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Federal Student Aid

Financial aid for nursing school can come from a variety of sources, including federal and state loans and grants. Determine your eligibility for federal student aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and find out more about the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP).


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is used to apply for federal student financial aid, including grants, loans and work-study. Federal Student Aid programs are the largest source of student aid in America, providing over $60 billion a year in assistance. Take advantage of this opportunity by determining your eligibility today.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans must be repaid and are available to undergraduate students. If you qualify (based on need) for a subsidized Direct Loan, the government will pay the interest on your loan while you are in school.

Example of a Typical Yearly Direct Loan Academic Year Loan Range*:

Class StandingSubsidizedUnsubsidizedTotal Amount
Freshman $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
Sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
Junior/Senior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500

*Maximum annual loan limits for independent undergraduate students (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) are listed above. Federal Student Aid, updated May 2012. Visit www.direct.ed.gov for details.

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are available to undergraduate students only. Grants do not have to be repaid. The maximum Pell Grant for the 2011-2012 award year is $5,550.

The Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) offers registered nurses assistance to repay educational loans in exchange for service in critical shortage facilities. The purpose of the NELRP is to assist in the recruitment and retention of professional nurses dedicated to providing healthcare to underserved populations. Some eligibility requirements include being an RN, having received a baccalaureate in nursing from an accredited school of nursing and having unpaid qualifying loans obtained for nursing education leading to a degree.

For more information about federal financial aid, please access The Student Guide. This guide from the U.S. Department of Education is a great source of information concerning student federal financial aid. It offers a wealth of information on student federal financial aid programs and how to apply for them.