4 Student Loans for Nursing School to Help Pay for Your Degree

Posted by in Loans | Updated on September 13, 2023
At a Glance: Federal student loans, like subsidized and unsubsidized, are ideal for nursing school due to low interest rates and flexible repayment. Subsidized loans cover interest while you’re in school, while unsubsidized accrues interest but can be deferred. Paying interest in school can save money. Federal PLUS loans offer flexible funding for graduate nursing degrees. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) loans are low-interest options for healthcare degrees, benefiting underserved areas. Private student loans are a last resort with varying terms and may lack federal benefits. Choose lenders wisely.

Financing your nursing education is an important step toward becoming a nurse. Investigating the many possibilities available to you to follow your ideal career without undue financial burden is critical. This post will review four different forms of student loans for nursing school that can help you pay for your education. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s critical to understand your options and make an informed selection. 

Whether you choose federal student loans, Federal PLUS loans, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) loans, or private student loans, this guide will help you navigate the world of nursing school funding. Furthermore, we’ll discuss options for reducing your reliance on student loans, guaranteeing a more financially sustainable path through your nursing school. Let’s go into the specifics and examine your possibilities for funding your nursing degree.

Types of Federal Student Loans for Nursing School

Federal student loans should be your go-to option for financing your nursing education. These loans, offered by the government, have low-interest rates and provide flexible repayment plans. There are two main kinds of federal student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized student loan:

If you qualify for the subsidized loan, the government pays the interest while you are in school, and the repayment begins after you graduate. This means you won’t have to worry about accumulating interest during your studies, allowing you to focus on your nursing courses and clinical rotations without the added financial burden. The subsidized loan is a great option for those needing more means to pay the interest while still in school.

Unsubsidized student loan:

On the other hand, with an unsubsidized loan, the interest starts accumulating as soon as you receive the funds. However, don’t let this discourage you. While the appeal may begin to accrue, you can defer the interest payments until after you graduate. This allows you to focus on your nursing education without the immediate pressure of making interest payments.

Smart Financing for Aspiring Nurses: Paying Interest While in School

If you are concerned about the growing balance on your student loan when you graduate, there is a proactive solution to consider -paying the interest while you are still in school. This responsible approach can ultimately save you money in the long term and reduce the overall cost of your loan. However, assessing your financial circumstances carefully and determining whether managing interest payments during your academic journey suits you is important.

Remember, these loans are tailored for students and come with student-friendly terms. The repayment plans are manageable, considering that you may still be establishing your nursing career. The government understands the importance of investing in education and wants to support aspiring nurses in pursuing a degree.

Federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans should be on your radar if you’re looking for a reliable option to finance your nursing degree. These loans provide the financial assistance you need to pursue your nursing education without the added stress of high-interest rates or inflexible repayment plans. Take advantage of these student-friendly loans and focus on what matters most – becoming a skilled and compassionate nurse.

Federal PLUS Loans for Nursing School

Are you ready to take your nursing career to the next level? If so, you may wonder how to finance your graduate or professional degree. Look no further than the Federal PLUS Loan, a financial aid option specifically designed for students like you pursuing their nursing degrees.

With a fixed interest rate and the ability to borrow funds up to the cost of attendance, the Federal PLUS Loan offers a flexible and reliable funding source. This loan covers you whether you need help with tuition, books, or living expenses.

Key features of the Federal PLUS loan for nursing school

  1. Tailored for Nursing Students: The Federal PLUS loan is particularly designed to provide the financial needs of nursing students pursuing graduate or professional degrees in the field.
  2. Fixed Interest Rate: This loan provides a stable fixed interest rate, offering predictability and protection from changes in the financial market.
  3. Borrowing Flexibility: Students can borrow funds up to the complete cost of attendance, ensuring that all aspects of their education, including tuition, books, and living expenses, are covered.
  4. No Borrowing Limits: Unlike other loan options, the Federal PLUS does not impose strict borrowing limits, allowing students to access the financial resources they need without limitations.
  5. Credit Check Requirement: A credit check is required to secure approval for the Federal PLUS Loan. This step ensures that students receive vital financial support for their nursing career pursuits.
  6. Financial Support: The loan acts as an economic lifeline, supporting students as they work toward achieving their financial aid beyond the limits of other loans.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nursing Loans

A lesser-known but equally valuable resource for nursing school financing is the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) loan. The HRSA student loan provides low-interest loans to students pursuing degrees in healthcare fields, including nursing.

These loans aim to encourage individuals to pursue careers in underserved areas or disciplines facing a shortage of healthcare professionals. If you’re passionate about making a difference in communities that need it most, the HRSA loan might be the perfect fit for you.

So, as you step closer to realizing your dream of becoming a nurse, remember that HRSA loan stands ready to support your journey, ensuring that you are equipped to bring your passion and skills to communities in need.

Private Student Loans for Nursing School

If you’ve exhausted your government alternatives and still require further financial support, private student loans can help. Private loans are accessible through banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions at competitive interest rates based on your creditworthiness.

However, doing your homework and evaluating several lenders is critical to discover your case’s best terms and prices. Furthermore, private loans frequently need more benefits than federal loans, such as income-driven repayment programs or loan forgiveness opportunities.

So, while private student loans can provide that extra push, proceed cautiously and select a lender that best meets your needs.

Best Private Student Loans for Nursing School

Exploring the right private student loans can be a game-changer when financing your nursing education. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the top lenders and their key loan features to help you make an informed decision:

Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae is a well-established private student loan lender that offers competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options tailored to nursing students. With a range of loan products, Sallie Mae allows borrowers to customize their loans to cover the unique expenses associated with nursing school, making it a trusted choice for healthcare education financing.

Sallie Mae Undergraduate Student Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR


Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: Mid-600’s.
  • Fixed APR: 4.50-15.49%
  • Variable APR: 6.37-16.70%
  • Loan amounts: Minimum of $1,000 per year.
  • Repayment: 10 to 15 years.


  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: Does not disclose.
  • Minimum income: Did not disclose.
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 up to 100% of the school-certified expenses.


  • One of the few lenders to provide loans to part-time students.
  • Non-U.S. citizens, including DACA students, can apply with a U.S. co-signer.


  • You can’t see if you’ll qualify and what rate you’ll get without a hard credit check.

College Ave

College Ave stands out for its user-friendly application process and transparent terms, making it an excellent option for nursing students seeking simplicity in their loan application. Competitive interest rates and customizable repayment plans make College Ave a convenient choice for those pursuing a nursing education.

College Ave Private Undergraduate Student Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score

600 or better

Fixed APR

4.41% - 16.99%

Variable APR

5.49% - 16.99%


  • Minimum credit score: 600 or better.
  • Fixed APR: 4.59% – 16.99%.
  • Loan amounts: 5.49% – 16.99%.
  • Repayment: 5, 8, 10, 15, and 20 years.


  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • For undergraduate loans: Part-time enrollment at an accredited college/university.
  • International students: Need a Social Security number and a co-signer.
  • For refinance loans: Must be 18 years or older.
  • For refinance loans: Graduation from an eligible school is required.


  • Prequalify with a soft credit check
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Offers co-signer release for private loans


  • Charges late fees
  • Must have graduated to be eligible to refinance
  • Half of repayment term must have passed to release co-signer


While not specifically a student loan lender, Upgrade is a newer lender known for its online prequalification process and fast funding, which can be advantageous for nursing students looking for quick access to financial support. With competitive rates and financial wellness tools, Upgrade caters to the needs of nursing students seeking efficient and cost-effective financing options.

Upgrade Personal Loan

Stilt’s lender ratings reflect the findings and opinions of our editorial staff. Our scoring methodologies consider a wide array of factors and data points for every lender, offering, and financial solution.
Min. credit score


Fixed APR

8.49% - 35.99%

Variable APR



  • Minimum credit score: 560
  • Fixed APR: 8.49% – 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Repayment: 3 to 5 years (7 years on some larger loans)


  • Possess an active bank account.
  • Able to provide a legitimate email address.
  • Minimum age requirement: 18 years (19 for Alabama residents).
  • Credit score of 600 or higher.
  • Annual income of $25,000 or more.


  • Willing to accommodate borrowers with a credit score as low as 560.
  • Offers flexibility with a range of loan amounts from $1,000 to $50,000. This can be suitable for both small and large financial needs.
  • Provides options for repayment, allowing borrowers to choose a timeline that best suits their financial situation.
  • Once approved, borrowers can access funds in just one day, which is useful for urgent financial needs.


  • Origination fees can go as high as 9.99%, which might add a significant cost to the loan.
  • Apart from the origination fee, there are fees for late payments and failed payments, which can add up if one is not careful.
  • While there is an option to extend repayment for larger loans up to 7 years, it’s not standard for all loan amounts.

Reduce Your Need for Nursing School Student Loans

While student loans are undoubtedly helpful, exploring other avenues to reduce the debt burden is always smart. By implementing the below strategies, you can overcome your reliance on student loans and work towards a more financially sustainable path through nursing school. 

Here are some strategies you can implement to lighten the load:

  • Seeking nursing-specific scholarships and grants: Apply for scholarships and grants specific to nursing students. There are numerous opportunities out there waiting for the perfect candidates – you!
  • Part-time employment: Consider working part-time while attending nursing school. This can help cover some of your living expenses and reduce the amount you need to borrow.
  • Budget wisely: Make and stick to a budget. You can save money and lessen your loan amount by being mindful of your spending habits.
  • Tuition reimbursement programs: Explore tuition reimbursement programs offered by hospitals or healthcare organizations. These programs often require a commitment to work with the organization after graduation but can be financially rewarding.

Final Thoughts

It would be best to explore all your financial options as soon as you begin your road toward becoming a nurse. All types of student loans, including federal loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized), PLUS loans, HRSA loans, and private student loans, can assist you in achieving your objective of becoming a nurse. 

Always try to reduce the money you will require from student loans by carefully considering what you need and how much money you have available. You’ll get a long way toward becoming the outstanding nurse you’ve always dreamed of being if you can get some financial assistance, put in a lot of effort, and stay motivated.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.