Nursing Student Loans: Step by Step Complete Guide

Nursing education can be quite expensive depending on the student’s financial capacity, and nursing student loans are a reality for most. Nursing students can take advantage of financial assistance provided by the state or federal government including the schools themselves. The funds available are usually based on financial needs.

A credit check is usually performed when your application is considered. It is best to visit the financial aid offices of the schools you want to attend. Take a look at financial aid packages and compare them according to your educational needs.

Federal Nursing Student Loans

Federal Aid Programs and Nursing Student Loans The government offers funding programs for students depending on their eligibility. Since these funds are appropriated by Congress every year, it is not an assurance that the same amount of funds will be available in the coming years. Nursing students must inquire about the availability of these programs and nursing student loans in their school’s financial aid offices.

The Pell Grant is the main source of financial aid for nursing undergraduates. The funds are currently at a maximum of $4000 a year. The amount granted to a nursing student will depend on the degree of financial need, cost of school tuition, and other fees. The amount from the Pell Grant will be included in the financial aid package taken by a nursing student.

If you want to apply for a Pell Grant, you need to fill up an analysis form. Recipients of the Pell Grant will not have to repay the funds. The deadline for the submission of application forms is May 1. You can submit your forms as early as the days after January 1.

College Work-Study Program

This federal aid program provides funding for part-time student employees of selected universities and colleges. A working nursing student will be paid with the current minimum wage. The college or university will also set the number of hours the part-time employee will work. The college-work study program is granted to nursing students who need it the most. If you want to apply for the program, you should submit your application form at the start of the calendar year.

Nursing Student Loans Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is offering a nursing student loan program for all nursing students at all levels. Freshmen and sophomores can take a $30,000 loan every year, while juniors and seniors have a higher loan amount of $4000 annually. Eligibility for the loan program is based on financial need. Graduate nursing students can also apply for this loan. The aggregate loan maximum amount should not exceed $13,000 for undergraduates and graduate students.
Those who have taken on low-income nursing loans should repay the amount, 9 months from graduation with a loan repayment plan. If you want a longer period of repayment, you are allowed a maximum of 10 years but with 5% interest.  That’s why it’s best to go with a nursing scholarship, rather than nursing loans.

Stafford Loans, SLS Loans, PLUS Loans

The Stafford Loans is formerly known as Guaranteed Students Loans. The loan program is guaranteed by the federal government and state guarantee agencies. If you are a new borrower, the maximum interest rate is 8.25%. The loans can be privately arranged in savings and loans associations, banks, and credit unions. Borrowers will be granted as much as $2,625 during the first and second years. The borrowing amount is increased in the third year with amounts ranging from $3,000 to $5,500. A nursing student can use as much as $23,000 for 4 years of education. For nursing graduate students, the borrowing amount every year is a maximum of $8,500 or an aggregate sum of $65,000.

The repayment schedule of these nursing student loans is liberal and may be canceled or deferred depending upon special circumstances. Loans should be repaid 6 months after graduation. For the PLUS loan program, nursing students who are also parents of dependent children are granted a loan of $4,000 per year. The same goes for loans in the SLS program for independent students. The interest rate is 3%. To qualify for these loans, you will have to undergo a credit investigation to verify your financial status.

Perkins Loans or National Direct Student Loans

The Perkins Loans are another type of federal aid. Selected schools offer this kind of loan and eligibility is based on the level of financial need. This is open to undergraduate and graduate students. They are allowed to borrow a maximum of $6000 per year or an aggregate sum of $40,000. Repayment is also scheduled 9 months after your graduation. The loan can be deferred for up to 10 years with 5% interest.

Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans

If you are an independent graduate or undergraduate student, you can take out a $4000 loan every year. A maximum amount of $20,000 is granted to undergraduates students while graduates can borrow as much as $138,500. Financial need is not a requirement but the total loan amount should not exceed the total cost of education.

Student Credit Cards

Other Sources of Financial Assistance

Student Credit Cards: Nursing students can take advantage of student credit cards if they are offered within the area where they are studying. Some banks offer credit cards designed for students. A student credit card has no annual fee and interest rate. This is good news for students who are paying for tuition fees and working on the side. Some credit card providers require students who are enrolled in college or university for at least two years to qualify.

Risks and Responsibilities

The collaboration between universities and banks as well as other financial companies in the credit industry has been put into the spotlight as these organizations have been accused of taking advantage of the vulnerability of college students in terms of financial needs.

Credit card providers can entice the universities by paying a certain fee in exchange for the personal information of the students. Once obtained, the credit card companies will then implement their marketing strategy through direct mailing and phone campaigns. College students are easily tempted to own a credit card because of the low-interest rate as the credit company claims. The credit card also bears the logo of the school that they are enrolled in.
This mutually beneficial relationship between schools and financial institutions is said to be unethical because the majority of the students do not know what it means to have a credit card.

They are not fully aware of the responsibilities of having one. In most cases, the promise of low-interest rates would only last for about six months. During the lapse of six months, the interest rates that are placed on the students’ debt would immediately increase to double its original interest rate. Some students mistook the credit limit as free for them to use but this is not so in reality.

The majority of the total annual earnings of the schools come from the referral fees or commissions from the credit industry. The credit card companies argue that students are just as responsible for their credit cards as adults are. But this is argued as having no basis since students that have just graduated from high school have no idea about credit card usage. Because of this, students graduate from universities with high debts from a credit cards.

Credit Cards and College Students

The issue of college credit card scams can be seen as a violation of the privacy of the students because the university fully disclosed the contact information of the students. The schools have the responsibility to provide security for their students including the non-disclosure of personal information. The personal information might be used by people with bad intentions or might even put the lives of the students at risk.

Credit card companies also have the responsibility to fully disclose all the information involved in the application of the credit card. Interest rates that will be charged for late payments must be also discussed by the companies to keep the students aware of them. There should be no fine print in the contract. The low-interest rates that are being offered by the credit card companies must also be clear to the students if these low rates will only be for a specific period or for a longer term. There must be no hidden rates as this will be great dishonesty on their part.

College students become attracted to the offer of low-interest rates for late payments. They grabbed what they thought was a very good offer. What they didn’t know was that this would put them in even greater debt because of the high-interest rates that are applied in the succeeding months. This could become a sort of deception on the part of credit card companies. Before signing up for a student credit card to support your nursing education, be sure to get more information first and read the fine print. Avoid student credit cards altogether if you are in doubt of their benefits.

Pursuing a nursing education can be quite expensive for students who come from low-income families. The government and private agencies are offering nursing student loans to help maintain the demand for nursing graduates. A shortage in nurses can be avoided in the future if nursing students are assisted in finishing their degrees. Nursing students should evaluate each type of loan and make further inquiries before making the decision.

When taking on nursing school loans, be sure to look into getting a nursing school grant. College tuition is one of the big hurdles when getting into a health care career. An education loan may seem like a good investment, but why pay for college when you can get a nursing school scholarship for college financing. Nursing school financial aid can be a complicated matter, so don’t sign on for a Federal Stafford loan until you look into all the details.

A Stanford Loan might seem like a good idea until you see that a nursing grant doesn’t have to be repaid. Special consideration is given when you are trying to get into a program approved by the Bureau of Health Professionals (BHPR), or the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). That’s why it’s best to seek out all of your options and make the right decision among them. Nursing student loans should really be taken on as a last resort only.

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