If you’re thinking of making a career change to nursing, you may be wondering how to pay for nursing school. You’ve got a few options, including obtaining federal student aid, such as grants, and applying for GI Bill benefits if you’re a qualifying veteran. Scholarships and loans are other options.
If you aren’t feeling fulfilled in your current career, or you’re frustrated at the lack of advancement opportunities, you may be thinking about transitioning to a new career entirely. Nursing is a great option for individuals who want a meaningful career that allows them to help others. Is nursing school worth it? How much does a nurse make? And how can you finance a nursing degree? You’ll get all those answers as you explore how to pay for nursing school below.
A nursing degree is a worthwhile investment in your future, as it enables you to pursue a range of positions in various healthcare settings. At Averett University, we make nursing education accessible for our students. Here, you can leverage your prior non-nursing college education to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as 16 months over four semesters (not including any necessary prerequisites). Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program prepares you to sit for the nursing licensure exam (NCLEX-RN) to earn your license and start practicing as a nurse.
Did you know there are many alternative careers for nurses? Read about these 10 alternative nursing careers for nurses away from the bedside!
How to Pay for Nursing School
Nursing school is an investment but a worthwhile one. If you choose to enroll in an accelerated nursing program, such as the one at Averett, you can be a practice-ready nurse sooner than you might think. Don’t let tuition stand in the way of achieving your career dreams. Plenty of options exist for financing your education. Here’s a look at how to pay for nursing school.
Your first step in how to pay for nursing school is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is your gateway to federal grants (which do not need to be repaid) and federal loans (which do). Federal grants are generally awarded based on financial need.
You may qualify for student aid even if you completed a bachelor’s degree and received aid then. Every year, the FAFSA becomes available on October 1. You should fill it out before the year when you plan to start nursing school. It’s best to fill it out as early as possible, as some types of financial aid are limited.
Tuition Assistance for Military Servicemembers
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial benefits for the education of qualifying military service members (all branches) and their qualifying dependents or survivors. If eligible, you could receive financial aid for tuition, testing and licensure fees. In some cases, qualifying recipients may receive 100% of school tuition and fees, along with a monthly housing allowance.
Like federal grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid. They offer free money for education, although competition to obtain them can be stiff. To increase your chances of winning a scholarship, apply to as many as possible. Of course, you should only apply to the ones for which you are eligible. Scholarship eligibility differs but may be based on financial need, academic merit, demographic information or even special interests or skills.
When you’ve exhausted your options for student aid but still have remaining tuition or fees, your next option is student loans. You may opt to apply for federal or private student loans. It’s essential to read the terms carefully before signing the documents. You should have a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities as a loan recipient.
Generally, you’ll need to start repaying your student loans after graduation. If you decide to take out private student loans, take the time to shop around for an offer with the lowest possible interest rate. It’s a good idea to check your credit score and request credit reports. Look for ways to improve your credit score before applying for a private student loan so you can qualify for a lower interest rate.
Work-Study Programs & Flexible Part-Time Jobs
Once you’ve determined how to pay for nursing school, you’ll need to consider how you’ll cover your daily living expenses while attending the ABSN program. Nursing school is like a full-time job; in fact, it can require longer hours than a full-time job. Because of this, it’s not advisable to work during this time. You’ll need to pour your time and energy into your studies. Consider other ways of paying your living expenses, such as asking family for help or tapping into your savings.
However, if you absolutely need to work during nursing school to pay the bills, look for a part-time, highly flexible job. You may be able to obtain a work-study job, which generally involves working on campus or sometimes in the community, such as at local hospitals.
Starting to think about what your nursing career might look like? Check out this blog on 7 remote nurse career options!
Is Nursing School Worth It?
Although paying for nursing school might seem a little daunting, options for financing your degree are available. So, is nursing school worth it? It all depends on your unique career goals and what sort of person you are. If you’re the type of person who dreams of having a career that gives you pride and allows you to make a positive contribution to your community, then yes, a nursing degree will make it possible.
As a nurse, you will enjoy more than personal fulfillment. You’ll have opportunities to pursue a nursing specialty you’re passionate about — whether oncology, pediatrics or something else. You’ll have opportunities to pursue employment across a variety of healthcare settings — from hospitals to schools to private homes and beyond. Nursing offers a diverse range of career possibilities for those who are passionate about health science.
How Much Does a Nurse Make?
Another way to consider the question, “Is nursing school worth it?” is to look at the employment and salary prospects of a registered nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the nationwide job growth rate for RNs is expected to be 6% from 2021 through 2031. This indicates that healthcare employers expect to hire about 195,400 new nurses through this period. The BLS states that the median annual pay for RNs as of 2021 was $77,600.
In Virginia, where the Averett University School of Nursing is located, RNs had an annual mean salary of $88,860 as of 2022, according to the BLS. The BLS notes that the annual mean salary for nurse anesthetists in Virginia was $215,530; for nurse midwives was $106,790; and for nurse practitioners, it was $116,980.
Nursing school is an investment, and paying for it may be challenging. Still, nursing students who earn their degree and obtain licensure can look forward to pursuing a job with favorable salary potential.
Work Toward Your Dream of Becoming a Nurse Today!
When you’re ready to serve others by becoming a nurse, Averett is here to help. Contact us today, and you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor to help you navigate each step of the admissions process. Your admissions counselor can answer all your questions and help you determine if our ABSN program is a good fit for you.
Get started today, and you can earn your BSN in as few as 16 months after fulfilling the nursing prerequisites.