The cost of college tuition is on the rise at nursing schools around the country, and the additional costs that student nurses must pay for equipment, uniforms and other required items can make expenses add up quickly. Although a nursing education can be costly, you can reduce the burden on your wallet by taking advantage of student financial aid.
Financial assistance comes in many different forms such as grants, scholarships and loans. Start with NurseZone to do your research on different nursing schools and the student nurse aid that may be available. You could be eligible for financial aid without even knowing it. Explore your student financial aid options, below.
There are several different types of student grants. Check out these sources:
Federal Pell Grant: The Federal Pell Grant is money that does not have to be repaid. Students qualify based on their financial need as determined by the FAFSA and can receive up to $3,300 each year. Eligibility for this grant is determined by the government and will automatically be offered to you through your school's financial aid office if you qualify. Filling out the FAFSA form is the most important step to receiving any financial aid. It must be filed between January and July for the school year starting in the fall of that same year. However, your school's deadline for filing the FAFSA may be different than the final deadline set by the government, so check with your school's financial aid office. To file for this grant or find more information, visit FAFSA.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant: This grant is available to undergraduates who have a substantial financial need. Students can receive up to $3,000 yearly.
State Grants: Your state of residence or the state where you are attending college, will likely offer some kind of student grants. Check with the State Board of Education or your school's financial aid office for more information. Or visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD) Web site on State Higher Education Agencies to get a listing of agencies with information at the state and local level.
Helpful Hints: Don't forget that your greatest resource is your school's financial aid counselor. He or she will help you discover the best financial aid plan for you. You can also visit Amazon.com and other online retailers for books on securing grants, loans and scholarships.
There are literally thousands of scholarships available, ranging from local community-based scholarships to national and federal scholarships. This is free money that does not have to be paid back, so explore your options with an online search. Don't miss out on these opportunities!
Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students: This scholarship is available to full-time students with considerable financial need from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are studying nursing or other health-related professions. You can apply for this scholarship through your school's financial aid office.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarships: Individuals in programs for nurse midwifery or family nurse practitioners are eligible. NHSC scholarships are awarded to students who upon completion of their program, work in a federally designated underserved area. For every year that aid is received a year of service is required, with a two-year minimum requirement. Visit the National Health Service Corps for more information.
National Student Nurses' Association: NSNA Scholarships are available to qualified nursing and pre-nursing students. Specific requirements and applications are available online on the NSNA Web site.
Private Enterprise: Check with your parents' and/or spouse's employer or businesses in your area to see if they have scholarship opportunities. Another great way to find hundreds of scholarship possibilities is to search the FastWeb site. Simply fill in the blanks and the site does all the work! There are scholarship possibilities at your fingertips!
School- and community-based scholarships: Be sure to explore the possibilities of local scholarships within your school or community. At the high school and higher education level, many school-based scholarships are available. You should also research local community organizations such as Kiwanis, Optimist, or Lions). Do you belong to a church or charity-based organization? See what scholarships they offer students. Don't overlook the obvious and explore all avenues. Visit your bookstore, Amazon.com, or other online retailers for books on college scholarships.
If you've exhausted options for free aid, don't fret. There are still loan opportunities available from the government, schools, and financial institutions. Check out these options:
Stafford Loan: The Stafford Loan can be obtained through a Direct Loan Program with the federal government or the Federal Family Education Loan, through private lenders. Both programs offer subsidized loans which are based on financial need and accrue no interest until repayment begins after graduation, and unsubsidized loans which are not based on financial need but do accumulate interest while you are in school.
Perkins Loan: The Perkins Loan is a low interest loan for students who have considerable financial need. These loans are made possible with federal funds given to your school. Be sure to find out what your school's deadline is in order to be considered for a Perkins Loan. You will pay this loan back to your school after you graduate.
Nursing Student Loans: This is a low interest government loan available to nursing students. Apply for Nursing Student Loans through your school's financial aid office.
State Loans: Your state of residence or the state where you are attending college may have loans available. Check out your state's Department of Education for more information. Search for your state of residence's Department of Education online.
Signature Loans (private lenders): Signature Loans do not involve the federal government and usually carry higher interest rates than federal loans. These loans can be used to supplement financial aid unmet by federal loans and grants. Signature loans have numerous possible lenders such as banks and other private sources. Your school's financial aid office should have a listing of the available options. Banks that offer signature loans include Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
Loan Repayment/Tuition Reimbursement: Payments on most college loans begin six months after graduation. Nursing students have a unique opportunity to participate in programs that will repay student loans or even pay tuition. Federal and state programs offer such benefits, and some private organizations and hospitals do too. Explore your options to see if one fits your needs and future plans.
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