How to Finance Your Nurse Practitioner Education
Updated: Oct 12, 2019
Nurse practitioner school can be expensive. However, in this article I share some great ways for you to be able to finance your education.
With the demand for nurse practitioners (NP) increasing, more and more individuals have decided to return to school to pursue a career as an NP. Unfortunately, graduate school can be incredibly expensive, and regardless of where you are on your path to becoming a nurse practitioner, financing your education will be a large part of the process. However, don’t get too discouraged because there is an abundance of financing available to NP students, you just need to know where to look. Below are some of the ways in which you may be able to finance your nurse practitioner education.
Evaluate Your Financial Aid Package
A financial aid package includes all of the different types of financial aid you are eligible to receive. This may include federal loans as well as scholarships awarded by your institution or alumni organization. You typically receive a financial aid package upon acceptance into a program. If you’ve been accepted into more than one school, you will have the opportunity to compare the different financial aid packages you may be awarded. If debt reduction is your main goal, carefully evaluate how much each school is giving you and select the program that offers the most in scholarship financing. Once you receive your award, if you have any questions about the financial aid package you are offered, you can contact the office of financial aid at your academic institution.
Work as a Nurse during your NP Program
If you are able to work as a nurse while attending your NP program, it is highly advisable to do so. Not only will you be able to help pay for your tuition and living expenses, but it’s also a great way to gain hands-on experience. There are even certain hospitals that will pay for your NP education if you are already working for them as a registered nurse. Though once you graduate, you will most likely be required to work for them as a nurse practitioner for a few years.
Apply for Scholarships
The good thing about becoming an NP is that there is a lot of scholarship money out there; you just have to find it. There are several government scholarships you can apply for through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). These scholarships typically pay for your tuition and associated fees in exchange for working for a certain amount of time in a medically underserved area once you graduate. Make sure that if you commit to one of these scholarships you will be able to fulfill the obligation. If not, you may have to pay everything back plus interest. For more information, you can visit their website at www.hrsa.gov. Aside from HRSA scholarships there are a number of other scholarships available to nursing and NP students. A Google search will show you just how much financing is out there for NPs. You may also have the option to apply for scholarships awarded by the state where you live. The good thing about scholarships is that you can apply to them throughout your program, and there are scholarships available for just about anyone.
Become a Teaching Assistant (TA)
If you are able to receive a teaching assistant position, this is a great way to reduce the amount of financing you will need. As a TA, you will usually receive tuition credit for each class you TA. If you TA multiple classes, this can really add up. A teaching assistant is typically a student who has taken the course and assists the professor with tasks such as grading material, managing online content, and leading study groups. The added benefit of being a teaching assistant is that if you’ve forgotten the content in the course, you’re able to relearn it while you TA that class.
Although the majority of students finance their education with student loans, it is advised to search for other funding options first as student loans will need to be repaid with interest. For more information on federal student loans visit www.fafsa.gov.
Apply for Loan Repayment
If you do take out student loans, there are a variety of loan repayment programs available which allow you to pay down your loans much quicker. Typically, you apply for loan repayment once you’ve already graduated and are working in a qualified loan repayment site. Loan repayment is usually funded through HRSA, the government organization mentioned above. However, aside from federal loan repayment, there are many states that also offer loan repayment programs as well. The debt burden a new graduate NP may face can be massive. Becoming an NP these days does not just involve receiving your master’s degree, but your program may require you to receive doctorate degree as well. However, if you do a little bit of research to utilize the above mentioned resources, you will be well on your way to obtaining your degree with less debt than the average graduate. You can find more information about how to finance your education as well as many great recourses on how to actually become an NP in the Ultimate Nurse Practitioner Guidebook.