5: Worried about affording school?

Figure out your budget

  • Every dollar coming in and going out - called a 0 based budget

  • What’s left over?What’s short?

  • How can you reduce your expenses?

--Truebill- they also have a service where they will negotiate some of your bills to get them lowered for you. (usually there’s a fee you pay like a percentage of what they save you but you save money in the long run).

--Another similar company is called Trim (same services)

-If interested in using one of these make sure to compare/contrast the advantages and net money saved.

  • How can you increase your income?

-- Do these in the time leading up to starting school with as much intensity as possible because your time will be very limited once starting classes. (create a separate savings account)

--I actually sold all of my nursing books at the end of the program and was able to use that money to pay for my NCLEX review course and state licensing exam (Over $500 total)

-- The service I used gave me shipping labels for free but you use what works best for you/ feel most comfortable with.  

  • If not ready to begin classes, how much time to save up?- estimate the total cost and divide by how many months you have, then start saving!

  • Special circumstances- --start with a local unemployment/ vocational center, they usually have a lot of contacts where you can search for services available to you. Some you might not qualify for, but at least you can try.

-- Veteran’s, don’t rely on the information from your school counselor. Go directly to the government website and apply for school assistance.

-- First generation students usually have a lot of services available to them as well. Check with your local vocational center/ online scholarships/ local non-profits... fill out as many as you can!

How to pick a school in your budget

  • Local/ In-State (always the least expensive option).

  • Community college vs University

  • Scholarship opportunities- explore all options, apply to as many as you can. Treat it like a full time job.

  • Length of program (some offer accelerated if you already have a degree or certificate in the field)

  • Total cost, -- not just per credit fees, there’s a lot of additional fees you need to make sure you add into the cost of the program.

  • Compare/ contrast/ consider all options

Scholarships/ grants/ work study (free money)

  • PELL Grant/ State Grants- fill out a FAFSA first!

  • Must maintain SAP for the school (don’t withdraw or fail out a certain percentage of classes)

  • Take all summer the year before to fill out scholarships  (every dollar helps)

  • Seek employment / volunteer work that offers educational assistance/ tuition reimbursement

  • Student loans as an absolute LAST resort (if even at all), then only the minimum amount needed to complete the term (why a budget first is so very important)

-- Be very careful with these

Good Luck! I know you can do this!

My Budgeting Tools



Excel Template 1

Excel Template 2