It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to arranging financial aid for your nurse practitioner program. With making plans to return to school, there’s already a lot on your mind. Not to mention, the sequelae of your financial aid decisions won’t affect you until you graduate from your NP program, anyway. While paying off your student loans seems far off, don’t fall into the trap of approaching your financial aid package with nonchalance.
Taking some extra time to secure the best financial aid package possible may save you thousands of dollars long term, mitigating the headache that so often comes with paying off student loans. To prevent future budget woes, avoid these common mistakes when it comes to your nurse practitioner program financial aid decisions.
1. Considering your enrollment decision too emotionally
Deciding where to go for your nurse practitioner program is an emotional decision. Maybe you are captivated by the allure of a prestigious university name, or perhaps the sprawling landscape, historic buildings, and picturesque campus of another school have you swooning. While these are certainly worthwhile factors to consider in selecting your school, take a moment to consider your NP program decision in a purely financial manner. It may sound cutthroat, but the money you spend on your education is real so you must consider the decision rationally as well.
2. Neglecting to calculate costs of interest
Just like when you take out a mortgage to buy a home, the principal amount you borrow is much lower than the amount you actually pay. Student loans accrue interest making the ultimate cost of your education higher than it initially seems. Calculate these costs based on how long you think it will take you to pay off your education. Any difference in cost between two schools will only become more exaggerated over time.
3. Overlooking the educational cost of following years
Tuition is subject to change. This means the cost of the first year of your NP program could be lower than subsequent years. Pay attention to the rate of tuition inflation at your schools of interest. This allows you not only to make prudent financial decisions when it comes to your education but project any budgetary changes you will need to make in coming years.
4. Lackadaisical spending
Tuition costs are so high, that for some students taking on student loans can lead to unchecked spending. Paying a few hundred extra dollars a month to rent a swanky apartment or spending a couple thousand dollars to upgrade your car may seem like small expenses compared to the six-figure sum you’re throwing down on your education. So, it’s tempting to spend carelessly. Don’t forget, you’re paying interest on anything purchased with student loan money making the cost even higher. Prudent spending, even if you have the loan money to cover added expenditures, will be to your benefit when paying off loans in the future.
5. Forgetting to search for outside finding
Many graduate students neglect to look for outside funding to help finance their education. This is a big mistake. Many organizations and universities offer scholarship money to nurse practitioner students specifically. Search for scholarships designed to aid nursing students. Even a few thousand dollars will help relieve your student loan burden.
6. Not weighing your options
Applying to multiple schools is your best bet when it comes to getting a deal on your education. This way, you can compare financial aid packages offered by multiple institutions selecting the school that awards you the best package.
When it comes to financial aid, due diligence is a must. The weight of taking on debt to pay for your education may not hit initially, but paying this money back post graduation can be a burden. Mitigate this future stress by making wise financial decisions up front. You won’t regret it.