One of the biggest concerns of adult students is being saddled with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt upon graduation. Having lots of student loan debt can delay not only any future plans you have for buying a home or financing a car, but also your finances. See, when you owe student loan debt, it is not normally for a nominal amount. Privatized student loans tend to have much higher and frequently fluctuating interest rates, making it very hard for new nursing school graduates to get a firm handle on their debt. Federal student loan debt can be easier to manage, but also note that this form of debt can never be discharged. So, that means that even if you file for bankruptcy because you simply can’t handle your bills, you are still going to be on the hook for your federal student loan debt.
Scholarships Are Your First Line of Defense
Before you even think about taking out a student loan to help pay for a nursing school program, you want to see what scholarships are available. Lots of nursing schools and colleges have in-house scholarships that are offered to students for merit as well as financial need. See what is available there first. Next, you can go to your local library and check out one of those huge, oversized college scholarship books. You can get free money for college for things like being left-handed, belonging to a particular ethnic group, such as scholarships for Pacific Islanders, or even residing in a specific region. Spend some time writing essays, completing and submitting entry forms, and wait to see if you can get some financial help with nursing school.
Choose a Nursing School with Reasonable Tuition Rates
The other main way to avoid taking on extraneous debt while in nursing school is to attend a school that sets you up to succeed. Note that there is very little correlation, if any, between the cost of a nursing school program and its level of excellence. Look at what the graduation rate for each school is, and get the most up to date data on post-graduation employment rates. Local and online nursing schools tend to have the most reasonable tuition rates amongst all nursing programs. Submit a few applications and choose a nursing school that has the most well-balanced set of features, perks, and benefits for students.
Cutting Down on Other Expenses While in College
If you want to graduate from nursing school, then you have to do a lot more than just show up. Nursing school students need textbooks, and lots of them. You will need to buy various books, materials, and supplies in order to complete your classes. And if you know anything about college and nursing school textbooks, then you will realize that they can be quite expensive. Don’t think twice about purchasing books second-hand and even selling your textbooks when you are finished with a course. You might even be able to borrow, trade, or share textbooks amongst fellow students to refrain from taking on extraneous debt.
Developing a Plan to Pay as Much Debt as Possible Before Graduation
A lot of people attending nursing school are able to continue to work and provide for themselves, at least to some degree. Whether you work full-time, part-time, or just periodically is really up to you. However, paying off any amount of your student loan debt before it becomes due will help you to save a huge amount on interest rates. As soon as a new student loan is issued, it is possible for it to start compounding interest. This does not always happen, but there are plenty of students who have graduated school owing more money than they initially borrowed. Don’t fall into this trap, and simply make payments as frequently as is comfortable for you.
Going to School Online Versus In-person
Probably the best way to keep your nursing school debt down is to look at your online education options. The purpose of going to nursing school is to gain an education, graduate, and then embark on a solid career. It really doesn’t matter whether you attend classes in-person or online, so long as you are satisfied with the quality of the training program itself. Compare online accelerated BSN programs, and see what past students say about their experiences with various schools. Upon finding an online nursing program with a good track record that is also affordable, you will be guaranteed to graduate without loads of extraneous debt.
Ensuring That You Come Ahead and Attack Debt as Soon as Possible
At some point, you are going to graduate, and not only are you going to need to shift your attention to your new career path but all of your student loans are going to mature. Whether it be six months, a year, or even very soon after graduation, student loan companies are going to require you to start making payments. Sometimes forbearances and even income-driven repayment plans can help recent nursing school graduates find relief. Note that delaying repaying student loan debt isn’t always the best strategy, as interest can accrue and make your total amount of debt even larger. You can come out ahead by paying close attention to the amount that you accumulate and owe while still in school. Sometimes making interest payments while attending school can really be helpful. Whatever you choose, don’t wait until graduation to face the reality that you have student loan debt.
In order to have a satisfying life post nursing school graduation, you need a plan to quickly eliminate student loan debt. Few people are prepared to pay upward of $500 to $700 a month towards their student loans indefinitely, which is what can happen if you keep putting them into deferment. Remember that every dollar you owe student loan companies accrues interest. The longer you take to pay it back, the more you are going to owe in the end. Now, you don’t have to panic or feel bad if you end up owing more than you want. What you can and should consider is brainstorming as to how you can get your student loans under control, and develop a strategy for paying them off once and for all.