How to pay for Nursing school: Student Nursing Scholarship + Financial Aid Links

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Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.
I'd like to make two things clear. One when I mentioned ADN, I specifically meant I did not want to pursue an associate's degree...My ultimate goal is to be a nurse practitioner and this program is one way of getting towards that goal. I do understand that a clinical nurse leader is not a nurse practitioner and that they are two different roles. Second, this is a program for students who have a degree in another field but who will be trained as clinical nurse leaders. When you graduate you work as an RN just starting out and after some experience you would work as a CNL. I was primarily looking for experiences of second degree BSN or MSN students who went back to school.

I'll say it again.

Be prepared to face people with extensive experience. Most of us start off as ADN, work and get experience, and move forward with our BSNs and MSNs WHILE STILL WORKING to get experience.

Your degree in your other field (I know myself, I have a Business degree) doesn't meant squat when facing true nursing situations.

All I'm saying is, be prepared, and gain tough skin....I know many who go your path and stay as nurses at the bedside for 5 years. They realize, even after getting their MSNs, they didn't know ANYTHING when graduating.

A CNL becomes an "EXPERT" after 5 years of clinicals. Less than that, and you will have credibility issues.


12 Posts

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I guess I don't understand. What is a CNL exactly? Is it the same as a Clin Spec? So to become a CNL you graduate from a Masters program, then work at the bedside, then become a CNL?

Please clarify this for me, I did not know CNL existed.

Sorry to sound like DUH!


52 Posts

Here is a brief explanation of a CNL.


985 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, educator.

I have to say, like others, be prepared to maybe not have a job right out of school. My friend was going to take the same approach as you, and of the 22 hospitals she contacted, all told her that 0 nursing experience = 0 job, and they also stated her other degree didn't count, because that is not what she would be hired for. She went and got her degree at BSN and like me is working on her MSN. You may not find a job, despite degree, in this economy--many hospitals also not hiring CNLs d/t downsizing. Do research first, before you jump into this. I have a bachelors in computer science from a very well known university, and in relation to nursing, it doesn't mean squat. I started as an ASN. I get from your wording that you think that an ASN or BSN is beneath you, but without experience, you may not get what you want. Check all of your options first. After all of that, you may just have to take student loans, or find a job working in a hospital to gain experience and see if they will pay for it.


52 Posts

I never said that a associate's or a bachelor's degree was beneath me. I actually applied to both associate's and bachelor's programs. I also know of people who have their CNL and do have jobs, not as a CNL, but as staff nurses. I do not see a problem working as a staff nurse and I have every intention of doing so after getting my degree. I may be choosing a different route of getting my nursing degree. I was not looking for a debate on whether or not I should start the program...or debating what type of degree I should get...Again I am specifically looking for people who already have a bachelor's degree in another field, but who have either decided to get an accelerated BSN or accelerated MSN and how they paid for it. Are there any second degree BSN or MSN students out there that have been in a similar situation? What have you decided to do?


267 Posts

I REALLY recommend to everyone that wants to be an RN to take the JC route. It's insanely cheap. Universities are a waste of money if all you want to do is be an RN.


225 Posts

Geez, wasn't the OP just asking for suggestions on how to pay for nursing school? Why did this turn into a debate regarding what type of route to take to become an RN? I am in the same situation as the OP, and am in the process of applying to nursing programs...both ADN programs, accelerated bachelor's programs, and entry MSN programs. California offers many options. If I was to go to an ADN program for two years and then attend a master's CNL program, it would take me four years total. If I went to a Master's entry CNL program, it would take me two years. I fully understand that I will work as a staff nurse upon graduating, and realize that it may be for years. One of my friend's did the Master's entry program at SF State, and she is still a staff nurse in PICU after 4 years. She's fine with it. She doesn't have to go back and get her master's now. She's done. It's whatever works for you depending on your life situation. By the way, my friend hasn't been eaten alive by her co-workers because she has a MSN. Another friend of mine took the ADN route, has worked for a couple of years, and is now going to apply to an MSN program. Both are happy. Both ways worked fine.

That being the OP, did you fill out the FAFSA yet? I was told that you can start applying for loans/scholarships as soon as you fill out the FAFSA? There is the Grad PLUS loan. You may want to look into that. I am sorry that I don't have any more information for you. I would also be interested in how others who already went through this situation were able to pay for school.


52 Posts

Thank you mfrancisco. I actually JUST found out I got into the school of my choice so I have not gotten my financial aid letter since I just found out that I got into school online. I did fill out my FAFSA since I knew I would be going to school in January. I do expect to get loans, but my main concern is that I will be an out of state student if going to this school. I would like to say that this is a public state university, but I will be an out of state student. If you want to read something interesting mfrancisco you should read this thread about taking $100,000.00 in loans for nursing school.

Now I will not be taking that much, but all I really wanted to know what people in this situation did. I'll be honest, I'm relatively young with not that much to lose so I'm almost positive I'm going to this school. I just wanted a nonjudgemental perspective on what it's like to be in this situation. Also how did your friend in the master's program pay for their education do you know?


246 Posts

Hey gnursetobe,

Sorry to steer a little away from your original question and post but I recommend looking into Georgetown University (well respected.)

They have a direct entry to advanced practice option including nurse practitioner routes. They also have nursing education and clinical nurse specialist options. I think you may have already decided on a school though.

While I understand some posts about "crap" you may catch from experienced staff if you are in an education/leadership role without bedside experience, I respect your decisions. I think that their hearts are in the right place, and they are just warning you about the reality of how nurses may act toward you, based on the fact that they may have seen it happen to nurses who took a similar route to yours. I have seen it, but I still wish you well.

To get back to your original question about payment, Georgetown has an agreement with Washington Hospital Center with 80% tuition scholarship for their BSN programs. Perhaps your school of choice has an agreement with a hospital. Good luck to you.

This site may also be helpful:


52 Posts

Thank you MissBrittanyRN. I did look into Georgetown, but was not accepted. I will however take a look at the website you provided. Thanks again.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

I agree with the Poster who stated that paying a tremendous amount of money, when the route ends up in the same place eventually (can't really practice with no experience right?) not very practical.

I am doing the route with the least amount of debt. I will get my ARNP paid by my job, with a 2 year contract (since I've been with them for 17 years, what's another two?) and I have two physicians I will be working with.

Not only will I NOT pay for anything, I will have jobs lined up.

Just sayin'....the faster route isn't always the smartest....

Specializes in Oncology/BMT.

JoPACU, I agree with you! It's funny though... my nursing program was 22 months and BSN was 13 months... so I indeed spent less time in school than a straight 4-year BSN student would! I also agree with the credibilit and respect. Look at interns... they have no bedside experience and are starting their 1st year as advanced practitioners... no wonder why we want to choke them!

And to gnursetobe who posted this... If you post, you will get our down and dirty advice and opinions... we are merely trying to help you... after all, we are nurses and you are not yet one... so please do not take offense to our advice, we are just trying to help you out...

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