For years, nursing has been one of the most in-demand career fields, and that trend doesn’t appear to be changing in the near future. However, one decision every aspiring nurse must make is how much they are willing to pay in nursing school costs to receive the necessary training. Due to the high education costs, it can be worth your time to find hospitals that help pay for nursing school.
How Hospitals Will Pay for Nursing School
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare career field has the highest projected occupational growth for the next decade. With this in mind, hospitals are in need of attracting and retaining quality nurses. This means they are willing to help pay for nursing school through several different methods.
The most common payment method is tuition reimbursement. This doesn’t mean that each nursing student can attend school for free. To qualify for tuition reimbursement, you will most likely need to be a current employee of a hospital for at least six months.
Hospitals might help pay for an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) to help attract entry-level nurses. They might even help pay for advanced certification such as becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Nurse Practitioner.
Each hospital will have different reimbursement policies as some will only pay up to $5,000, but, they might pay up to 75% to 100% depending on the hospital and caliber of the candidate.
Depending on how much the hospital is willing to pay in tuition reimbursement, they will usually require a work commitment of several years after completing nursing school to receive a return on their investment. Higher reimbursement amounts usually require a longer commitment.
Before accepting tuition reimbursement, it is important that the student is willing to work for the required period of time to avoid having to repay the hospital if they switch employers.
Hospitals might also allow nursing school students to work in a clerical or cleaning position to help pay for their education. Work-study positions help expose students to the many sides of healthcare beyond what they will learn in classroom and clinical training. Plus, the additional work experience can help them become a more qualified candidate when applying for a nursing position at the completion of their training. Another benefit might be that there aren’t any employment requirements after graduating school, unlike tuition reimbursement.
Scholarships are another option to help pay for nursing school. Similar to tuition reimbursement, hospitals and other medical providers might provide nursing scholarships to students based on factors like financial need, gender, race, or academic merit. Some donors, such as the U.S. Army, require an employment commitment to qualify for the scholarship. Other scholarships only require students to be enrolled at schools affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to receive the scholarship funds.
Hospitals will also issue grants to students with large financial needs. Grants are very similar to scholarships, but they normally don’t require a work commitment after graduating from nursing school. This form of financial aid might also be the least common provided by private sources.
Private Nursing School Loans
While federal student loans are also available to pay for nursing school, students might need private loans to fill the funding gap. It’s common for hospitals and nursing schools to provide in-house loans. Of course, private lenders that also lend to normal undergraduate and graduate student borrowers will lend to nursing students as well.
Federal Aid for Nursing School
As nursing is a high-demand career field, federal aid is also available to help students afford nursing school. To be considered for federal aid, students must first apply for the FAFSA.
Students with the highest financial needs can qualify for the Federal Nursing Student Loan that accrues 0% while in-school and has an interest rate of 5% once the loan enters repayment status. For those that do not receive this loan, traditional Stafford loans are also accepted at most nursing schools. Some states might provide financial aid via nursing loans, scholarships, and grants as well.
Another option to consider is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that forgives all remaining federal loans after making 10 years of payments. This forgiveness program is only available to those employed at an eligible non-profit or a local, state, or federal government agency.
Enroll in the NURSE Corps
One final way to receive federal aid is to enroll in the NURSE Corps. Similar to AmeriCorps, nursing students enrolled in this program will receive tuition assistance and a monthly stipend of $1,330 by working in a Critical Shortage Facility, at an underserved area within the United States, upon graduation.
Applications for the NURSE Corps are accepted in the spring of each year. Preference is given to nursing students with demonstrated financial need. Each scholarship recipient is required to work at least two years in a Critical Shortage Facility to not have to repay any aid received from the NURSE Corps program.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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