Deciding to go to nursing school is not only difficult academically, it is also very expensive. While you need the drive and determination in order to be successful in school, you also need the funding. There are many different routes to becoming a nurse and it is important you choose whichever one is best for you, your needs, and your goals. Typically, programs that take less time to complete, such as an accelerated program, will come at a higher price point. The benefit to this is that you will complete a 4-year degree in only three years, and get into the workforce more quickly. If you choose to get an associate’s degree in nursing, it may mean having to go back to school to complete a BSN within a certain timeframe. I am going to share some examples that can assist with tuition while in nursing school.
I started my nursing school journey at my local community college before applying to an accelerated BSN program. This allowed me to complete a lot of my general education and pre-requisite coursework for a fraction of the cost before I began nursing curriculum. For example, an accelerated BSN program costs roughly $600 per credit hour, while community college costs about $135 per credit hour. Using this knowledge to your advantage can save thousands on tuition when taking available classes at a community college and transferring to another university for your nursing degree.
Apply for financial aid and scholarships. You never know what type of assistance you may receive, so make sure to fill out the FAFSA form every year in order to apply for assistance and loans. This can lessen the stress of having to worry about how you will pay for school until you graduate and begin to work in your field of choice. It is important to look at things such as interest rate and re-payment plans when considering taking out loans, so make sure to research these things before committing. There are many scholarships available for countless different things and it is important to send out as many applications as possible in order to increase your chances of being awarded one! Make sure to get strong letters of recommendation and apply to as many scholarships as possible.
Working while in school may be possible for some, but not for everyone. If this is an option for you, considering working in a hospital or long-term care facility to help gain experience. Not only does this help in your nursing practice, some workplaces offer tuition reimbursement as well as forming meaningful connections which could help with job placement later on. Especially with the global pandemic and many nursing schools experiencing limited or no clinical placements, it is important to gain as much experience as possible. Even if you do not receive reimbursement, working while in school will help ease the financial burden quite a bit.
In all, there are many different options to pay for nursing school, and sometimes that means getting creative. The most important thing is to look at your own situation and determine which of these options fit best for your needs. There are many paths to becoming a nurse and there is no right or wrong way to get there. Deciding to go to nursing school is one of the scariest decisions, and once you set your mind to conquering that feat, nothing can stop you.