How to Pay for Nursing School: 8 Paths to Success

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If you are wondering how to pay for nursing school, you have many options beyond only paying out-of-pocket. In fact, working during nursing school is not ideal. Your options can range from scholarships and grants to apprenticeships and tuition reimbursement.

stethoscope with stacked money beside it

Higher education can be expensive, and nursing school is no different. You are probably wondering how to pay for nursing school. Finances can cause many to doubt whether becoming a nurse is even an option. This does not have to be the case. With the national nursing shortage, you are needed now more than ever, and the cost of nursing school should not hinder you from achieving your dreams.

Here at Felician University, we want you to succeed academically and practically. Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program allows students to complete nursing school in 16 months through our online-based program or 18 months through our on-ground program. If you have a previous bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits, you can complete nursing school without sacrificing your flexibility and finances.

How Much Is Nursing School?

If you are interested in enrolling in an ABSN program, you may wonder how much it will cost to attend. Like any other program, there are a few factors to consider, beginning with tuition. Keep in mind that payment is organized differently between the two programs, so be sure to view the tuition breakdown before making a decision.

You also need to consider miscellaneous nursing school expenses. These may include room and board and other items such as scrubs, NCLEX-RN study materials, equipment for clinicals, and graduation expenses.

Before searching for ways to pay for school, it is essential to create a budget and expense sheet. Remember to speak with your admissions counselor to discuss your individualized expenses. Your counselor can help formalize a plan and get the complete financial picture for your time in the ABSN program.

Due to the current nursing shortage, the healthcare system is working to make nursing school as financially accessible as possible for students. Here are seven options to help pay for nursing school.

1. Scholarships

When considering your tuition options, your first thought may be to apply for scholarships. While this is only one of your options, you should definitely begin researching scholarships you are eligible for. These may be offered directly through the program, but you should also apply for stackable independent scholarships. In fact, these are some of the best nursing scholarships. If you play it right, stacking scholarships helps pay for a significant portion of your tuition. Stacking scholarships means that you use more than one scholarship at a time to cover more expenses. Keep in mind that not all scholarships are stackable.

2. Federal Financial Aid

If you are applying to the ABSN program, you likely have already heard about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students complete this application annually, which is the best way to receive government financial aid through federal grants and loan offers. Even if you do not qualify as low-income, you may be surprised at the help offered.

3. Apprenticeships

student with back pack and laptop looking at camera

Apprenticeships are excellent for anyone serious about their career as a nurse. Not only are many apprenticeship programs paid, but you will also receive additional experience and attention from your apprenticeship provider. If you are drawn to a program that allows maximum time working in a clinical setting, try researching apprenticeship options to determine eligibility. Programs vary, so ensure that the program you apply for will reach the level of education you seek.

4. Tuition Reimbursement

If you are willing to pay up-front tuition costs, then tuition reimbursement may be a perfect choice. Tuition reimbursement programs have specific stipulations and eligibility requirements, but if you are aware ahead of time, they should not be a hindrance. Due to the drastic need for healthcare workers, many employers offer these programs to encourage nurses to work for them. Programs can vary; for example, some may pay less with fewer requirements, and others may cover more tuition but require you to work in an underserved area. This means that you can apply for the tuition reimbursement programs that work best for you.

5. Military Service

As a military service member, you can receive significant compensation for education costs through the GI Bill. You may even be able to complete your nursing education while still in the military. This varies depending on your branch, so investigate your options. Plan ahead if you are leaving the military and can take advantage of the GI Bill to pay for school. If you are not a service member but are interested in joining, options exist for you too.

man in military uniform shaking woman's hand

Learn more about the transition from military to ABSN at Felician University.

6. Nursing Loan Forgiveness

If you need student loans to pay for nursing school, you may find relief through the numerous nursing loan forgiveness programs. Debt can be a burden, and with the everyday stresses of life as a nurse, paying for your degree should not be one of them. Like many tuition reimbursement programs, these often have specific requirements you must meet once you begin your career, such as what types of facilities you will work at.

7. Nursing Grants

Nursing grants share many similarities to scholarships and reimbursement programs. Many of these were established in response to the nursing shortage to entice prospective nurses to complete their degrees. If you choose to pursue a federal grant, submit the FAFSA on time. However, there are also many private grants available to nurses. Search for grant organizations in your area and beyond to consider nursing grant options.

8. Working While in Nursing School

Nursing school is a challenging and rigorous process. In the ABSN program, you will learn everything you would in a traditional four-year program in only 16-18 months, so you should treat it as a full-time job. As such, we typically do not recommend that our students work while in school. Between classes, labs, and clinicals, you won’t have much time left in your week.

Felician nursing student standing in classroom

Your time at Felician University is a financial investment in your future. However, we also understand that this is not realistic for some people. Our flexible hybrid program leaves room to fit education into your life. If you choose to work during the program, speak with your admissions counselor to make a plan that works for you. We also recommend trimming your hours so nursing school remains your priority.

Look into part-time positions as a hospital orderly, nursing assistant, or caregiver. This will help build up your resume and give you experience working alongside nurses.

Work with Admissions Counselors to Get Started

At Felician University, we have a team of qualified admissions counselors to walk you through your financial situation and options for how to pay for nursing school. If you are searching for a way to complete your nursing degree and enter the world of nursing as fast as possible, our Accelerated BSN may be the right fit.

Contact an admissions counselor today to take the first step in your nursing journey.