How to Pay for Nursing School: 7 Ways to Finance Your BSN

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The question of how to pay for nursing school doesn’t have just one answer. Usually, paying for nursing school involves multiple avenues. Your first step is to fill out the FAFSA form, which determines your eligibility for federal student loans and grants. Then, apply for private scholarships for additional funding.

nursing students in sim lab

If you’re thinking about switching careers and becoming a nurse, your first step is applying to nursing school. As you research various schools, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of financing your education.

Nursing school is an investment, no matter where you choose to go. However, financing options are available to help with paying for nursing school, from grants and student loans to nursing school scholarships.

Remember that a career in nursing offers a great return on investment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a registered nurse (RN) as of May 2022 was $81,220.

At Concordia University Texas, you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in as few as 16 months through our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track. Our admissions counselors are available to discuss financial aid, and our financial services team can further assist as you research your options.

Below, we’ll explore how to pay for nursing school using various options.

How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

Before tackling the question of how to get nursing school paid for, you’ll need to figure out how much you should expect to spend throughout the degree program. Keep in mind that you’ll have additional expenses, not just tuition and fees.

CTX nursing students at table studying together

Tuition and Fees

Every nursing school sets its own tuition rate. On average, however, you can expect to pay over $17,000 per term and close to $70,000 in total tuition costs. Some nursing schools may cost $80,000 or more for a BSN degree.

Some students may need to take prerequisite courses prior to enrolling in a nursing degree program. If this applies to you, you’ll also need to calculate the costs of the credit hours for your prerequisites.

In addition to tuition, you can expect other fees, such as:

  • Nursing school application
  • Testing
  • General services
  • Graduation fees

Additional Expenses

Along with tuition and fees, you’ll need to purchase nursing school supplies, including scrubs, a stethoscope, a penlight, and other medical supplies.

Nursing school is like a full-time job. Trying to work even a part-time job while completing the nursing curriculum is not advisable. You will need to navigate how to handle your everyday living expenses while you’re a student, including housing, food, transportation, and healthcare.

These expenses might seem overwhelming, but financing your education is possible. There are many options for paying for nursing school.

two nurses studying

What do you learn in nursing school? Read more to learn what to expect from the curriculum.

1. How to Pay for Nursing School with Federal Financial Aid

The first few options for how to get nursing school paid for are through the federal government. Federal financial aid for students is available in multiple forms, including grants and student loans.

Understanding the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a document you may be familiar with already if you previously earned non-nursing college credits. You should fill out this form even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for federal aid. You must also submit a new FAFSA each year that you’re a nursing student.

The FAFSA is completed via a digital portal accessible on the official federal student aid site, and is typically available in the fall or winter, so you should submit it as soon as possible. You’ll need certain documents on hand while you work on the FAFSA, such as your tax returns, current balances in all bank accounts, and the net worth of any investments.

Federal Grants for Nursing Students

Grants are the most preferable type of federal financial aid because they never need to be repaid. Grants for nursing students and other students are generally awarded based on financial need. Different types of federal grants are available, such as Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).

CTX nursing students standing in lab

Federal Student Loans for Nursing Students

The federal government offers two types of student loans: federal direct subsidized and federal direct unsubsidized loans.

Subsidized loans are based on financial need and come with more favorable terms. These subsidized student loans for nursing students don’t require you to pay interest on the loan while enrolled in school. In addition, the government will cover the interest payments for six months after graduation and during loan deferment periods.

In contrast, unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need. You are required to pay the interest accrued while in school and during deferment periods. However, you can expect the interest rates to be comparable to subsidized loans.

2. Private Student Loans

If you don’t qualify for federal student loans, private student loans are another option. Private loans can be helpful if your federal loans aren’t enough to cover tuition and related expenses. It’s generally best to use federal student loans first, as private loans tend to offer less favorable terms and interest rates.

Before taking out any private loans, it’s imperative that you carefully read the terms and understand them. For example, you should know:

  • Your interest rate
  • Whether the interest rate is fixed or variable
  • Whether you’ll be required to make payments while still in school
  • If there are any prepayment penalties
  • If you need a cosigner

3. Nursing School Scholarships

CTX nursing students collaborating in room

Landing a scholarship is just as exciting as getting federal grants because they also do not need to be repaid. You may be eligible to apply for private nursing school scholarships intended specifically for future nurses. However, don’t limit your search to this narrow category.

Look beyond healthcare-related scholarships to find others you might qualify for, such as scholarships based on academic merit, financial need, minority status, or even a special talent. There are plenty of scholarship databases online, such as:

Apply to as many scholarships as you’re eligible for to increase your chances of receiving free money for college.

Can you get a nursing degree online? Read more to learn the role online coursework plays in your nursing education.

stethoscope on book and laptop

4. Nursing School Apprenticeships

Nursing school apprenticeships are an emerging trend intended to help address the nursing shortage in the U.S. These are currently available in a limited number of states, including Texas. As a nurse apprentice, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a hospital while attending nursing school.

Usually, it’s not advisable to work while attending nursing school, as school is a full-time commitment. However, if your financial situation requires you to work, an apprenticeship can be an attractive option.

You can reinforce your new nursing skills, gain clinical experience, develop a bedside manner and professionalism, and be mentored by experienced RNs. An apprenticeship may also provide a pathway for a job offer after graduation.

5. Tuition Reimbursement

Tuition reimbursement is another way to handle paying for nursing school. If you’re already employed as an entry-level healthcare professional, such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you may be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement from your employer.

Before accepting an offer of tuition reimbursement, read the terms carefully, as you may be required to work for that employer for a set period following graduation.

Concordia Texas nursing student working with sim manikin

6. Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses

Loan forgiveness programs won’t finance your education before or during your time in school, but they can eliminate some of your student loan debt after graduation. Student loan forgiveness programs are designed to incentivize public service professionals, particularly those who work in underserved communities.

One such program is the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program, which may forgive up to 85% of student loans plus interest if you’re an RN who works for at least two years in a critical shortage facility (CSF).

Another is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This program applies to nurses who have a federal direct loan or direct loan consolidation and work full-time in a government agency or nonprofit organization. If you qualify for the PSLF program, you can have the remainder of your student loans forgiven after making 120 payments.

person with laptop and notebooks sitting on floor

When you’ve decided the time is right to pursue your career, use this guide on how to apply to nursing school in 6 steps.

Ready to Invest in Your Dream Career?

Financing your nursing education is possible with help from the financial services team at Concordia University Texas. If you have prior non-nursing college education, our ABSN track allows you to graduate in as few as 16 months upon successful completion of prerequisite courses. With three start dates each year, you can begin sooner than you might think.

Contact an admissions counselor today to find out if you’re eligible to apply for the ABSN track and determine your next steps.