It’s no surprise that nursing school comes with a hefty price tag. Luckily, nursing students are able to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). This application not only determines federal loan eligibility but also determines whether nursing students will be eligible for “gift aid” like grants and scholarships.
Sometimes, even after filing FAFSA®, nursing students still need additional funds to close their aid gap. This aid gap is different for all nursing students based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength based on income and other financial factors and is calculated with a formula established by law.
Fortunately, for nursing students that do need to close their aid gap, there are additional financial aid options and opportunities available.
Start with FAFSA®
The first step to receiving financial aid is filing FAFSA®. FAFSA® will determine if a nursing student qualifies for need-based aid as well as federal loans.
For the 2021-2022 school year, nursing students pursuing an undergraduate degree can receive as much as $6,495 in Pell Grants. In addition to the Pell Grant, FAFSA® also determines eligibility for other state and institution grants.
If grants aren’t enough to cover tuition, fees, and supplies, FAFSA® also applies nursing students for federal loans. Although accepting loans to pay for college may not seem ideal, federal loans come with some great perks. Not only do these loans have fixed, low-interest rates; they also have the added benefit of flexible repayment plans.
Scholarships are a great way to fill your aid gap without going into (more) debt! Since nurses play such an important role in our society, many private and public organizations love to create scholarships specifically for students pursuing nursing careers.
Take a look at some of our favorite nursing scholarships below:
- American Red Cross Jane Delano Student Nurse Scholarship
- DAR Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship
- Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association (FNSNA) General Scholarship
- Hurst Review Services Nursing AACN Scholarship
- HRSA NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
- Cascade Healthcare Nurses Make A Difference Scholarship
Fellowship & Residency Programs
Did you know Nurse Practitioners (NPs) can manage up to 90% of care that a primary physician generally covers? As a result, this has led to a large increase in demand for NPs. There are many fellowships and residency programs that are available for nursing students to consider. Many of these programs are state-specific, and you can find more information on the state you work in by searching here.
These programs provide on-the-job style training and are a great resource when it comes to advancing your career and gaining valuable real-world experience. There are tons of resources and options out there for these programs, so make sure you do some research and find the program that aligns with your career aspirations.
Student Loan Forgiveness
Nursing students can qualify for student loan forgiveness through several different Federal programs as well as state-specific programs. The Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nursing Students are:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP)
- National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program
- Perkins Loan Cancellation for Nurses
State-specific programs generally require commitments to working in areas in desperate need of qualified full and part-time nurses and nurse practitioners. Research your state-specific options, and if you are looking to move after school, this might be an excellent method to weigh your options as to where you would like to move to advance your nursing career further.