17 Best Ways to Pay off your Nursing School Student Loans
Paying off your nursing school student loans fast is difficult, but it’s doable.
Have you heard the news talking about how the country is in a student loan crisis? The nation has over 1.3 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt. Honestly, the trillion-dollar student loan crisis probably means very little to you. What probably does say a lot is the average student loan is almost $30,000 according to The New York State Nurses Association. Nurses are not the exception, and you are not alone.
To help you out on this journey here are the 17 Best Ways to Pay your Nursing Student Loans.
Table of Contents
17 Best Ways to Pay your Nursing School Student Loans
Benefits of Paying off My Nursing School Student Loans Fast
1. Have a Solid Budget
Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to get into debt. When it comes to getting out of nursing school debt, you cannot just randomly get out of it without a game plan. That’s where a budget comes in. A budget allows you to plan how you’re going to spend your money. A budget if done right can help you find where you are overspending. This allows you to trim your spending and be able to put more money into your nursing student debt.
Check out this article to learn how to successfully budget your money.
2. Make a Plan to Pay off your Nursing Student Loans
To pay off your nursing loans than you need to figure out a game. As I stated earlier, it’s unlikely you’re going to wander out of debt.
There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to paying off debt. The first is what some might call a “debt avalanche”. This works by lining up all your nursing school loans and then paying the minimum payments on everything. You would then pay extra on the nursing loan that has the highest interest rate. When you pay it off, you would take all the money you were paying on it plus the extra and use the money to pay on the next loan with the highest interest rate.
Effectively you’re working through your student debt from the loan with the highest interest rate to the loan with the lowest interest rate.
The other school of thought is what many call the “debt snowball.” To do the debt snowball, you would first line up all your loans from nursing school from smallest amount to largest amount. You would once again pay minimum payments on everything and make extra payments on the student loan with the lowest amount. After paying off a loan you would move to the next student loan amount and role over the minimum payments and the extra payments you were making from the previous.
The difference between the two schools of thoughts is the debt avalanche mathematically is quicker, but many consider the debt snowball effective. The debt snowball gives you quick wins by knocking off small debts motivating you to power through the debt.
3. Stop Adding Credit Card Debt
If your goal is to get out of student loan debt then your best bet is to not add more debt to it, especially credit card debt. It doesn’t help that interest rates on credit cards can get well above 15% according to CNBC. You want to avoid situations where your income is divided up between several different debt.
4. Stop Adding More Nursing School Loan
As someone who has spent a longer than average time in school, this one hits home. Sometimes it’s just better to get a handle on your current loan problem before trying to add more to it.
5. Find Opportunities to Work Overtime
Getting extra money will go a long way to paying off your nursing school debt. Working overtime is one of the best ways to get extra money. Not only will you get time and a half for working over 40 hours in a week but some jobs will give you bonuses for picking up extra shifts.
6. Find Yourself a Side-hustle
Sometimes the full-time job is just not cutting it. It could be overtime at your facility is hard to come by, or you don’t want to work extra at your current job. Finding a side job in nursing is relatively easy. Unfortunately, you would miss the overtime opportunities at your current position but might still get some bonuses for picking up above and beyond your minimum shifts at your other job.
7. Figure-out your payoff date
Figuring out what your payoff date is can be beneficial. Once you know the end date, you have a target. It makes it so much easier to figure out what you need to do to move the pay off time closer.
It also helps with motivation if you’re keeping tabs on this.
For example, let's say you started off with a payoff date of 10 years. You get an inheritance (a bonus or another lump sum of money), you realized if you put all or most of the money to your nursing student loans, you would have a pay off date of eight years instead of 10.
Talk about a big boost in morale.
8. Pay Extra on your Nursing Student Debt Payments
Assuming you’re making monthly minimum payments on your student loan would mean you are making 12 payments every year on your nursing debt. If you add a couple more payments in there, you will pay off your student loans faster.
For example, if you added an extra payment ever four months, you would make three additional payments on your nursing school debt which would go a long way.
Make sure your lender knows your extra payments are going towards the principal and you’re not prepaying. If the lender prepays the student loan then effectively you are applying money for the following month's payment. This distinction is important because it would end up costing you more money in interest payments.
(Interest is calculated based on your principal balance every month. In other terms the lower the principal, the lower your interest payment)
9. Pay Extra on your Minimum Payments
You should try to pay more than the minimum payments every month. As stated above by paying more to your principal balance you can lower your interest payments, which means it will cost you less in the long run.
10. Pay a Lump-Sum
Are you or your spouse in situations where you will get a bonus or an inheritance? The best use of some or all the money might be to pay off your student debt. Spending a lump sum of money paying off debt is at times difficult and not the most enjoyable thing in the world. Some might even look at paying off debt as a waste. If you keep in mind how much you will save over the life of the nursing school loan and how much of your disposable income will be free every month it starts sounding better.
11. Don’t do Repayment Programs
You might get some paperwork in the mail talking about how your monthly school loan repayments can be reduced. If your goal is to pay off your nursing school loans as quickly as possible, then you probably want to avoid these programs.
Most of the federal student loan repayment programs lower your monthly payments by increasing the term of the school loan. Let me rephrase it another way. If they reduce your monthly payments for your nursing school debt, they will increase the number of years you will have to pay. The result is you will be in debt longer.
If your thinking about doing a program like this, make sure you understand the terms.
12. Refinance and consolidate your Nursing School Loans
Refinancing and consolidating your loans from nursing school, if done right can be one of the best ways to pay off your nursing student loans quickly.
When you refinance and consolidate your loans your goal is to bring multiple loans into one single loan with interest rate less than the average of the separate loans before they were consolidated.
Having one single payment instead of multiple is just convenient, but a lower interest rate means you can get out of debt quicker and you pay less in the long run.
There are a couple of points on this I want to mention:
1. Consolidating and refinancing doesn’t guarantee you will get a lower interest rate.
2. If you consolidate your loan, but your new interest rate is not lower than the average of the separate non-consolidated loans then all things being equal you won’t pay off your nursing student loans any faster.
3. You may feel like you have done something when you haven’t. All you did was move loans around. The real accomplishment will come once you start paying them down.
13. NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
The government program NURSE Corps Loan Repayment is a loan repayment program for nurses who work in underserved areas. This program can help take a significant chunk of your debt and in return, a minimum commitment of two years is required. If you’re eligible for this program, it’s worth checking out.
14. Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program for Nurses
If you’re eligible for this program, it can repay some of your loans in exchange for a couple years of commitment to American Indian or Alaska native communities working as a nurse.
16. State Specific Grants, Scholarships or Loan Repayment
Different states may have loan repayment programs for nurses who commit to working in that state for a set period. Depending on what state you live in you might qualify for this. Merely searching online could yield some beneficial results.
Other notable mentions worth checking out are:
The Federal Perkins Loan Discharge and Cancellation for Nurses
Public Service Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness
17. Caution for those with Nursing Student Loans
A word of caution. Many companies sending out fliers or infomercials talking about they can get your student loans forgiven. Student loan forgiveness is not guaranteed, and many of the programs out there have stringent guidelines to be accepted. You really shouldn’t have to pay money to them since pretty much all the programs out there you can apply yourself.
Be mindful of companies pushing “too good to be true” claims.
7 Benefits of Paying off My Nursing School Student Loans Fast
It’s worth mentioning paying off your nursing school debt matters for a couple of reasons.
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
When you have debt especially if it’s a lot (doesn’t have to be student loans) it can cause some anxiety. I remember the very first time I saw what my student loans were after finishing school and I thought I was going to pass out. I was very stressed about it for a good while until I figured out a game plan.
2. Negatively Affects your Credit Score
Many factors go into calculating your credit score. One of those is the amount of debt you have. Too much nursing school loans can affect your credit score negatively so keep that in mind.
3. Hinders your Future Goals
Too much student loan debt can prevent you from accomplishing your future goals. Goals such as buying a home or traveling can easily be derailed when a lot of your money is going towards paying down debt from nursing school.
4. Hinders your Ability to Give
While this might not bother many, it bothered me. The more money you have going to banks for student loan payments the less you have to be generous.
5. Nursing School Debt is Difficult to Escape
With the student loan crisis going on many people falsely think in a worst-case scenario they can declare bankruptcy and get rid of the obligation to pay back their nursing school debt. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen. Except for death or declared permanent disability getting rid of your student loans short of paying it back can be difficult.
6. What does your Nursing School Debt cost you
There is a price to pay for everything and not paying off your nursing student loans is costing you. In the long-term you will lose a lot of money to interest payments. Imagine if you were to invest the money you are currently paying into student loan payments.
The benefit of quickly paying off your nursing school loan is you can invest more and in the long term be much better off.
7. Changes Trajectory of your Career
When you don’t have nursing school debt obligations or any other significant loan obligations it could change the choices you make with your career. I know many people who have stuck with a job they hated just because it paid well. When I asked them why didn’t just switch positions, they would usually say something like I have too much student loans from nursing school or too much “other” kind of debt.
If you want to pay off your nursing school loans and pay it off quickly, you need to be proactive in how you do it and figure out a game plan. There are many benefits to do this such as the reduced anxiety and the freedom it will give you. Give it a try you would be surprised at how paying off your loans from nursing school will change the decisions you make.
While you’re on this journey to pay off your debt from nursing school, be mindful not to fall prey to scam artists.
Do you have a lot of nursing school loans? If so how are you managing?
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