Education is expensive. And, depending on the nursing program you enroll in, you may find yourself needing to get some financial aid to help you earn your nursing degree. There are lots of grants and scholarships available, but there are also students loans you can apply for to make sure you can pay your tuition and fees. But if you decide to decide to get a loan, you should also look into the possibility of nursing loan forgiveness.
Research loan forgiveness programs
The first step to nursing loan forgiveness is to do your research. Different programs will have different requirements and parameters, and before you work with one of these programs, you have to be sure you know exactly what's required of you, and exactly what “forgiveness” means to the program. Will 100% of the loan be forgiven? Just the interest? Just the equivalent of your tuition? Will you be locked in to working at a specific healthcare facility? If so, for how long? What happens if you're laid off due to budget cuts? Every bit of information you can get ahead of time will help you decide if a forgiveness program will work for you.
Consider the long-term
Usually nursing loan forgiveness programs will say you have to work in a certain area for a certain length of time in order to be forgiven. It may be a particular facility or in an area of your city that's considered “high risk.” Regardless of the specific requirements, it's important to remember that these programs directly affect your nursing career. Based on where you're working, you'll have different opportunities, and that's something you need to take into consideration. If you already have specific goals set for your career, you'll need to make sure that a forgiveness program is in line with those goals.
Keep careful records
It's always important to keep careful track of your financial records and loan information. It's even more important if you're you're in a nursing loan forgiveness program. You have to make sure that you know you're meeting all your requirements, and that you know exactly where you stand with the forgiveness program and with the financial institution. Don't be afraid to ask questions, get clarification, and keep everything together so you have access to any paperwork you might need.
Nursing loan forgiveness is one way you can make sure that the cost of a nursing education doesn't keep you from the career you want. And as long as you do your research, consider the long-term implications for your career, and keep careful records along the way, it's likely to be a smooth process and one that will let you focus on classes instead of bills.