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Nursing Education: Financial Aid Guide

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May 9, 2012 Eve Hullett, Columnist | 0 Comments

These days, we hear more and more about the aging baby boomer generation, and the impact they will have on the health care industry. Most experts agree that as the baby boomers continue to age, there will be a significant increase on the demand of medical professionals. Unfortunately, rising tuition costs mean that many students who possess an interest in the field of health care are not able to pursue their dreams. Luckily, there are a number of nursing scholarships, loans, and grants designed to help students interested in obtaining a career in the field of nursing. Students who are interested in applying for these scholarships and grants should first understand the application process and the different options available to eligible students.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is a document that is used by the government and different schools to determine if applicants are eligible for student aid. In most cases, submitting the FAFSA is considered to be a must when it comes to applying for assistance. Traditionally, nursing students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA as early as January 1st of the year for which they believe they will need the aid. While the FAFSA can be submitted in both electronic and paper versions, students may get a faster response from online applications.

In some cases, nursing students who exhibit extreme financial hardship may be able to obtain a Pell grant. Unlike other forms of financial aid, Pell grants do not require repayment, and are therefore considered to be quite ideal for most students. While there are numerous Pell grants available, nursing students are often encouraged to apply to those offered by nursing organizations or schools. Professionals in the financial aid office of a specific college or university should be able to provide additional assistance when it comes to navigating a Pell grant.

Scholarships are another option for financial aid when it comes to paying for nursing schools. Traditionally, scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic prowess, though some may also be provided due to financial necessity. Like Pell grants, scholarships do not require repayment. Depending on the specific region in which the nursing student lives, scholarships may be provided through such organizations as Kaiser Permanente and even the Red Cross. To obtain these scholarships, students must usually complete an essay, mission statement, or other type of application.

Some nursing students turn to work-study in an attempt to pay for nursing school. As suggested by the name, work-study jobs are those in which students work at an on-campus site, in exchange for monetary reimbursement. To obtain these work-study positions, students must usually be able to demonstrate some type of financial need. Students usually are awarded with a set amount of money each semester, which may not fluctuate significantly.

In most cases, nursing students are required to take out loans to pay their tuition. Loans are a specific type of financial aid, which is expected to be repaid, with interest, following the completion of an academic program. While there are a number of different types of loans available to nursing students, federal loans are often considered to be ideal due to their lower interest rates and flexible repayment programs. Nursing students should be aware that the amount of money available through loans from the Federal government is limited—so in some cases, private loans may also be required.

Loan forgiveness programs are a great way to nurses to erase some of the debt obtained through college. The Nursing Education Loan Forgiveness Programs—which is sponsored by the Federal government—is a specific type of loan forgiveness program designed to erase up to 60% of a nurses student debt. To obtain this loan forgiveness, a nurse must work at least two years in a critical shortage facility. In some cases, certain states may also offer loan forgiveness to offset the debt associated with paying for college.

Getting a head-start on financial aid is obviously essential for students who wish to ensure success as a professional. High schools students who are interested in the field of nursing should begin the application process as early as their final year in high school. High school or college counselors can often provide valuable advice when it comes to applying for the types of financial aid discussed above. In addition, online resources can also be effective resources for obtaining more information about financial aid for nurses.




Eve Hullett

With years of experience in the field of non-profit education, Eve has done it all. From teaching to tutoring, Eve has worked with hundreds of students to help them succeed in their pursuit of a college education. Today, when Eve is not enjoying a day of hiking, she spends her time writing articles on the strategies and methods of being a good student and fulfilling your goals for a college education.

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