pay for RNs in 2021 was $77,600 per year, with nurses in many metropolitan areas earning above this figure. When considering the tuition for Utica’s ABSN program, the degree can pay for itself before long and can then begin contributing toward your lifestyle and savings.

As mentioned before, a bachelor’s degree in nursing can pave the way for further education which will thereby increase your salary even more. Depending on your chosen specialty and position, it is possible for nurses with an MSN degree to earn well above $100,000 each year. While the extra education will come with extra cost, you can see that the return on investment is high.

Reap the rewards of a BS in Nursing

Learn more about why it is important to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Want to Learn More About How to Pay for Nursing School?

Check out the Utica’s Office of Student Financial Services site for any questions or concerns on financing your nursing education. We also encourage you to speak to our knowledgeable admissions representative for help navigating the financial aspects of your education. Contact us today and an admissions representative will reach out to answer your questions.

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