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6 Ways You Can Afford to Attend CRNA School

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Figuring out ways to pay for CRNA school can be overwhelming, especially when you have a family, other bills or even loans from your undergraduate degree to think about. The great thing is with the right amount of planning and budgeting you will find a way to afford it.   

Unfortunately, no matter what CRNA school you attend it will likely be more expensive than your undergraduate education. And finding ways to pay for it is a huge concern and quite frankly has stopped many critical care nurses from even applying to CRNA school.

I totally get it- I started CRNA school the same year my oldest son started his freshman year at Liberty University. Some days I look back on it and I have no idea how we pulled it off. But like I always say- where there is a will, there is a way. 

Read: 5 Costs To Expect When Applying To CRNA School

Prior to attending CRNA school I would often say I don’t care how much I have to pay because this is something I want to do. Looking back on it, I should have focused more on finding ways to afford it instead of withdrawing all our money from our 401K and living off student loans.

Don’t get me wrong if you need to rely on student loans then do what you have to do. Remember the average new graduate CRNA salary is around $181,000 per year so you shouldn’t have any problem paying back your student loans if you only borrow what you need to live.  

But with that said, there is no need to be bound by an enormous amount of student loan debt if you don’t have to. So to prevent you feeling anxious just thinking about the cost of attending CRNA school, here are some ways to help you afford it.   

Ways to afford CRNA school

Consider a cheaper CRNA school 

Open up a separate savings account for CRNA school 

  • According to bankrate.com opening a separate savings account is the best way for people to set aside extra cash each month. Having multiple accounts is a great way for you to stay on track as you save for specific goals. When you have money in a savings account it generally earns interest which allows you to save money faster. 

Apply for financial aid early

  • Again the majority of students pay for CRNA school taking out grad plus loans. These loans could be the answer to how you will pay for CRNA school. Once you are accepted into a CRNA program, you need to fill out a FAFSA Application as early as possible in case you need to submit any supplemental documentation. Also applying early lets you see where you stand financially do you plan accordingly. 

Get a second job or take extra shifts 

  • The overarching theme here is to take out as little student loan debt as possible. And another way to avoid this is by getting a second job or working overtime when possible. This is a great idea especially if it will be a few years before starting CRNA school.
  • Some critical care nurses take on travel assignments once accepted into a CRNA program to make extra money. Just be careful taking on travel assignments prior to getting accepted because some CRNA programs view travel assignments as being inconsistent critical care experience. 

Ask your employer to pay for your education 

  • Once you’ve decided for sure you want to be a CRNA, check with human resources to see about any tuition assistance. My co- worker and fellow CRNA, Kathy, even got her employer to pay for her whole education with a 5 year commitment to work there after she graduated from CRNA school. They even paid for her insurance. Do you know how she got the hospital to pay for her education? 
  • All Kathy did was walk into HR and asked if they would pay for her education. Basically, she shared all her accomplishments there as an employee and ICU nurse for years. She had also done her research and knew two of the CRNAs were retiring around the time she would be done with school. And the other thing was it was a small hospital. So she took a chance on asking them and they said YES! This will not work for everyone but it’s something to think about. You have nothing to lose by asking, that’s for sure. 

Apply for grants and scholarships 

  • There are a number of organizations and CRNA programs which offer scholarships and grants to student nurse anesthetists. Check out this site which lists the details and specific requirements. 

Bottom Line

Ideally you want to plan well in advance for the period you will be enrolled in CRNA school and without an income. But for most, saving money that will cover your living expenses plus the cost of attending CRNA school is not attainable. But hopefully with these tips you will find additional ways to make CRNA school more affordable.

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