Nursing Student Loan Options
Nursing school applicants are typically eligible to receive aid in the form of federal student loans or private loans. Consider the following options for nursing student loans.
Federal Student Aid for Nursing School
Available through the U.S. Department of Education, federal student aid is available to students pursuing a degree beyond high school. They offer a secure, government-regulated and reasonably affordable way to invest in yourself and your goal of attaining a higher education.
Federal student loans are financial obligations you must pay back, so though they’re deferred while you’re enrolled in school, you must begin paying them back once you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment (defined as 6 credit hours per semester).
Available federal student aid available to nursing students include:
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, which are available to eligible undergraduates who demonstrate a financial need. The loan amount varies by student need, and interest begins to accrue after a student graduates or leaves school.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which are available for eligible undergraduates regardless of financial need. Interest begins to accrue after the first loan disbursement occurs.
- Federal Parent PLUS Loans, which are available to eligible parents of dependent undergraduate students. These are non-subsidized, credit-based loans taken out in the parent’s name.
- Federal Nursing Student Loans, which are available at participating nursing schools to undergraduate and graduate nursing students demonstrating financial need. No interest accrues while you are in school at least half-time, and repayment begins nine months after graduation or withdrawal from college. These low-interest, fixed-rate loans are limited and awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.
Private Loans for Nursing School
Federal student aid is one nursing school loan option, but it may cover only a portion of your nursing school tuition. To cover the difference, you may consider taking out a private loan from a bank or credit union. Many banks including Sallie Mae, Discover and the PNC Education Loan Center now offer specialized loans for students pursuing careers in the health care field.
Private loans aren’t part of any federal financial aid program and require a credit check as well as disclosure of existing debt and income for approval. Students with an adverse or limited credit history will also likely be required to obtain a creditworthy co-signer when applying.
As each lender’s loan program varies on interest rates, fees, the amount you may borrow (minimum and maximum) and repayment terms, it’s highly recommended to visit various lender websites and contact their customer service departments with questions.
U.S. Department of Health Loans
The U.S. Department of Health offers many loans and loan repayment programs to students pursuing careers in health care through the Health Resources and Services Administration. The loans include the HRSA Nursing Student Loan (a long-term, low interest loan to students pursuing a career in nursing) and loan repayment programs to help nurses who work in a designated critical care facility pay back their student debt.
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