Hi! Well, I would love to hear from others on this question, myself!
My funding options have (or had!) a lot to do with my decision to pursue becoming an LPN (IF I can score well enough on the Math sections of the TABE to get into my local program), then bridge to a BSN while working full-time, rather than going to an ABSN program.
That said, once I figured out that I can save mucho $ and live a much more balanced lifestyle with this track, I became very, very excited and enthusiastic about the fact that I will be able to start nursing in a year. (I can't wait!)
I am funding my LPN program tuition, fees and books with a scholarship
from my tribe (Chickasaw). I am just very blessed that the program near me costs just a bit less than the Vo-Tech maximum for our tribe.
I will work part-time while in the program (no choice), but because I do web development, I'll be able to work around my school/study schedule. As a widow and empty-nest mom, with a LOT of academic experience (one bachelors and two masters in Allied Health), I think I'll be able to pull it off, though I know it won't be easy.
Now, to share what I think may help you (which is really what's important here):
Talking with various advisors (primarily two) in my area, I have learned that some institutions will help you with your LPN or RN tuition, etc., if you sign a contract to work with them for a certain period of time after graduating. These contracts can actually be bought out by other institutions, if you want/need to move, and can find an institution willing to do it - and apparently, in Oklahoma, that happens.
Also, there are scholarships
that you can only find out about through the advisors at schools, it seems.
There are also scholarships for minority nurses, etc.
Most important: YES, you can spend the leftover money on life and living expenses. In fact, the money you have left after grants and loans is FOR you to use to be able to pay your bills while you're going through school.
Then, after school, you may be able to have some of your loans forgiven, if you work in a rural area. There is a special program for this, through HERSA.