Guest Post: Financial Aid Resources For Nurses

Nurses know they will have job security once they leave school. There will always be a need for them, whether they are working for the Red Cross healing wounded after a tornado or in the country’s busiest emergency room. It seems as if they are always short-staffed, wearing multiple hats to get the day’s job done. This is why it’s crucial to get them the funding they need to complete their education.

Do you know what’s available to you when sign up for financial aid? These grants, scholarships and loans are going to help you help succeed as you strive to make the Dean’s list every semester, working toward graduation. First, the difference between grants.

FEDERAL PELL GRANT. This type of financial aid is one of the best types of aid to get. Students qualify based on their income, having the potential to earn up to $3,000 a year. Unlike a state grant, this money is not required to be paid back to your school once you graduate. In turn, this means less overall loan payments and you’re that much closer to being debt-free.

STATE GRANTS. Each state in the country offers students grants. These grants may be at a state or local level. Often students will be awarded around $3,000 each year. This money, however, collectively will be added to your grand total of loans and grants that are due once you graduate.

On another note, scholarships are a wonderful way to fund your way through nursing school. Consider applying for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, ideal for those studying to become midwives or family nurses. Once nurses complete a two-year program, they are assigned to work in a federally designated area. One year of service is required for a two-year degree.

Schools and local businesses may also have scholarships that are available through your school. These scholarships may depend on courses or GPA, so be sure to read the requirements. It’s possible they may also be restricted to a specific area of your major, such as field nursing or those nurses that plan to assist elderly. Many of these scholarships may be sponsored by hospitals or clinics which would be a foot in the door after you graduate school.

In addition, nursing students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds have scholarships available to them. These nursing students might come from impoverished or similar situations, while the school has stepped up and helped succeed in choosing a successful career. In order to get this scholarship, the student must be full-time while studying their health-related courses.

A final source of student aid are loans from your school. It’s mandatory that these be paid back after you have left the educational institution. Here’s some types of loans that you might consider when you’re a student:

STAFFORD LOAN. This is a loan obtained from the government, often funded through a Direct Loan program. It may also be loaned to the student through the Federal Family Education Loan program, but very rarely is it given through private lenders. As you make your way through college, these loans accrue interest. Once you graduate, you have to pay off the loan and the interest on the loan. These loans are based on financial need and can be deferred, or even consolidated, to help you afford the payments.

PERKINS LOAN. Similar to a Stafford loan, these are government loans with a mandatory payback. The money comes from government grants that your school has received, so the key is to get your financial aid request in early. These loans have deadlines, contrary to the Stafford loans, so pay attention to that as well. Take advantage of as much student aid as you can to graduate faster, if this is your end goal.

SIGNATURE LOANS. Signature loans are not federal loans, but there’s a catch here. They have spiked interest rates whereas federal loans have lower interest rates. If you have not received much financial aid, then you may receive these from private lenders, such as your bank. Wells Fargo and Bank of America are among the many banks that offer this option to students.

Affording nursing school is a wonderful achievement in itself. Higher education is not cheap, nor should it be. Keep in mind that six months after you graduate all the loans will become due. You’re going to want to have a secure full-time job with benefits, which most health-related fields gladly offer to new graduates. See how your payments fit your finances and you’ll be well on your way to being debt-free sooner than later.

Matthew Zehr is a Content Publisher at LendEDU, a marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance. LendEDU helps borrowers find the best terms and rates available with one application.