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Cost of Nursing School

    School Options

    • Students have three main options for undergraduate nursing education: a two-year associate's degree program at a community college, a four-year bachelor's degree program at a public university, or a four-year bachelor's degree program at a private university. Of these, the Coalition for Nursing Careers in California lists community college associate degree programs as being the cheapest. These programs are the most popular option according to FutureMeld's BrainTrack website.

    Cost Ranges and Averages

    • Cost Helper lists the 2009 averages and ranges associated with the cost of nursing education. The website lists the cost of an associate's degree program as $4,600 for in-state students and as much as $21,600 for out-of-state students. A public university bachelor's degree in nursing is between $20,000 and $27,000 for in-state students and between $36,000 and $99,200 for out-of-state students. Private 4-year institutions average about $80,000. These costs don't include other fees like taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) or buying scrubs worn in clinical work. The Coalition for Nursing Careers in California points out that although larger institutions are more expensive, they may have better funding options.

    Online Courses

    • The Internet makes it possible for nursing students to complete some or all of their nursing education online. This may be a cost-effective option for some students because they may not have to pay room and board, depending on the degree and specifics of the programs. However, online courses cannot replace hands-on clinical coursework, so students have to consider whether the savings of online classes is worth not having as much on-the-job training in terms of career preparedness.

    Faculty Shortages and Application Numbers

    • According to the National League for Nursing, as of 2010, a shortage exists in the number of faculty for nursing programs. This faculty shortage means that larger numbers of applicants have to apply to the same programs and fewer programs are available. This means that supply and demand strongly influences the cost of a nursing education program--nursing programs may charge higher tuition rates to make faculty wages competitive and to control the numbers of applications received.

    Grants and Scholarships

    • IIf students want to pursue a nursing education, but don't have the money, grants and scholarships are available that are only for nursing students. Some of these are general nursing scholarships and grants, but others are quite specific, such as being for male or Hispanic nurses only. Many different websites list these grants and scholarships. In addition, nursing students may be eligible for federal assistance if they fill out the federal Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).

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