How To Save Money on Nurse Practitioner School

Embarking on the journey to become a nurse practitioner (NP) is a noble pursuit that promises a rewarding career in healthcare. However, the cost of education can be a significant barrier for many aspiring NPs. Fortunately, with careful planning and strategic financial management, it’s possible to minimize the financial burden associated with NP school.

One of the most common question I often get asked as a nurse practitioner is “Is it worth it?

In this guide, we’ll explore practical tips and strategies to help you pay less for nurse practitioner school, from saving up and applying for scholarships to utilizing second-hand books, living below your means, increasing income, and exploring side hustles within the nursing profession.

I also wrote an article for Nurse.Org that covers this topic: Read Pros and Cons of Going to Nurse Practitioner School

Saving Up

Saving money for NP school requires discipline and a well-defined plan. Here are some steps to get started:

  • Establish a budget: Calculate your expenses and set a realistic monthly budget that includes savings for tuition, fees, and living expenses. One of the things that is essential to budgeting is tracking your income and expenses

I use Empower (Formerly Personal Capital): Click here to download this app

  • Set saving goals: Determine how much you need to save for NP school and set specific savings goals with deadlines to keep yourself accountable.
  • Automate savings: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a dedicated savings account to ensure consistent contributions.
  • Cut unnecessary expenses: Identify areas where you can trim your spending, such as dining out less frequently, cancelling unused subscriptions, or finding cheaper alternatives for everyday items.
  • Consider a part-time job: Taking on a part-time job or freelancing can provide additional income to boost your savings for NP school.

Applying for Scholarships

Scholarships are a valuable resource for reducing the cost of NP school. Here’s how to increase your chances of securing scholarships:

  • Research scholarship opportunities: Explore scholarship programs offered by professional associations, healthcare organizations, universities, and private foundations.
  • Tailor your applications: Customize your scholarship applications to highlight your academic achievements, professional goals, and commitment to the nursing profession.
  • Meet application deadlines: Stay organized and submit your scholarship applications ahead of the deadlines to ensure you don’t miss out on opportunities.
  • Apply for multiple scholarships: Cast a wide net and apply for as many scholarships as possible to maximize your chances of receiving financial assistance.

Utilizing Second-Hand Books

Textbooks can be a significant expense for NP students, but there are ways to save money on course materials:

  • Buy used books: Look for second-hand textbooks online, at campus bookstores, or through student forums and classified ads.
  • Rent textbooks: Consider renting textbooks for courses that you won’t need beyond a single semester to save money on upfront costs.
  • Explore digital options: E-books and online resources may be available at a lower cost than physical textbooks, and they often offer additional features such as search functionality and interactive quizzes.

Living Below Your Means

Adopting a frugal lifestyle can help you stretch your budget further and reduce the financial strain of NP school:

  • Choose affordable housing: Opt for cost-effective housing options such as shared apartments, renting a room, or living with family members to lower your monthly rent or mortgage payments.
  • Cook at home: Prepare meals at home instead of dining out to save money on food expenses. Meal planning and buying groceries in bulk can further reduce costs.
  • Use public transportation: If feasible, rely on public transportation, carpooling, or cycling instead of owning a car to save on transportation expenses such as fuel, insurance, and maintenance.
  • Prioritize essential expenses: Differentiate between needs and wants, and prioritize spending on essential items such as healthcare, education, and basic necessities.

Increasing Income

Finding ways to boost your income can provide additional financial flexibility during NP school:

  • Pursue higher-paying nursing roles: Consider advancing your nursing career by pursuing certifications or specializing in high-demand areas that offer higher salaries, such as acute care or nurse anesthesia.
  • Negotiate salary and benefits: When applying for nursing positions or accepting job offers, negotiate your salary and benefits package to ensure you’re compensated fairly for your skills and experience.
  • Take on overtime shifts: If your schedule allows, pick up extra shifts or overtime opportunities to earn additional income.
  • Explore per diem or travel nursing: Per diem and travel nursing assignments often offer higher pay rates and may include housing and travel allowances, making them lucrative options for increasing your income temporarily.

Side Hustles for Nurses

Nurses possess valuable skills that can be leveraged for various side hustles to generate extra income:

  • Tutoring: Offer tutoring services to nursing students or individuals preparing for licensure exams, leveraging your expertise in healthcare and nursing education.
  • Medical transcription: Explore opportunities for medical transcription, converting voice recordings of healthcare professionals into written reports.
  • Home healthcare services: Provide home healthcare services to patients in need of assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, or wound care.
  • Telehealth consultations: Join telehealth platforms as an independent contractor to conduct remote consultations and provide medical advice to patients from the comfort of your home.

READ: 5 Side Hustles as a Nurse to Achieve Financial Freedom


Pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner is an admirable endeavor, but the cost of education can present a significant financial challenge. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, including saving up, applying for scholarships, utilizing second-hand books, living below your means, increasing income, and exploring side hustles within the nursing profession, you can effectively reduce the financial burden of NP school and achieve your academic and professional goals without breaking the bank. With careful planning and perseverance, you can make your dream of becoming an NP a reality while maintaining financial stability and security.

Type in the comment if you are contemplating on going back to school as a Nurse Practitioner

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