College Student (Particularly Nursing) Loans and Financial Aid Guide

Congratulations, you’ve decided to begin an online nursing program and you’re relieved to have finally come to a decision.  A nursing degree is in high demand and comes with the strong satisfaction of helping others, so you should be feeling good about the decision.  Then the consideration comes in, how are you going to pay for school?

Options

Like any other degree, online nursing programs come with a lot of different options for making your way through the expensive schooling.  Some of the options to consider are:

  • Grants – This is a particularly smart route if available to you. Grants are essentially “free” money.  They do not have to be paid back and there are more than a thousand available in the United States.  Grants can range anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.
  • Scholarships – Like grants, a scholarship does not have to be paid back but they can be more difficult to acquire. Oftentimes you will have to apply for a scholarship and as others are doing the same, they can become very competitive and you may not meet the requirements for all of them as they often apply to specific courses of study or involvement.  Scholarships can be offered from many places including, religious organizations, schools, businesses, community groups, individuals, and philanthropic foundations.
  • Work-study – These are jobs usually offered on-campus for students to work and finance their schooling. Often these will be positions in your field of study and will also help to build experience.
  • Loan forgiveness – Offered to help students pay back college loans as they work in their career setting. These are helpful because you can gain experience, get paid and get reimbursed towards your loan.  Loan forgiveness is mostly offered in areas of the country that have a shortage in your career.

Loans

One of the other but far less enticing options is a loan for your online nursing program.  Loans to have to be paid back but can be considered an investment towards your future.  To offer some relief, college loans have lower interest rates so they are easier to pay back and repayment does not begin until 6 months after your graduation.

In the end the most important factor is that you have decided on a career choice and are working towards a goal that will be financial and emotionally rewarding.  While grants and scholarships are the best option since you will not ever need to pay them back, the work-study and loans can be good options too.  If you receive no grants or scholarships it is nice to know you still have an option even if you will have to pay it back in 6 months after completion of your program.  Even with the debt you will finish with a degree and can get started on your new career path.  Nursing pays well and paying off the loan will be a piece of cake once you get settled into your new job.

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