Are you interested in nursing school but worried about paying for your nursing degree? You're not alone. Recent NerdWallet statistics indicate that nursing students graduate with an average debt of nearly $20,000 with some reaching more than $47,000.
But there is good news: Numerous resources to help you pay for nursing school exist. There are private and government-funded nursing scholarships and grants, work-study programs, and loans.
For instance, federal loan repayment programs can also help you repay tuition and costs, often in exchange for serving in a particular role or community. Private employers may also be willing to help you repay your school debt if you agree to work for them for a period of time.
Let's look at some of the ways you can pay for your nursing degree.
Types of Financial Aid for Nursing Students
Financial aid for nursing programs comes in many different forms. You should understand how each method functions, along with application requirements. Nursing programs typically last 1-5 years, and tuition can vary based on school type, available funding, and length.
Students seeking need-based funding often gravitate toward grants, while those with academic merit may qualify for more scholarships. You should research each type of funding to streamline the application process.
Creating a nursing school personal budget can also help you see how far your money will take you while in school.
Grants for Nursing Students
Grants provide a great option for students with limited financial resources. Many grants offer need-based funding. Other qualification factors may include location, degree type, and GPA.
Grants offer an attractive option since they do not require repayment, so long as students stick to the terms of funding.
2(Video) The Breakroom: How to Get Your Nursing Degree | NurseJournal
Scholarships for Nursing Students
Many nursing scholarships, including those for master of science in nursing scholarship programs, nursing scholarships for men, or scholarships for minority populations, award funding to learners with exceptional academic records. These awards tend to be competitive and call on applicants to stand out from the crowd.
Application requirements vary but usually include academic records, an essay, and reference letters. Like grants, students do not need to repay nursing scholarships if they meet all requirements.
Work-Study Programs for Nursing Students
Work-study programs allow students who qualify for federal funding to work part time at their school or a local community organization in exchange for payment. Students can apply to the work-study office at their school, which matches them with roles that fit their schedules.
Recipients can apply these funds directly to educational costs or use them for living costs.
Loans for Nursing Students
Loans come from private and public sources, but students most commonly receive this type of funding from the federal government.
As part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application, enrollees qualify for many government-backed loan options. Students must demonstrate need through financial records and request an amount that will cover educational and related costs.
Loans vary from other financial aid options by requiring repayment.(Video) I paid ZERO dollars for my MSN degree #nursing #msn #education
Featured Online RN-to-BSN in Nursing Programs
Sources of Financial Aid Funding
Scholarships, grants, and loans can come from different sources. For instance, many private foundations, professional associations, and higher education institutions provide scholarships. Grants can come from all levels of the government, along with colleges and universities.
Each funding source may set different rules regarding use and repayment. Private loans typically have more conditions than those backed by the government, while government grants may have more requirements than those provided by foundations.
The next section considers the differences among types of loans.
Types of Loans
Students can pursue loans in several different forms. They need to decide which type of loan to pursue based on available interest rates, overall loan amount, and repayment options.
Nursing candidates with no credit or bad credit usually must apply for federal student loans, as private companies would likely not approve them. A learner who has already maxed out their federal student loans may decide to pursue a private option to receive enough funding to make it through graduation.
Understanding the key differences among loan types can help borrowers avoid costly mistakes and student loan forgiveness scams.
The following two sections break down common types of student loans.
Federal Loans Versus Private Loans
Students most commonly apply for private and federal nursing student loans. Federal loans come directly from the government. Private options may come from lenders, such as credit unions, banks, or schools. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) states that students should always consider federal loans as their first option.
ED provides federal student loans with fixed interest rates. These rates often sit lower than private loans and far lower than credit card rates. The federal government also provides student loan forgiveness for nurses in some cases, such as through the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program. These students must agree to work in a public service role in a high-need area for a set amount of time after graduating.
Learners often prefer federal loans, which do not require repayment until after they leave school, offer deferment and forbearance, and sometimes feature subsidized interest rates during enrollment. Private loans typically offer none of these services.(Video) What they DIDNT TELL YOU about ADN/ASN NURSING DEGREE || ADN NURSING WORTH IT? || Carle Rae
Students apply for federal loans through FAFSA. If a learner decides to pursue a private loan, they should seek opportunities with the lowest interest rates, fair repayment terms, and helpful services like automatic payment discounts or great customer service.
Unlike federal loans, private loan applications require a credit check. Those with bad credit or no credit may not qualify. To apply, contact a local bank or credit union.
Subsidized Loans Versus Unsubsidized Loans
ED offers subsidized and unsubsidized nursing student loans. Subsidized loans support undergraduate students who can prove financial need. As long as they are enrolled at least part time in higher education, the government pays the accumulating interest on the loan. Recipients become responsible for paying interest after leaving school or graduating.
Unsubsidized loans, available to undergraduates and graduates, do not require evidence of financial need. Interest on the loan amount accumulates during a student's time in school and becomes their responsibility whenever they leave or graduate school.
In this case, your school determines the amount of money you can borrow. The institution bases this number on the nursing program's cost and the amount of funding you have already received.
These loans do not require credit score minimums. Students learn of their eligibility through the FAFSA process and should work with the financial aid office at their school for additional help.
Government Assistance Programs for Nurses
Government assistance programs that help pay for nursing school include those funded by the U.S. Army, Department of Health and Human Services, and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These scholarships offer full or partial funding for students willing to commit to serving as Army nurses or at facilities located in areas with shortages of primary care or mental health professionals.
The HRSA offers scholarships through its Nurse Corps program in exchange for two-years' minimum service at a critical shortage facility in a health professional shortage area after graduation. Awards cover tuition, eligible fees, and reasonable costs for books and materials. Recipients also receive a monthly stipend.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents enrolled in an accredited nursing diploma or degree program.
The benefits department supports nursing schools with scholarship funding for students in need. Nursing program applicants or enrollees apply through their school's financial aid office.
Eligible students must be U.S. nationals, citizens, or permanent residents, enrolled in nursing degree programs, and considered low or very low income. Funding can be used for tuition, school expenses, housing, and subsistence — but not childcare.
The U.S. Army's Health Profession Scholarship program, which includes nursing students, pays for four years of tuition, books and equipment, and school fees. It also provides a monthly stipend, food and housing allowance, and a $20,000 sign-on bonus with officer's-level pay during school breaks.
In return, scholarship recipients commit to serving in the Army Nurse Corps in critical care, emergency trauma, gynecology/obstetrics, mental health, or perioperative nursing. Applicants must have active duty status, qualification as a commissioned officer, and full-time nursing school enrollment.
Loan Repayment for Nursing Graduates
Like scholarship programs, federal loan repayment programs require a postgraduation service commitment. Recipients teach future nurses, conduct research, and work in understaffed areas and facilities in exchange for loan repayment funds.
Most repayment programs require a two-year service contract.
Health professionals, including registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses, can apply for HRSA's Faculty Loan Repayment Program. Funding requires coming from a disadvantaged background, a nursing degree or diploma, and a two-year agreement to serve on the faculty of a nursing school.
The program offers up to $40,000 of loan repayment assistance, plus funding to offset the taxes.
HRSA's Nurse Corps Repayment Program pays 60% of the education debt owed by eligible registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and nurse faculty. To qualify, nurses must spend two years working at a critical shortage facility, an area that needs primary care providers or mental health professionals. They can also work at an eligible nursing school.
A third year of service awards an additional 25% repayment.
The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, administered through HRSA, provides loan repayment to licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines, including nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives. Awardees commit to working for two years in a health professional shortage area and receive up to $50,000 for full-time service and $25,000 for half time.
Loan repayment eligibility requires U.S. citizenship or nationality; caring for Medicare, Medicaid, and state children's health insurance patients; and completion of training and licensure.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Loan Repayment Programs aim to recruit and retain qualified health researchers, including nursing doctoral degree-holders, while easing the costs of advanced education and training.
The program repays up to $50,000 in educational debt for NIH and non-NIH clinical researchers, along with pediatric, health disparities, and emerging areas critical to human health.
NIH requires a two-year research commitment.
The federal Indian Health Service repays up to $40,000 of health professionals' education loans in exchange for a two-year commitment of full-time work at an American Indian or Alaska Native healthcare facility identified as needing staff.
The program does not require membership in federally recognized tribes but does give members priority consideration. Applicants submit college transcripts, current licensure, employment verification, and loan documentation.
Nursing Tuition Reimbursement From Employers
Some nursing jobs can help cover education costs, such as tuition or continuing education courses, in exchange for a commitment to work there for a set amount of time. The federal tax code allows employers to offer up to $5,250 each year in tuition reimbursement.
You can deduct these funds from your expenses, and they are not taxable within your income. Many employers offer this program, but you can also ask about the potential of receiving reimbursement.
Individual companies set eligibility requirements, but they usually include staying at the organization while enrolled and for a set amount of time after graduating. This money does not require repayment, so long as the recipient meets the specific terms.
- Federal student aid. (n.d.). https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/federal-vs-private
- Helhoski A, et al. (2022). Student loan debt statistics: 2022. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/loans/student-loans/student-loan-debt
No, you can't take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) until you complete a nursing degree. The type of degree needed depends on the nursing license you wish to obtain. In general, you'll need to pass a diploma program or get an associate's (ADN) or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).How to afford going back to nursing school? ›
- Scholarships. Scholarships can help reduce the amount that you owe for nursing school. ...
- Financial Aid. ...
- Nursing Tuition Reimbursement. ...
- Military Service. ...
- Work-Study Programs. ...
- RN to BSN Programs. ...
- Nursing Apprenticeships. ...
- Nursing Loan Forgiveness.
Programs like the ROTC or military nurse corps can pay for nursing school in exchange for military service. There are also programs like the AMEDD Enlisted Commissioning Program that let military members enroll in nursing school and pay the costs.Why is nursing degree so expensive? ›
Reasons Why Nursing School is So Expensive
Expanding campus amenities. Growing college administrations. Higher demand for a college education. Increases in the cost of living.
- Health educator.
- Medical transcriptionist.
- Home health aide.
- Nursing assistant.
- Medical assistant.
- Health coach.
- Research assistant.
- Medical records specialist.
All nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before they can work as Registered Nurses. It's stressful to think that passing one exam can control your future.How do people pay off nursing school? ›
Student loan forgiveness programs at the state and federal level including Public Service Loan Forgiveness(PSLF), Nurse Corp Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP) and Indian Health Services Loan Repayment Program (IHS) Assistance programs offered through your employer as part of your employment benefits.What is the average student debt for nurses? ›
Nursing Student Loan Debt for BSNs
The average cost of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is between $8,000 and $55,000. The average student loan debt for a BSN is $23,711.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers student loan forgiveness for nurses who are working full time for a government or nonprofit organization by paying off the remainder of their loans after the first 120 payments.What rank is a nurse in the Air Force? ›
Since they are commissioned officers, nurses enter the Air Force as Second Lieutenants, a rank with an annual salary of $41,720, according to 2022 military pay data.
With experience and years of service, the Army nurse could rise through the ranks to O-10, the highest rank. There is a special pay grade rank for nurses who were previously enlisted in military service. When that person reenlists as a military nurse, they will have the rank O-1E.Will the military put me through nursing school? ›
Many military members have careers in the private sector before or after their military careers. You certainly can get a nursing degree while enlisted in the military, but this is only one of several different ways that enlisting in the armed services can help you with a career in healthcare.Is it really worth it to be a nurse? ›
Many senior-level nurses make an average salary of well over $100,000 and have the sought-after luxury of terrific job security, which can't be undervalued in this day and age. Depending on which nursing field you pursue, you can make even more, according to a recent article featured on nurse.org.How much is nursing school fees in Canada? ›
Studying nursing in Canada is considered quite affordable. According to Statistics Canada, the average international undergraduate tuition fee for nursing is CA$24,852 for 2022-23.Is a bachelors in nursing worth it? ›
With a BSN, a more diverse range of career paths become available to you. These positions aren't as possible or as easy to pursue if you only have an associate degree in nursing. As a BSN-educated nurse, you can work at a hospital or other healthcare facility in such specialty areas as: Obstetrics.How many times can you fail nursing? ›
If they fail, they'll need to wait 45 days before retesting. After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. test-takers have six attempts to pass in total.What happens if you fail nursing class? ›
You Can Still Become a Nurse, so Don't Give Up
Maybe you can retake a class over the break, file an academic appeal, or take some other action to get reinstated in the program. Many failed nursing students have done this successfully. If that doesn't work, you can apply to another school with a nursing program.
Though the vast majority of candidates pass the exam the first time, those who fail are permitted to retake it after 45 days from their original test date. Candidates may retest as many as 8 times in a year. Candidates must pass NCLEX within three years from when they graduated nursing school.How many nurses fail the NCLEX the first-time? ›
What Are Your Chances Of Failing NCLEX-RN On The First Attempt? The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reports 13.43% of NCLEX-RN candidates fail the exam on their first attempt. The number of unsuccessful test-takers is low compared to the more than 86% who pass the exam on their first try.Are nursing exams harder than NCLEX? ›
Unlike nursing school exams, which test for knowledge, the NCLEX tests your ability to apply and analyze situations using the nursing knowledge you gained in school. Logic and critical thinking, rather than rote memorization, are emphasized in this test—making it much more difficult and comprehensive.
The fee to write the exam is $360 CAD. You will receive your results directly from the College. Testing accommodations are available by submitting these forms and must be accompanied with the NCLEX-RN Eligibility application form: Examination Testing Accommodations Candidate Application Form.How do you survive financially during nursing school? ›
- Use Financial Aid.
- Apply for Scholarships.
- Consider Help From Your Current Job.
- Work From Home.
- Consider Night-Shift Jobs.
- Ask for Work Study Programs.
- Take Out Loans.
- Consider A Military Nursing Career.
The Health Resources and Services Administration offers a student loan repayment program (among other assistance programs) to eligible health care professionals. To qualify for forgiveness, you'll need to be licensed and work in an eligible discipline. Eligible workers include: Physicians (DO/MD).How do nursing students make money? ›
- Healthcare Industry Jobs. ...
- Service Jobs. ...
- Retail Jobs. ...
- Freelance Writing Or Editing. ...
- Virtual Assistant. ...
- Tutoring. ...
- House Sitting Or Pet Sitting. ...
- Open An Online Store.
According to the National League for Nursing, the national dropout rate for nursing programs in the United States is 20%, and this high attrition rate is considered problematic.What is the failure rate for nursing students? ›
NCLEX pass rates have dropped from about 73% for all candidates and 88% for first-time US educated candidates to 69% and 82% respectively in 2021, the last full year for which results are available, NCSBN spokesperson Dawn Kappel told Medscape.How long do you have to pay off nursing school? ›
Experts expect students who graduated in 2021 to pay off their student loans between 8-19 years while paying $669 per month. Ultimately, how long it takes to pay off nursing school loans depends on the amount of money borrowed, the interest rate, and repayment habits.Do hospitals pay off nursing student loans? ›
You may be wondering: “Can hospitals pay off student loans for nurses?” While hospitals do not typically directly pay nursing loans, nurses who work in non-profit hospitals may possibly qualify for student loan forgiveness. Find out what Public Service Loan Forgiveness is.Why aren t nursing students paid for clinicals? ›
Clinicals are part of your schooling experience except you get to be in a real-world learning environment monitored by an experienced licensed nurse. Because it is part of your education, it is something you're technically paying for as a result of your tuition and fees.Can nurses get rid of student loans? ›
Full-time nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurse specialists and nurse-midwives may be able to wipe out up to $50,000 of both federal and private student loan debt through the program. Part-time nurse practitioners and nurse midwives may receive up to $25,000 in loan forgiveness.
Chief nursing officers are nursing administrators who work within the leadership team of a healthcare organization. They are considered the highest level of nursing leadership.What is a RN called in the military? ›
A military nurse is a registered nurse who is also enlisted in one of the branches of the military, serving their country by providing medical care to other service members. They also support the families of our servicemen and servicewomen.How much do military nurses make in Canada? ›
Registered Nurse salaries at Canadian Armed Forces can range from $114,612-$123,303.Who is above the CNO? ›
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO): The CNO, sometimes referred to as the chief nursing executive (CNE), is at the top of the pyramid. This position usually works under the CEO of the hospital or agency and has administrative and supervisory roles.How old can a nurse join the military? ›
Requirements for joining the Navy Nurse Corps include being between the ages of 20 and 34, being able to pass the Navy's physical standards, and having completed certain minimum levels of training and education.Do military nurses get guns? ›
Members of the Army Nurse Corps deployed to combat areas typically carry weapons. Navy and Air Force nurses, on the other hand, receive weapons training but do not generally carry them.Is it hard to join the Army as a nurse? ›
Becoming an army nurse is harder than getting a civilian nursing job. In order to become an army nurse, an RN must complete a lengthy pre-commission process and be selected for an Army commission by a board. They must leave home to complete the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) when selected.Do nurses make more in the military? ›
Basic military pay is a service member's primary salary. Military pay depends on years of service and rank. In this sense, nursing specialties do not impact pay in the military — an RN and certified registered nurse anesthetist who has served the same amount of time and has the same rank will receive the same pay.Why is it so hard to be a nurse? ›
The main reason why nursing school is challenging is because it involves learning about complicated nursing concepts and practical skills, then applying that information into diverse patient care scenarios — going well beyond memorizing facts. While it is challenging, nursing school is not impossible.Is it good to be a nurse in Canada? ›
Benefits. First and foremost benefit of working as a registered nurse in Canada is that you get to earn an average salary of $65,000 CD annually which is comparatively higher than what is being offered in developing nations.
Nursing requires more dedication than many other careers. However, it's one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Nursing school is notoriously difficult—and it's not for everyone. Graduate school is challenging as well.What is the cheapest college to study nursing in Canada? ›
#1 Vancouver Community College
At the top of the list as the most affordable school for the nursing-related or practical nursing courses in Canada is Vancouver Community College gives its students the knowledge and necessary experience to practice ethical, competent, and safe principles of practical nursing.
I think the easiest nursing school to join in Canada is The University of British Columbia. they have a lenient application process.Can I study nursing for free in Canada? ›
International students can get a chance to study nursing in Canada for free with the help of scholarships, as there is an ample number of scholarships provided in Canada.What percentage of nurses have a Bachelor degree? ›
The percentage of registered nurses who hold a bachelor's of science in nursing or higher is at an all-time high with a national average of about 56 percent, up from about 49 percent in 2010.Is it better to have a BSN or RN? ›
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook: ”Generally, registered nurses who have a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.” Increasingly, a BSN degree is becoming the degree of choice for other reasons as well.Is being a nurse mentally draining? ›
A nurse experiencing burnout might have mental fatigue and feel emotionally drained. They may feel more negative or cynical towards their work and dread the next shift.Can I take the NCLEX before I graduate? ›
The earliest date on which you can take the NCLEX-RN® exam varies depending on your state, but the majority of students test approximately 45 days after the date of their graduation.Can a medical assistant take the NCLEX? ›
Unfortunately, medical assistants can't just take the NCLEX to become an RN. They must first complete an accredited nursing program before taking the exam.What do you need to get on the NCLEX to pass? ›
While it's possible to pass the NCLEX after answering all 135, it's also possible to pass the test with a minimum of 70 questions or any number in between. Keep in mind NCLEX has a time limit of five hours. If you haven't answered enough questions correctly when the clock runs out, you will fail the test.
You can become a nurse with a biology degree by deciding which type of nursing degree you want to pursue, applying your previous credits to any necessary prerequisites, and enrolling as a student before passing the NCLEX-RN exam and finding a new position as a nurse.Is NCLEX required in Canada? ›
NCLEX is an important nursing exam in Canada. This standardized test is mandatory to get your license as a nurse. The test is computer adaptive, and the difficulty level varies with your performance.How hard is the NCLEX exam? ›
NCLEX Pass Rates
The second-attempt pass rate for domestically-educated students taking the test was 45.56%. These results demonstrate that it is a pretty difficult test. The questions are designed to test your critical thinking, knowledge of the nursing process, and assessment skills.
If you happen not to pass the exam, you can retake it after 45 days. And if you are wondering how often you can take the NCLEX, the NCSBN retake policy allows for a retake eight times a year, ensuring 45 exam-free days between each test.Can you work as a nurse while waiting to take NCLEX? ›
Some issue temporary permits to candidates who are waiting to take the NCLEX and receive exam results. Some allow them to work for a short period under supervision as graduate nurses. Some states will not allow them to work as registered nurses until the NCLEX is passed and the RN license issued.What is the highest level of medical assistant? ›
The Top Medical Assistant Certifications
The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
If the medical assistant continues to call him/herself a nurse after being told it is inappropriate you should alert your state board of nursing so they can be held legally accountable for claiming a license and title they do not have. It is illegal in all states to claim a license you do not have.What is the pass rate for the NCLEX in Canada? ›
First-attempt pass rates by Canadian-educated writers have increased to 85.8% in 2020 from 79.9% in 2016 (see Tables 2 and 6). All provinces have seen an increase in their first-attempt pass rates in 2020 compared with 2016 (with the exception of Prince Edward Island) (see Table 7).Did I pass NCLEX with 75 questions? ›
Yes, you can pass the NCLEX-RN by answering only 75 questions. Keep in mind, the number of questions you answer may be a sign you passed, but it is not a definite sign. If your questions got progressively more challenging until the test stopped, this is one of the good signs you passed NCLEX in 2023.How many people fail the NCLEX? ›
What Are Your Chances Of Failing NCLEX-RN On The First Attempt? The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) reports 13.43% of NCLEX-RN candidates fail the exam on their first attempt. The number of unsuccessful test-takers is low compared to the more than 86% who pass the exam on their first try.
Biology without a doubt. The courses required to go from an ADN to BSN are full of time wasting assignments that rarely help you imprive your practice. If it were not true, why are new grad continually told their first several months/years they will actually learn to be a nurse?How long after graduation can I take my NCLEX? ›
Typically, you can take the exam 45 days after graduation . However, the date varies state by state. The first step is to complete the two-step registration process on NCSBN.Should you study for NCLEX while in nursing school? ›
If you wait until midway through your final semester in nursing school to start thinking about how you will prepare for the NCLEX, you're putting yourself under undue pressure. The smartest thing you can do is to start preparing for the NCLEX 6–12 months before exam day.