I have had this happen to me when I accidentally requested more loan than was necessary. Whatever money was left over after the school has been paid was put into a check addressed to me and could be used for books, school supplies etc. I cashed the check and put it into savings and then a little while later I used it as a down payment for a car, which I don't feel guilty about because I used the car to get around for internships and work and I still have that car and its 10 years old. Make no doubt though, I am paying it back as part of my Student Loan.
Is it possible that you requested a loan for more than is needed by the school for tuition and fees?
Or, is it possible that you did indeed get some sort of State or Federal grant or even a Scholarship
My understanding of State and Federal Grants and Loans is that a certain amount of money is set aside for all students and then based on need and how many apply the money is divided among those students. So, if some students put in for aid and drop out and don't use it, the amount delegated to each student can go up because there are less students requiring money.
Could this have possibly happened to you?
About the Nursing Loans and grants, I live in PA and have been investigating these options for nursing school within my state and have found that there are programs for nurses, not necessarily nursing students. All of the programs I have found so far are "Loan Forgiveness" and "Grants" to those that allready have passed their RN licensing exam and are working in PA full-time. So, it will be helpful after you graduate if you are a person who will be taking out a lot of loans, but right now while you are a student it won't help because you have to get through your nursing program and then get your license and start practicing.
There are also some other stipulations like the school you went to has to be on a pre-approved nursing school list and you have to be working full time for a whole year, etc. etc.
I would be interested though, if anyone has heard of a loan given to students to keep them in PA? It works this way, you are in school, you get a loan (I think $3,000.00), if you stay in Pennsylvania for 3 years and work after you graduate you don't have to pay it back.
If anyone has heard of this let me know.