How to Save Money When Getting Your Nursing Degree

April 16, 2021

Nursing is a very rewarding career option with the option to make a real difference in the lives of others and many different career advancement options to consider. As a nurse, you will be spending your day helping people in their time of need while enjoying a very secure career that is in high demand everywhere you go. However, becoming a registered nurse means going to school and getting your degree, which means spending money. Going to nursing school isn’t cheap, with tuition fees setting students back thousands of dollars along with additional expenses for student living costs, relocation or commuting, textbooks, uniform and nursing equipment, and more. Thankfully, if you want to become a nurse but you’re on a tight budget, there are several things that you can do to save money along the way. 

Consider Studying Online:

Online study is becoming an increasingly popular option with student nurses, with more flexibility compared to studying in a traditional classroom environment, which allows you to continue working full-time and fit your studies around your schedule rather than the other way around. While most online degree programs will cost the same in terms of tuition fees, there are some that will be priced lower, but in most cases, you’ll definitely save money on the associated costs of attending nursing school since you won’t need to relocate to be close to campus, commute to classes or give up some of your work hours so that you can be there to attend lectures at certain times. You can get online nursing degrees at every level whether you are working towards your BSN or studying for the DNP executive leadership program from Baylor University

Try a Bridging Program:

If you are already working as a licensed practical nurse and have a related healthcare degree or qualification, a bridging degree designed to help licensed practical nurses and other healthcare professionals get their RN qualification could be the cheaper option for you. In general, an AND-BSN degree or similar can cost a lot less compared to a traditional BSN program since it will build on the knowledge that you have already gained in the past and is usually shorter than the traditional four years, which means fewer tuition costs. 

Consider an Accelerated BSN:

If you already hold a bachelors’ degree in another subject, you might want to consider getting an accelerated BSN to help you achieve your career goals of becoming a registered nurse faster. The ABSN is an intensive degree program that is designed to help you get your BSN and become an RN in around half the time that you would expect to spend studying for the traditional program, and is designed specifically for students who have already been to university and gained their bachelor’s degree in a different subject. Since it allows you to get your BSN in two years or even less depending on how much work you are able to put in, an ABSN can often be significantly cheaper in terms of tuition.

Explore Funding Options:

Whether you’re looking to get your BSN, or are already a registered nurse looking into getting an advanced degree, funding your degree program is likely going to be one of your biggest concerns. The good news is that the high demand for nurses right now has led to significant investments in nursing scholarships, grants, and other funding options designed to help more people get into this career. In addition, if you already work in a healthcare environment and your employer would benefit from you qualifying as a nurse or getting an advanced nursing degree, they may agree to cover all or some of your tuition fees.  Before applying for student loans, it’s a wise idea to shop around for all your options and see if you are eligible for other funding types that do not need to be repaid. 

Some funding options to consider include:

  • Scholarships: These are designed to provide nursing students with funding for their tuition that does not need to be paid back after graduation. You can access scholarship programs through your state, organization, company, school, and more. They are usually merit- or need-based and you’ll need to apply early. 
  • Employer funding: Many healthcare employers can make tax deductions for tuition reimbursement programs and some states offer tax benefits for employers who offer support with tuition fees, meaning that tuition reimbursement programs and employer education funding are becoming more popular. 

Buy Used Textbooks:

Nursing is a hands-on degree program but there is a lot of theory to learn and reading to do throughout the program. Because of this, you will usually be expected to purchase textbooks for each semester, which do not come cheap. If your classes are using the same textbooks as they did in the previous years, however, you might be able to save some money by purchasing used textbooks instead of brand new. Check out second-hand textbooks selling sites to see if you can find the books that you need at a cheaper price, and chat with nursing students in the year above you at your nursing school to see if they are looking to sell any of their old textbooks that they no longer need. 

Shop Around for Your Uniform:

You will likely be expected to go on a clinical placement to get your nursing degree, where you will earn the essential hands-on experience that you will need to get your nursing career started. Clinical placements are required to ensure that you are ready to get started in your new profession and succeed as soon as you qualify. But with many student nurses required to get their own scrubs and uniforms for their placements, this is an expense that can add up quickly. It’s a good idea to research and shop around for stores that offer discounted rates for nursing students that you can take advantage of, and invest in high-quality scrubs that you can use throughout your degree program rather than cheap ones that you will likely have to replace often. 

While getting your nursing qualification does not come cheap, the good news is that there are several strategies that you can take to reduce the overall cost and save money. 

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