Funding Your LPN School: Financial Aid for Future Nurses

There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who love helping their fellow man -- and millions who would just love to be earning a decent wage. Many of them don't believe they have the ability to go to school, but that's because they don't know about their options. A nursing school, or more specifically an LPN school -- the place to learn Licensed Practical Nursing, one of the top-paying fresh-from-college jobs on the market -- isn't that hard to get into once you understand how to get financial aid.

The first place to look for LPN programs are public (i.e. state) colleges, because they accept both standard Federal student aid and they also tend to have a variety of scholarships available for people diligent enough to research them and apply. Especially if you can find one that has a significant nursing program, LPN program-oriented scholarships are fairly common.

If you intend to get your LPN training online, you can also take advantage of the Higher Education Reconciliation Act, passed six years ago, which recognizes that online colleges are a legitimate source of advanced degrees and made Federal student aid available for many accredited online institutions. Many such colleges offer strong LPN training courses, and they allow you to learn at your own pace, taking things as aggressively or as slowly as your lifestyle demands.

Almost anyone can get a hold of a Pell Grant, which will cover a chunk of the cost of your LPN classes, but almost never as much as half of it. Student loans can often cover the rest, but if you can avoid that level of debt, it's a good idea. That's why you should also look into the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or FSEOG. Not all schools participate in the FSEOG program, but if you find one that does and you have exceptional financial need, it can go a long way toward eliminating the rest of your school costs.

Before you decide which brick-and-mortar or online institution to take your LPN classes from, talk to the financial aid office of each, and have each one build a financial aid package for you. Ask them about "FAFSA4Caster", an online tool which can help you determine how much financial aid you qualify for. Remember, no matter what they assume, you don't have to accept admission into any LPN programs until you know exactly what impact it will have on your finances.

If you're already working as a CNA and you want to participate in a CNA-to-LPN program, talk to your human resources department -- often there are tuition reimbursement benefits that can help fund your LPN training. Generally, you'll have to pay for your tuition (or that part that isn't covered by grants and scholarships) up front, and then your workplace will reimburse you for some or all of the rest. That can go a long way toward ameliorating the costs of getting your LPN classes under your belt. Ready for a move up the ladder?

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