If you’re interested in a nursing career, one of the most important considerations is the cost of a degree.
Nurses are in high demand, and it shows when you see how many funding options there are for this field.
To utilize your options and get started, you need to fill out a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
What is FAFSA?
FAFSA is a program run by the Department of Education that calculates your eligibility for federal student aid using your finances. Your school will use this information to package your financial aid or find you other loan options.
Their website offers plenty of help to prospective and current students, such as how to apply for student aid, grant information, repayment options, tax breaks, and more.
There are scholarship and loan forgiveness programs available specifically for nursing students. To find out what you’re eligible for and your expected family contribution, you need to fill out a FAFSA form.
What Do I Need To Get Started?
First, you should decide whether to mail in the FAFSA form or fill it out online. A PIN will be issued to you if you choose the online form. Your PIN is the only way to access your information so keep it in a safe place.
Next, you’ll need to confirm your dependency status.
Once you’re ready, gather all of your financial information from the past year, such as income tax returns and bank statements. If you are a dependent student, you will need your parents’ or guardians’ information as well. A driver’s license number or other form of identification is required. The FAFSA form will ask about your education and financial history.
Remember to check the federal deadlines for the form, as the deadlines may differ from your school or state.
What Happens Next?
After you submit the form, you will receive a Student Aid Report which includes all of your supplied information. This report will inform you and your school of your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution. Your school’s financial aid office uses this information to prepare your financial aid package.
Depending on your income level, you may be eligible for federal student loans, grants, scholarships, or a work/study program available by your state or school. If your EFC is 0, your education may be completely funded by loans, grants, or scholarships and you may not need to pay any out-of-pocket expenses.
Am I Eligible For a Scholarship?
Depending on the information included on your FAFSA, you may be eligible for the Nursing Scholarship Program provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration. If accepted, you must agree to perform services for two years at a critically understaffed location; the program will cover your tuition, fees, books, supplies, and stipends.
The nursing scholarship program requires you to be a U.S. citizen enrolled or accepted in an accredited professional nursing program. You may not be delinquent on any federal debts or subject to a federal judgment lien. The number of available scholarships is limited, so priority is given to full-time students who have an EFC of 0.
If you don’t get accepted, there are still other scholarships to consider. Check with your school or learning facility, many hospitals have arranged their own programs to cover the costs of education and training in exchange for services.
How Can I Improve My Chances of Receiving a Scholarship?
To improve your chances of receiving a scholarship, keep up with your finances and stay out of debt. If you have a federal loan or tax matter, make sure you pay everything on time or make arrangements for a new payment plan. Keep your GPA high and do your best in every class. If possible, work or volunteer at a hospital or clinic. Doing these things will show that you’re a great candidate for the scholarship.
What About Loan Forgiveness?
The Department of Education offers a Public Loan Forgiveness program to borrowers who work full-time in a public service position, such as nursing at a clinical health facility. The government agrees to forgive the balance for people who have made a certain number of payments on their loans.
Obtaining the funds for a nursing degree will be much simpler if you follow these steps. Anyone accepted to nursing school will have options available to help pay for it. It all starts with your FAFSA, so make sure not to miss that deadline!