Achieving your BSN at No Cost
Research ranks money, as one of the biggest barriers as why ADN and diploma nurses are saying they are not completing their BSN. It is possible to complete your degree and do it with no money out of pocket.
Does your facility offer a tuition reimbursement program? If you are unsure, call your human resource department or speak to your department manager. Review the policy, qualifications, and frequency of eligibility. Our facility offers $2,500 a calendar year toward a BSN. Spreading classes out over a few calendar years make it possible to acquire $10,000 in less than 30 months toward your degree. For example, starting in the fall of 2016, can mean $2500 in 2016, 2017, 2018 and the spring of 2019 will mean $10,000 in tuition reimbursement in less than 30 months.
Does your facility have partnerships with any BSN programs? If you are unsure, ask. If your facility does not currently have any, ask your nursing administration to consider signing agreements. This can mean a percentage off your tuition costs or delayed payment until after class if tuition reimbursement eligible depending on the agreement. Our facility has several partnerships averaging 10% discount off tuition.
Tax benefits are available for undergraduate degrees. Potential for $1000 tax return for four years can be found at https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/AOTC Tax credit but will not provide refund at https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/LLC and 529 savings programs are also available for a tax advantage.
Research scholarships your facility or BSN program may offer. The time investment is certainly worth the reward.
Ebooks are used for some programs and in some cases are included as part of the tuition costs. For those programs where you need to purchase books, consider used or renting. In some cases renting may be cheaper, in the next class you may find a used book for almost no cost. Shop around for the best value. Some of the more popular sites include amazon.com, halfebay.com, chegg.com, or bookrenter.com.
Challenging classes or taking a CLEP or DSST for credit is another economical option. For an elective, an advisor recommended a "Here's to your Health" test for any nurse looking for an elective. It was a three-credit exam, cost $100, and I was able to complete it in under an hour.
Finally, the financial reward should be a consideration. A recent classmate exclaimed, "Our facility only gives us $1.00 and hour more for a BSN". Only? If you were to receive a $1.00 more an hour for achieving your BSN, that is $2,000 a year for a full time employee. Over ten years, that is $20,000. In most cases, this would more than pay for your education while at the same time increasing your marketability and earning potential. When you consider the big picture, can you afford not to achieve your BSN?
Beth Hogan MSN, RN, CNOR, CRN