The question of how to pay for nursing school is a significant one, as a B.S. in Nursing degree can be quite an investment. Payment options may include grants, scholarships or student loans. For these forms of financial assistance, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Pursuing a career in nursing can be an intimidating investment, but if your dream is to become a nurse, we’re here to help you find manageable ways to pay for nursing school. Many potential nursing students are held back from pursuing their dreams because of financial concerns. If you are wondering how to pay for nursing school, this blog can help you figure it out. There are many financial options available to students, especially those considering earning their nursing degree in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Utica University.
Here at Utica University (formerly Utica College), 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 Pay for Nursing School
You are not alone if paying for nursing school outright isn’t an option. 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.
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 often merit-based.
You will first start by filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is required for federal grants. We recommend working with your admission representative so they can help you find out whether you are qualified for any grants.
Scholarships are similar to grants in that they don’t need to be repaid. 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.
Some hospitals may also offer scholarships to future nurses, although eligibility may depend upon committing to work 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 facilities 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 complete a FAFSA, which will tell you how much you are qualified to receive. 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 how to pay for nursing school, you may be curious 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.
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. For example, nurses work in schools, on cruise ships and at aesthetic procedure offices. They can even work remotely from home as telehealth nurses or in an office as an insurance company nurse claims reviewer.
Consider these 10 alternative careers for nurses outside the hospital.
There are plenty of opportunities for nurses who hold a B.S. in Nursing to climb the ladder and specialize in various areas of healthcare. For example, you could go back to school to earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). This can open the door to specializing in a specific area, such as pediatrics, anesthesia or midwifery.
Another reason why paying for nursing school is worth it is the strong job growth projections. Currently, the U.S. 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. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is expected that employers will hire about 203,200 new RNs each year from 2021 through 2031.
Higher Earning Potential
All the above reasons are important in understanding why figuring out how to pay for nursing school is worth it. However, for many people it is necessary that the investment is also worth it financially. So what is the average salary for nurses with a bachelor’s degree? As of March 2022, registered nurses have a median annual salary of $77,600, according to the BLS. 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.
Accelerated nursing school is worth the investment. We outline even more reasons why in this blog post.
Paying for Nursing School: Steps to Take Next
Now that you understand the value of a nursing degree, it’s time to take a closer look at exactly how to pay for nursing school. Your admission representative can help you navigate all of the necessary tasks, step by step. Use the following information as a guide as you put together your own personal plan for paying for nursing school.
Step 1: Complete a FAFSA
As mentioned above, every college student must complete the FAFSA to be considered for federal assistance. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for any type of federal aid, including federal direct Stafford loans and federal direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Dependent Students) loans. Students must file a new FAFSA each academic year.
To complete the form online, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to include Utica’s code: 002883.
Step 2: Review Your SAR
Your Student Aid Report (SAR) provides basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid. It also contains the answers you gave on your FAFSA. The school(s) you listed on the form will use this information to determine your eligibility for financial aid, so review your SAR carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete.
Step 3: Fill Out a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Form
If you live in New York State, you’ll want to fill out a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) form. TAP is intended to offset tuition costs at New York colleges and schools. To be eligible, you must be a New York State resident for 12 consecutive months before your intended start term, and you must attend an eligible school located in New York State.
Step 4: Research Payment Options
The ABSN program at Utica confers a bachelor’s degree. Therefore, you are still bound to the loan limits of your first undergraduate degree. If you have not reached your aggregate limit, you may be eligible to use federal Stafford loans to cover part of your balance. You may also investigate loans from private lending institutions or your local credit union. Another option is scholarship money, which doesn’t have to be repaid.
If you do not wish to borrow funds for your education, or you have a remaining balance due after your loans are considered, you may enroll in Utica’s payment plan. Once you’re admitted to Utica, you can sign up for the payment plan through your student account.
Step 5: Make Your Payment Arrangements
However you decide to pay for nursing school, be sure to make any necessary arrangements for submitting payment to the Office of Student Financial Services. Full payment or payment arrangements are due four business days before classes begin. For students enrolled in Utica’s payment plan, the first payment is due four business days before classes begin each term and payment is due approximately every four weeks.
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 paying for nursing school. We also encourage you to speak to our knowledgeable admission representative for help navigating the financial aspects of your education.
Contact us today about our ABSN program and an admission representative will reach out to answer your questions.