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How To Pay For Nursing School

If you're about to begin your career as a nursing student, deciding how to pay for nursing school is probably weighing heavily on your mind.

Luckily, the U.S. Government offers plenty of grants, scholarships, and loan programs to qualified nursing students in need of financial assistance.

Nursing students who take advantage of government assistance often report that they're able to focus on their studies more than those who take on the financial burden of paying for school.

5 Programs to Help You Pay for Nursing School

Take a look and see which government-funded grants, loans and nursing scholarships you might qualify for.

1. Nurse Corps

Nurse Corps is a scholarship program that's available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are willing to work in an eligible critical shortage facility (CSF) after they've graduated, for a minimum commitment of two years.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines a CSF as a facility that is located in, designated as, or serving as a primary medical care or mental health facility in a designated healthcare professional shortage area (HPSA).

  • This scholarship, sponsored by HRSA, provides financial support for:
    Tuition fees
  • Textbooks
  • Uniforms
  • Clinical supplies
  • Monthly stipend

To be eligible, students must be accepted to or enrolled in a professional nursing degree program at an accredited U.S. school that begins before September 30 of the applicable year.

Nurse Corps also offers a loan repayment program for registered nurses, advanced practice nurses and nurse faculty, paying up to 85 percent of your unpaid nursing education debt if you meet the eligibility requirements.

2. Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship (NHHS)

Full-time nursing students wondering how to pay for nursing school may qualify for this scholarship if they can prove their Hawaiian ancestry. The scholarship is administered by HRSA through Papa Ola Lokahi (POL), which oversees five Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems.

To qualify, students must enroll in nursing, nursing midwifery or nursing practitioner program at an eligible school.

Following their graduation, recipients of the NHHS program perform a year's service in an underserved area of Hawaii for every year of assistance they receive.

3. Nursing Student Loans

Students at participating nursing schools may be eligible for government loans to help pay for their schooling.

These loans help students cover the costs of tuition, textbooks and other supplies.
Upon graduation, nurses begin loan repayment by making monthly payments or through enrollment in the Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP).

4. Nursing Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

HRSA provides grants to schools that use scholarship funds to help disadvantaged students attend nursing school.

If you're from a disadvantaged background, and you've enrolled or been accepted to a participating nursing school, you may be eligible for a scholarship. Check with your school about the availability of funds and eligibility requirements.

5. Join the U.S. Military

Nurses who enlist in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines experience a wide range of benefits including competitive pay, job diversity and paid tuition for those who qualify.

For instance, the Army Nurse Corps provides care to soldiers both at home and overseas, including in war zones, and to military families and retirees all over the world. If you're willing to serve your country, becoming a nurse in the military provides plenty of opportunities to further your education and cover your tuition.

Each military branch has its own rules for civilians and active duty applicants, but if you took out loans to pay for your nursing education, your nursing corps could help pay them back as part of the Health Professions Loan Repayment Program.

Another way to repay nursing school loans

If you have already graduated from nursing school and are still carrying some educational debt, taking a job as a travel nurse may help you speed up your repayment plan. Travel nurses can earn excellent pay, and enjoy a number of benefits during their assignments, including paid travel and free housing.

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