How to Pay for Nursing School

How to Pay for Nursing School

Paying for a nursing education can determine whether or not you can go to the school you want to attend. Education for a 4 year in state nursing program can average $78,192. An out of state education can average $136,124 over four years. Before deciding that you cannot afford the education, you should know that there are some options for getting financial assistance for your education.

Employer Assistance

First, don’t overlook the obvious. If you are already employed in healthcare as a nurse, technician or aide, ask your employer if they offer any sort of financial assistance to continue your education. Often, the employer will expect that you will “pay back” the assistance by promising to stay at the agency for a specified number of years after your education is complete.
If you are interested in the military as a career, you may be able to get financial assistance for continuing your education at the expense of the government. Of course, you will be required to “pay back” this education by serving in the military after you complete your degree. If you choose military nursing as a career, you will be an officer with all of the perks associated with the grade.

Grants and Scholarships

Be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will be used to help funders determine your eligibility for grants, scholarships and loans that are based on financial need. Many states and colleges use the data on your FAFSA to determine if you qualify for their financial assistance.

Next, look for grants and scholarships. These sources of funding do NOT have to be repaid – except possibly by being obligated to serve a certain amount of time. For example, the Nurse Corps Scholarship program from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers nursing students funding for tuition, fees and other costs. For the 2016-2017 academic year, the student also receives a stipend of $1,300 per month. In exchange, the student agrees to work at specific underserved locations for at least two years.

Your state or selected school are likely to have grants and scholarships for nursing students. Be sure to look for grants and scholarships that are only given to students in your chosen college or your city or state.

There are also many scholarships that are available regardless of your selected school or state of residence. A great source of scholarships include any professional organization to which you belong.
Other sources of scholarships include:

Scholarship Sponsor Deadline Considerations
FNSNA Scholarship Foundation of National Student Nurses’ Association January Must be enrolled in school of nursing; preference given for involvement in student nursing organizations
ENA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship Emergency Nurses Association Foundation June Must be RN or LPN/LVN pursuing BSN; must be ENA member
American Indian Nurse Scholarship National Society of the Colonial Dames of America March Must be attending nursing school; must be American Indian or Native Alaskan
BS Nursing Scholarship Association of Rehabilitation Nurses June Must be studying for BSN; must be a member of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarship National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarship and Awards June Preference for South, Latin or Central American or Hispanic; Must be member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses
Kaiser Permanente College to Caring Program Hispanic College Fund February Preference for South, Latin or Central American or Hispanic; must be studying for BSN
AfterCollege/ AACN Student Scholarship AfterCollege, INC March, June, September, December Must be seeking a degree in nursing at an AACN institution; preference given to students who intend to become a nurse educator
Minority Nurse Scholarship Program Springer Publishing Company February Must be in 3rd or 4th year of BSN program; must be an ethnic minority
Nursing Program Scholarship April, October $1,000 award for undergraduate nursing
A Nurse I Am Scholarship Cherokee Uniforms March Must be enrolled or accepted in a nursing program
Back to School Nursing Scholarship July Must be enrolled in nursing program
American Assembly for Men in Nursing Scholarship American Assembly for Men in Nursing June Must be current AAMN member; must be male student who has completed one term
Daughters of the American Revolution Scholarships Daughters of the American Revolution Varies A variety of scholarships with various requirements; see


Finally, once you have exhausted the other funding sources, you can think about getting a loan to complete your education. The thing to remember about most loans is that you have to pay them back. If you must apply for a loan, be sure to look at federal student loans. These are often better than loans obtained at banks since these loans typically offer a lower fixed interest rate. Again, to apply for these federal loans, be sure to first complete the FAFSA form. The process for this form can be found at the Federal Student Aid site of the U.S. Department of Education at . Another advantage to a federal direct loan in nursing is that you may be able to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program requires that you make 120 payments on your federal student loan and that you not be in default on the loan. It also requires that you be employed in a public service organization.

There are several federal loans for which you may qualify:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans – Available to undergraduate students with financial need; federal government will pay interest while you are in school
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans – Available to undergraduate or graduate students; no need to demonstrate financial need; you are responsible for paying all interest on the loan
  • Direct PLUS Loans – Available to graduate students or parents of a dependent undergraduate student
  • Direct Consolidation Loans – Allows the student with multiple federal loans to consolidate the loans into one loan resulting in one monthly payment instead of several payments. If the consolidation results in a longer repayment period, be aware that you will pay more in interest.


Many potential nursing students worry about how they will pay for their education. If you are one of those people, be sure to check out all of the employer perks, grants, scholarships, and federal student loans that may be available to you.