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How Much Should my Nursing School Loan Be?

In looking for ways to help offset the costs of your nursing degree, you may be considering a nursing school loan. But getting a loan can be intimidating, especially when you consider having to pay it back either while you're still in school or once you've graduated. Fortunately, there are a few questions you can ask yourself that will help you decide how big (or small) of a loan you need for your nursing education.

What did you qualify for?

When you apply for financial aid, you'll find out about any scholarships or grants you qualify for from the federal government, as well as any nursing school loans you're eligible for. The amount you qualify for is calculated based on your financial situation, so it can be a pretty good gauge of what you'll need to help pay for your nursing education. Obviously, what you qualify for is the starting place.

What are your costs for education?

The first step is to know what you're going to need to pay when you're in school. This doesn't only include tuition, but lab fees, scrubs (if needed), books, technology fees, and anything else you'll need to pay for the year. Your financial aid adviser will be able to help you get this information. Compare this number to what financial aid you qualify for outside of loans. Is there a gap between what scholarships and grants will cover and what you can afford to pay? That gap may be able to be bridged by a nursing school loan.

How much can you manage for monthly repayment in your budget?

It's important to remember that a nursing school loan has to be repaid. Grants and scholarships don't have to be, but loans do. When you consider how much you need in a loan, you should also consider how much you'll be able to pay back. The terms of your loan will include information about your monthly payment schedule and the interest rate, and that's something you should think about before agreeing to the loan. What can you budget for monthly repayment? Different loans will have different terms, so that's something to take into consideration.

Knowing how you're going to pay for your nursing education is a major part of getting everything organized to move forward. And while you may be able to get scholarships and grants to help offset your costs, it may not be enough. A nursing school loan can be a way to help financially, but it's important to balance what you borrow with what you can pay back. By looking at what you qualify for, what your costs are, and how much your budget allows for monthly payments, you can help determine how big or small of a nursing school loan you need. And once you know you can pay for school, you can focus on your classes, and moving ahead to start your career.

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