An RN to BSN program isn’t free. It can cost you many thousands of dollars in some cases. Just because it doesn’t take four years to achieve, doesn’t make it any less expensive. For many students, the cost alone can be their biggest deterrent from entering a program and furthering their career. Thankfully, there are many financial aid options available to help you reach your goals. You just have to know what those loan options are.
Federal Student Loans
The beauty of federal student loans is that they can be offered at a fixed interest rate, enabling students to pay a consistent price each time.
In order to unlock the benefits of federal student loans, you must first file your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Be mindful of deadlines for applications by checking the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website.
It’s even easier to get approved if you’ve already been accepted to an accredited nursing program in the United States. If so, you should be able to qualify for at least one of the following federal loans:
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
Federal loan recipients who go into nursing are also eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which gives borrowers the luxury of outstanding student loan debt forgiveness. Here are the two conditions that qualify you for it:
- Spent 10 years employed full-time in the public service or public health sector.
- You’ve made at least 120 qualified payments towards your loan.
A step up from federal loans are grants. Grants act like scholarships, only they’re a little more demanding. They are awarded based on a student’s financial needs or their academic performance, and they don’t have to be repaid at any point.
Typically, students will agree to receive either partial or full tuition coverage for their BSN in exchange for agreeing to work for an approved employer for a specified time period after their graduation.
Some BSN students might also qualify for the U.S. Department Health and Human Services’ NURSE Corps program—this covers a student’s full tuition and fees during their schooling. These students can also receive a monthly stipend for the entirety of their program, and when they graduate they’ll work two years at a health care facility located within one of the Health Professional Shortage Areas designated by the HHS.
There are also state level-sponsored nursing grants which are distributed by the school an RN to BSN student is attending. All you have to do is file your FAFSA to be automatically considered for all government-sponsored financial aid programs.
To see the educational grants in your state, contact your local board of higher education. For additional questions (specific to your school) we advise speaking with your financial aid office.
There are so many scholarship options out there it can be hard to keep them all straight. The best way to search for one is according to your specific needs and financial circumstances.
In addition to specific undergraduate and graduate level nursing scholarships, there are many general education scholarships available as well.
Some questions to consider when making your decision:
- What state do you live in?
- Is it school sponsored?
- Is there a minimum GPA requirement?
- What is your area of study?
- What are the enrollment levels?
Picking a scholarship has a direct correlation with the institution you’re planning on attending. Many offerings are limited based on school, state, and country. Do your due diligence when researching schools based on your financial burdens.