Ask Jeni: How Do I Fund my MSN Program?

December 11, 2018

I will be starting my online MSN program and I’m wondering what my options are for financing the degree and for loan forgiveness after graduation.

 

It sounds like you have two questions. 1. How can you pay for the MSN program? 2. What student loan forgiveness options are available?

Strategies for paying for your MSN degree.

  • Start by asking your HR department¬†if your employer has any type of tuition reimbursement or scholarships available for employees. If they do, find out if your degree program qualifies and what steps you’ll need to take.
  • After finding out if your employer will help pay for it, you’ll need to assess your own financial situation. Relatively few folks can pay the remaining costs out of pocket. But even paying some of the costs out of pocket helps you accrue less debt and saves you money on interest.
  • When you determine you’ll need additional funds, you will need to fill out the FAFSA to qualify for federal student loans and other types of financial aid.
  • The last option; if all of the previous options have been exhausted, is to obtain private student loans. Generally, private student loans have higher interest rates and limited borrower protections so this option needs to be considered carefully.

 

How to approach loan forgiveness.

You’ll need to do some information gathering to decide if you qualify for loan forgiveness after you obtain your degree. Here are some of the things you’ll need to know.

  • Only Federal Direct Student loans to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
  • You have to work for an eligible non-profit employer to qualify for PSLF and most state-specific loan repayment programs.
  • Your student loan balance must be high enough relative to income to be eligible for an income-driven repayment plan.
  • You’ll need to be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.
  • If you want PSLF you’ll need a high enough balance that it isn’t paid off after making 120 monthly payments on an income-driven plan.

In the future, if you have Federal Direct student loans that won’t be paid off after 10 years of making income-driven monthly payments while you’re working for an eligible non-profit employer then you could have some loans forgiven under Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

If you’re pursuing your¬†APNP, CRNA, or CNM degrees, you may qualify for other types of loan forgiveness programs determined by your practice site.