For many people, the motivation to get started with a nursing program is clearly there, but they fear that the money will not be there.
These folks want to get their start in an exciting, rewarding career and they understand the difficulties associated with going through a nursing program. Still, they wonder just how they are going to pay for it if they get into a program.
The answer is that you should not worry about the funding part of things.
In Mississippi, there are lots of nursing scholarships and grants that qualified students can use in order to pay for their education right up front. In addition, there are some other funding options at your disposal as well.
Focusing on Nursing Scholarships
The ideal scenario for any person pursuing an advanced education is to have that education taken care of by nursing scholarships. More so than almost any other state, Mississippi has these options available to people.
The reason for this is quite easy to understand. The state is in desperate need of more qualified professionals in the nursing field and you cannot get those people into the industry unless you first train them in programs. This means that both sources for scholarships are abounding if you will use them.
Many nursing schools are looking to attract top-notch students, so they are the first source of scholarship funding that you need to consider. Some of these schools will have programs where you are considered automatically when you submit your application to the nursing program. Other schools will have programs that are designed differently.
They might have specific scholarships that they hand out and you will have to apply separately for those scholarships.
Whatever the case, it is important to get your application in as early as possible for these programs, since scholarships given out by schools are recruiting tools and once all of the money is handed out, there will be none left for you.
Considering Scholarships From the Surrounding Hospitals
One option for people who know exactly where they want to work when they get out of nursing school is to sign a contract with a local hospital. You will need to find a hospital that is in desperate need of more qualified nurses, because they will be the ones most likely to implement this type of plan.
Many times, hospitals will agree to pay for a portion or all of a student’s nursing program if that student will in turn agree to work for them for a certain number of years. In most cases, you will have to sign a contract to work for two to five years, depending upon the hospital and the scholarship amount.
The nice thing about this type of program is that it can provide multifaceted benefits. Not only are you allowed to go to school for free, but you will also have a job lined up immediately when you get done with the nursing program.
The downside to this is that you are locked in to one hospital and one area, which means that they can basically place you on whatever type of floor they want. For folks who want a bit more flexibility, this might not be the best option in the world.
Still, it is hard to beat the idea of a free education that comes with a guaranteed job offer at the end of a couple of years. In Mississippi, this is especially pronounced given the state of the current economy and the climbing levels of unemployment.
Considering the Grant Options in Mississippi
If scholarships are not within your reach for whatever reason, then you can pursue grants that are provided either by the government or by privately funded groups. These days, the federal government is handing out more and more money for educational purposes.
By submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can claim the need-based money that should be coming your way. Many students can qualify for the Pell Grant, which gives them thousands of dollars per year to put towards school without any strings attached.
In addition, there are private groups that take great pride in helping people make it through a nursing program. Some medical organizations will have nursing grants that they give out to special students. The thing to know about these options is that you have to apply for them specially.
Take great care to know the deadlines associated with the various grants and get an application in before the deadline passes.
Though you would think that competition for these free education grants would be fierce, it is actually more docile. Since few people actually explore the possibilities and learn about the available private grants, few people put in applications for them.
What About Loan Options?
For some people, there are still some financial needs that go beyond what they can get in scholarships and grants. When that is the case, loans are a good option. The government hands out student loans in the Stafford Loan program that are mostly subsidized.
This means that students do not build up interest while they are in school and they have lower payments when they get out. Typically, these loans are given out without a credit check, so even people who do not have solid credit can get a bit of government funding for their nursing programs.
Likewise, student loan forgiveness programs exist after college for those people who are willing to go into some type of public interest work. This means that if you take your nursing degree and decide to go work in an impoverished area, the government might forgive the amount that you owe.
All in all, there is no reason why a lack of funding should stop you from pursuing a nursing degree in Mississippi.
The state needs more qualified nurses and this is reflected in the fact that you can actually get financing if you really want it. Either through grants, scholarships, or loans, you should be able to cover the total cost of attendance, plus living expenses, too.