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How to Pay for Nursing School

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4 ways to pay for nursing school 

Pursuing a nursing career is an exciting decision that brings the promise of affecting countless lives. As you embark on your career in healthcare, it’s important to have a roadmap of how you’ll finance your nursing school education. From tuition and textbooks to uniforms and lab fees, the cost of nursing school can quickly add up.  

Through careful planning and research, nursing school students can navigate the path to a rewarding career while gaining financial wellness skills along the way. This article will share key tips on how to enter this rewarding field.  

Understanding how to afford nursing school 

Nursing school is an investment in a rewarding career, but it comes with its costs. While tuition and other expenses might seem overwhelming at first, know there are multiple financial options you can explore to help you along your journey.  

From scholarships to federal aid, there are many avenues designed to help students pay for college. By researching and understanding these options early on, you can create a financial plan that allows you to focus on your education while responsibly covering your expenses. 

4 ways to pay for nursing school 

Nursing students often finance their education using one or a combination of the following options. If you plan to attend a nursing program and can’t fully cover your expenses with funds on hand, you may consider the following options: 

1. Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans serve as a lifeline for countless students, offering a more affordable way to finance higher education. These loans are backed by the U.S. government, which often means they come with lower interest rates compared to their private counterparts.  

Determining your eligibility for federal student loans begins with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) application. The FAFSA is a primary gateway to federal financial assistance for higher education and can open doors to various federal aid options tailored to your financial situation.  

Federal student loans offer various repayment plans, some of which are based on your post-grad income. This can make them a more manageable option for new graduates. However, it’s crucial to borrow only what’s necessary. While federal student loan terms are more lenient, the loan is still borrowed money that can result in long-term financial implications if not repaid.  

To secure federal aid, it’s essential to submit your FAFSA application early and ensure all information is accurate to maximize the aid you can receive. Regularly checking for updates and understanding the yearly deadlines can also position you better in the aid allocation process. 

2. Private Student Loans 

When federal loans, scholarships, and grants aren’t enough, private student loans are an option that can help bridge the financial gap. Private lenders like Ascent offer student loan options like undergraduate student loans and medical school loans to help students finance their education.  

Private lenders may offer larger loan amounts compared to federal loans. It’s essential to understand the interest rates and repayment terms to ensure you don’t take on a loan you can’t pay back. Each lender will have unique eligibility criteria, so compare rates and terms across multiple lenders to ensure you’re making an informed decision. 

3. Nursing Scholarships

Scholarships are an asset for nursing students because they provide financial support without the burden of repayment. Numerous organizations, institutions, and even individuals offer scholarships for students pursuing a nursing career.  

Whether based on academic excellence, community involvement, or specific areas of nursing, these awards can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses. When applying for scholarships, start your search early, make sure you fit the eligibility criteria, and keep an organized list of deadlines so you don’t miss out on potential funds. 

Additionally, university hospitals and nonprofit organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nursing offer scholarships and financial aid resources for students across the country. If you’re passionate about nursing but wondering how to pay for nursing school, nursing school scholarships are the best place to start. 

4. Grants for Nursing School

Much like scholarships, grants are financial gifts that students don’t have to pay back. The primary difference between scholarships and grants is that grants are typically awarded based on financial need. Sources of grants can be diverse, ranging from federal programs like the Pell Grant to state-specific grants and private organizations.  

Because they do not need to be repaid, grants tend to be highly sought after. Early application and thorough research are key to helping secure funds to help you manage the costs of your nursing education. 

Student loan forgiveness and reimbursement for nursing students

The healthcare industry needs dedicated professionals, and underserved areas can be impacted by the lack of health resources. Recognizing this, various loan forgiveness programs have been established to incentivize nurses to serve in these communities. Some of these programs include the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PLSF), Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP), and many more.   

By committing to work in specific medical fields or regions with a high demand for healthcare services, nurses can benefit from significant reductions in their student loan balances. Some of these programs might cover a portion of the loan, while others might offer complete loan forgiveness. 

Working in underserved areas exposes nurses to diverse medical cases and allows them to make impactful differences in communities that truly need their expertise. While the financial benefits are undoubtedly appealing, the opportunity to profoundly impact lives and communities is an equally compelling reason for many nurses to consider these programs. 

Resources and support for nursing students 

If you’re ready to embark on the journey to a rewarding career in healthcare, remember that you’re not alone. From public and private scholarships to work-study programs, there are many financial resources dedicated to helping nursing students pay for school.  

Financial literacy for nursing students 

While investigating how to pay for nursing school, it’s vital to equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to manage your finances effectively. Financial literacy is more than just understanding how much you owe; it’s about making informed decisions that can benefit your financial health in the long run. 

If you’re considering an advanced degree, understanding the nuances of graduate student loans is an important first step. Graduate student loans often have different terms, interest rates, and benefits than undergraduate student loans. Additionally, if you’re venturing into specialized areas of nursing or other health professions, many lenders offer health professions student loans with terms that meet the unique needs of students in health-related fields. 

By understanding your financial options early on, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the complexities of student loans, budgeting, and saving. This knowledge will not only help you during your time in school but also set the foundation for a secure financial future as you embark on your nursing career. 

Learn more with Ascent 

Embarking on a nursing career is a fulfilling journey, and the experience can be made even more seamless if you know how to plan for and manage your expenses. From federal and private student loans to scholarships and grants, there are multiple options to help you fund your education and achieve your dreams.  

As you navigate the path to becoming a nurse, Ascent has the resources and support you need to make informed financial decisions about your education. Visit our financial wellness hub or check out our blog for more tips and student success resources to help you in school and beyond. 


How do you get nursing school paid for? 

Securing funds for nursing school involves exploring a mix of financial aid options. Scholarships and grants are excellent starting points as they don’t require repayment. Additionally, federal and private loans can bridge any remaining financial gaps, but it’s crucial to understand their terms and repayment structures. 

How much is nursing school? 

The cost of nursing school can vary widely based on several factors. Different institutions have distinct tuition rates, and the program’s length, whether it’s an associate’s, bachelor’s, or advanced degree, can influence the overall cost. To get a clear picture, prospective students should reach out to specific schools or programs for detailed tuition and fee information. 

Do nurses get tuition forgiveness? 

Indeed, many nurses can benefit from tuition forgiveness programs. These initiatives are often designed for those who commit to working in underserved or high-need areas for a specified period. By fulfilling these work commitments, eligible nurses can have a portion, if not all, of their student loans forgiven. 

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