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Tuition Hacks: How to pay for NP School and graduate loan free

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Tuition Hacks: How to pay for NP School and graduate loan free


Is the cost of tuition stopping you from attending Nurse Practitioner (NP) school? With the inflation in tuition which can lead to a lifelong obligation of debt, many qualified NP students are seeking unique avenues to fund their education without breaking the bank. What’s the going rate of NP school these days? First, the cost of your tuition is dependent on five factors: (1) Will you be attending a public or private university? (2) Is your program online, hybrid, or brick and mortar? (3) Will you be attending in your state (resident) or out-of-state (non-resident)? (4) What NP track will you be doing? (5) And, do you have to financially invest in your preceptorship? Also, note that this does not include the unexpected cost such as books, supplies, gas for your commute, and bottomless coffee from Starbucks or your favorite coffee shop.

Today, the average tuition for a resident at a public university is $18,000 and $36,500 for non-residents. In some cases, online programs are more economical and can average around $25,500. The average cost to attend a private university is around $35,000. We had the opportunity to sit down with two Nurse Practitioners who not only say that NP school loan free is possible but share the steps on how they got it done and how they are working towards being debt-free.

Photo credit: Jamie Kate Adoc

Here’s what Jamie Kate Adoc, MSN, APRN, FNP-C a 2020 NP graduate had to say:

What steps did you take to pay for school? Why was this the best decision for you?
I started paying my tuition as soon as I started my program. I worked full-time throughout NP school to qualify for scholarships at my workplace. There were times when I wanted to go per diem or quit my job, especially when I was doing clinical rotations, but I didn’t give up. By the end of my program, I earned a total of $11,000 in scholarships.

Describe the feeling you have today being loan free. Right now, my balance is $19,000, since I qualified for a 0% interest rate loan, I have until 2024 to pay it off. However, I’ve been picking up extra shifts to save up money to pay it off before 2024! If I continue to work extra shifts, I should be debt-free by Summer 2021!

What recommendations do you have for NP students who want to do the same? Be smart with your money while in NP school. If you can handle working full-time, go for it! Just know that it can be challenging and requires you to manage your time well. Choose your school wisely, and network with different students to find a preceptor that will take you in and precept you for free.

Photo credit: Jeseeka Gustave

Here’s what Jesseka Gustave, MSN, FNP-BC a 2017 graduate of University of South Florida had to say:

What steps did you take to pay for school? Why was this the best decision for you? I was able to get my tuition payments deferred until the middle of the semester. Ensuring that I knew how much was owed each semester and having a budget in place to make sure that I had the amount by the due date. I had obtained my BSN as an out-of-state student and had substantial loans because of it. I did not want to graduate with additional loans.

Describe the feeling you have today being loan free. 
Although I still have my undergraduate loans I feel less of a burden not having additional graduate loans. Less stress and more financial freedom that gives me the opportunity to aggressively battle my undergraduate debt. 
What recommendations do you have for NP students who want to do the same? There are many options besides paying out-of -pocket for graduate school. Things such as loan repayment programs and some employers offer tuition reimbursement with stipulations. Be sure to understand what’s included in the contract if you choose this route. It is important that you look at all your options and what is most financially feasible for you and your current lifestyle.

Here’s what other NP students are saying:

@iamjustchi I picked a program that was affordable. I’m currently a full-time travel nurse and part-time student. I am able to pay for the entire semester with just a week’s worth check! I also picked up PRN jobs just in case I have to stop traveling to ensure I will have flexible sources of income.

@sarahv.2 I picked an affordable state school, work part-time and I saved all my income to pay for tuition. I’m married so I am fortunate to do this. I haven’t had to take out any student loans yet, and I’m almost done.

@sircastor06 I made sure I chose a public university and used my employer’s tuition assistance program. I work full-time and pick up a few PRN shifts. It’s not easy juggling it all but once I graduate, all my income will be residual.

Are you an NP student with a unique experience? We would like to feature you. Email editor@npstudentmagazine.com to learn more about how you can contribute.

Patrice Little, DNP, FNP-BC

I am an author, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Founder/CEO of NP Student, — dedicated to keeping you "in the know" in every aspect of your life in and out of school. I am candid about my wins and regrets and share these stories so you can learn from my, always revealing something new life. Contact me at editor@npstudentmagazine.com

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