So you are a Registered Nurse and you want to get your online RN to BSN degree, but you are not sure if you can afford to pursue your degree just yet, or you are already having trouble paying for it. Perhaps you’ve been working in the field for a while but are still paying off debt from obtaining your RN or maybe you are just getting started and want to get a jump on your career as early as possible. Considering a recent study¹ by the Institute of Medicine states that 80% of Registered Nurses are to receive a Bachelor of Science by 2020, you would not be doing yourself a disservice by furthering your education and staying competitive in a competitive field.
While many students do depend on federal financial aid to help pay for college, this aid it typically repayment plan such as a loan. Additionally, some students apply for grants and scholarships, which don’t have to be repaid, but are time consuming to apply for and often quite competitive. But one great benefit for nursing students is the option to oftentimes receive some sort of assistance from their employers to help pay for college. These types of funds are excluded from income and are tax-free up to the amount of $5,250!
For these reasons, and since paying for multiple licenses and degrees can be costly, many RNs are seeking out employers who will help them pay for their online RN to BSN degree. There are two main ways that employers will typically help their employees pay for their online RN to BSN degree. They are through Tuition Reimbursement or through Career Ladder Programs. Tuition Reimbursement is just what it sounds like, when an employer reimburses and employee in part or in full for their college tuition costs. Career Ladder² Programs allow employees to receive a scholarship towards their schooling with the promise of a promotion or job at the institution when they graduate. Both avenues are great ways for online RN to BSN students to get help with paying for school, especially since courses can be taken flexibly online while they continue to work full or part time.
If you’re already employed, your first step is to talk with your practice and see if they offer any benefits. If not and you know for sure you plan to pursue your online RN to BSN, go ahead and start seeking employment where you can participate in a Career Ladder or Tuition Reimbursement program. You’ll want to do your due diligence when seeking employment since these programs often come with lengthy contracts that require a commitment on your end to stay with the company from anywhere between one to five years while in school and/or after obtaining your degree.
Balancing the work college lifestyle can be tricky. But if you’re earning your RN to BSN online you’ll have flexibility in learning and time to balance both your academics and your career, and perhaps the added benefit of receiving some additional funds will also relieve some stress!