There are 4 types of federal student loans for nurses that can help students cover the cost of a nursing degree. There are Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, Federal PLUS loans, Health Resources, and Services Administration (HRSA) student loans, and private student loans.
All nursing students must first file FAFSA® to find out which federal student loans they will be eligible for.
Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Many nursing students qualify for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Direct Unsubsidized Loans (also know as Unsubsidized Stafford Loans) are federal student loans that offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a low, fixed interest rate and flexible repayment terms.
You do not need to demonstrate financial need to qualify. Nursing students are responsible for paying all of the interest that adds up until the loan balance is paid off.
Direct Subsidized loans are a little different in that a nursing student must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify. Another difference being, subsidized loans do not accrue interest while a nursing student is in school at least part-time.
For 1st-year nursing students, the government will approve up to a combined total of $5,500 between the two loan types. 2nd-year nursing students can be approved up to $6,500 and nursing students in their 3rd-year or above can be approved for up to $7,500.
Federal PLUS Loans
Federal PLUS Loans come in two forms: Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS. Both of these PLUS loans have around a 7% interest rate and also require a credit check to determine approval.
Parent PLUS Loans are available for parents of undergraduate dependent students pursuing a professional nursing degree or certificate. Some parents take out these loans to make sure their children don’t take on too much debt.
The amount approved for Parent PLUS loans is generally the cost of attendance minus other received financial aid awards.
One of the benefits of accepting a Parent PLUS Loan is that they come with a low, fixed interest rate. Additionally, although parents are expected to begin repayment immediately after the loan has been disbursed, it is possible to apply for deferment and delay making payments until the child is no longer in school.
Grad PLUS Loans are available for independent nursing students as well as nursing students wanting to pursue an advanced degree.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Student Loans
These loans are designed specifically for students in health professions, including nursing students. While these loans are not offered by the government directly, they do offer low, fixed interest rates of 5%.
These loans are generally issued on a first-come-first-served basis until funding runs out, ask your school if they participate in this program!
Now it’s time to research nursing schools, file your FAFSA®, and make a well-educated decision on how to pursue funding for your nursing education.