I've noticed a lot of posts on the topic of paying for nursing school.
I've also noticed a lot of responses here telling everyone to go to community college and get an ADN then do an RN bridge program. Well, I disagree and here is why: It is easier to get a job as a BSN RN, especially in highly competitive markets. In addition, it is not necessarily cheaper to go the ADN route and it is not always cheaper to go to a public college. Do not overlook private (nonprofit) schools, as they often have their own scholarships. I am a California resident and was accepted by UCLA and Johns Hopkins. With the scholarships I received, Hopkins was cheaper than UCLA! For my MSN, I won a HRSA scholarship, which paid my full tuition plus $1300 a month living allowance, in return for 2 years of public service. My public service job is also my dream job, so that worked out great.
So, down to practical advice
You can pay for nursing school through personal savings, family help, scholarships, and work-study. Some students work full time and go to school part time or they go the school part time and work full time.
Loans - don't be afraid! There are many loan repayment and loan forgiveness programs for RNs.
MAKE SURE TO FILL OUT THE FAFSA!
Your school may have its own scholarships. However, there are a lot of other scholarships out there and it is up to you to find them and apply for them . It is possible. Christopher Gray won $1.3 million in scholarships and after graduating, he started his own scholarship search company (his Scholly - Scholarship Search Tool and College Scholarship Finder App is not recommended, however).
Talk to your financial aid office about scholarships you can apply for
Talk to professors about scholarships and grants once you are in school. For example, while at Hopkins, I learned that one professor had $25,000 scholarships available, but financial aid did not know about them.
Nurse Corps Scholarships are full ride, with a living allowance, in return for public service.
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program | Bureau of Health Workforce
AmeriCorps and Your Education | Corporation for National and Community Service
Returned Volunteer Support
Most states have scholarship and loan forgiveness programs for state residents. Just Google "(name of your state)" nursing scholarship
Some localities have scholarships. For example, I googled "San Diego nursing scholarship" and got this: Local Scholarships - The San Diego Foundation
There are scholarships out there for your gender, ethnicity, etc. African American, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, Hawaiian, etc. There are scholarships for women, for men entering nursing, for women over 30 changing careers or going to college, etc.
There are also a lot of nursing scholarships. There are great websites that let you search by location
Johnson & Johnson Nursing
217 College Scholarships for Nursing Majors
There are a lot of general scholarship search sites
Your parents may make you eligible for a scholarship, so ask them to check with their employer. Some employers have scholarships for the children of employees - this is quite common for larger companies, hospitals, LTCs, schools, colleges, government (federal, state, local) etc. There are also scholarships for military family members - children and spouses.
U.S. Department of Education
Best sites to search for scholarships | Campus Life News | USA TODAY
Scholarship Finder l CareerOneStop
Working while in nursing school
Get a healthcare job like CNA, various types of techs, medical assistant, etc. This is great prep for nursing school and are good jobs for nursing students. (I recommend CNA training for anyone considering a nursing career - it is a good test to see if you can handle the "blood and guts" part of nursing.
Work study programs - most schools have these and these are usually easy jobs that will provide you with a few hundred dollars a month
Casual jobs like babysitting, dog sitting, house sitting, personal care, tutoring, teaching ESL, etc. One of my fellow students met her fiance this way! Sometimes people will provide free housing to a nursing student in return for personal care or childcare and light housekeeping. These opportunities are usually posted in a nursing school. Some schools have someone who keeps a central registry of job opportunities for students - find out if your school has this.
In addition, some facilities will then pay all or part of your nursing school tuition. See the website below for "Find A Grow Your Own" and "Find A Career Ladder Program"
Yes, it is OK to have Student Loans!
If your financial aid package consists of loans, living expenses are included. Of course, it's not a large amount, but plenty of students get by.
There are many loan repayment programs and loan forgiveness programs for RNs. Talk to your financial aid office about loan forgiveness. Here are some loan repayment programs:
Some employers will also repay some of your student loans:
Johnson & Johnson
Veterans Administration (VA)
Prisons - federal, state, local
Use Google! Internet searching is your friend here. Be creative with search terms.
Finally, any higher education does require some financial sacrifice. If it were easy to get a college degree, everyone would have one.
Economize - figure out a bare bones budget
If you are not yet in school, you have a chance to save some money before school. Work overtime or get a second job to save up some money.
If you are married, sit down with your spouse to figure out a budget. Your spouse might be willing to step up. My father always had 2 jobs - a full time and a part time job. So did I, when I was younger and had more energy. If you have a stay at home spouse, figure out ways they can make some money, like babysitting, dog sitting, eBay, etc. My mother had only an elementary school education, but she made extra money by buying old stuff at garage sales, fixing the stuff up, and reselling. I make extra money by selling on eBay and Amazon and even by doing tarot card readings. I have friends who teach ESL online.
Consider some seasonal jobs that will allow you to save a lot of money. I had a lot of friends in college who worked on the slime line in Alaska. Hard work, but they made a lot of money in a short period. The fishing industry goes to great lengths to recruit people - there is more work than workers. They usually provide housing for workers.
Hope this helps! Good luck to all.