How Much Does It Cost To Go To Nursing School?

The burgeoning elderly population in the United States has prompted the growing demand for nurses. While it may seem speculative at this time, it would be safe to assume that the continued increase of the human population in general will still spur the need for nurses. This makes it a good time to study nursing.

As with any college degree, cost is always a consideration for anyone wishing to go to nursing school. The most obvious expense that students and their parents need to prepare for is the tuition fee. Other expenses like books, uniforms and health insurance will also have to be factored in to the equation when studying to become a nurse. Students also have to add in their living expenses during their time in school.

Before giving the lowdown on how much it costs to go to nursing school, it’s also important to know that there are a number of ways to become a registered nurse. One can choose to enroll in an associate’s degree program, a bachelor’s degree program, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) program or a bridge program for LPNs or LVNs. The cost can be lesser or greater depending on which educational path is chosen.

The tuition fee for a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), which takes four years to finish, costs anywhere from $40,000 to well over $100,000 each year in private institutions and large universities. At Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, for example, the Summer-Entry Accelerated Bachelor’s Program tuition fee for the 13-month program is $69,024. At the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, the tuition fee for their accelerated program starting from Summer 2014 to Fall 2015 is $103,000. The tuition fee for their undergraduate course is $47,668 each year.

If you don’t want to pay this much, you can check out BSN programs in community colleges which costs considerably lower. Tuition and fees in these colleges could range anywhere from $3,000 to about $14,000 a year. Students who are studying in-state pay lower than those who are from out-of-state, which is another advantage for those who intend to stay in their own hometowns while obtaining their BSN degree.

Students who wish to practice their nursing career right away may choose to get an associate’s degree in nursing because it only takes two years to finish or enroll in a licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing program which only takes a year or so to complete. These nursing programs certainly cost lower than a four-year bachelor’s degree. When they have gained work experience, they can enroll in an RN-to-BSN bridge program. The costs vary depending on the school but some employers give tuition reimbursement to their employees who proceed to obtain their BSN degree.

Nursing books, uniforms and health insurance are other costs that nursing students. Books can cost anywhere from over $1,000 to more than $3,000 each year. Nursing students are also required to wear their uniforms as well as have their own medical apparatuses like a stethoscope, blood pressure apparatus, watch, goggles, thermometer and the like. These can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 although these are usually one-time expenses unless the uniform gets outgrown or the medical apparatus gets damaged. Health insurance can cost anywhere from a little over $1,000 to over $4,000 each year. Other fees that must also be factored into a nursing student’s budget are application fees and laboratory fees.

The student’s living expenses make up a huge chunk of the budget. The cost really depends on where the school is located, whether the student is living at home or not and how often he or she likes to go out. Housing, food and personal expenses can range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 a year although the student can definitely find ways to cut costs in order to save.

This is also one of the reasons why online nursing programs are gaining popularity. Not only do they allow the convenience of allowing students to finish their degree at their own pace, it also gives them the chance to save on other expenses that are normally associated with studying on-campus. They can also work more hours so they have more income and do their coursework afterwards since they aren’t usually confined to a strict schedule.

As far as tuition goes, there may be some online nursing courses that ask for lower tuition but this is not always the case with all online programs. Distance education options offered by large universities may even ask for about the same tuition as that of their on-campus courses. Online schools may also charge technical fees to distance education students.

With the expense associated with obtaining a nursing degree, a lot of students rely on financial aid to get them through the course. This can be in the form of scholarships offered at the college, university or outside organizations. Schools usually have a financial aid office where the student can inquire about merit-based or need-based scholarships and grants which they can apply for.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is often the starting point for most students seeking help to fund their nursing education. Student loans are also another way to fund a nursing education. Fulltime nursing students can also opt to work part-time to help fund their personal expenses while they are in college, although this requires discipline and highly-organized time management skills.

Career Spotlight: Registered Nurse

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