Admissions and Financial Aid are important steps for all new students who wish to enroll in our nursing programs in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Mistakes to avoid when completing your Financial Aid

why get a bsn
 

The financial aid process can be confusing and stressful sometimes. It’s like taxes: necessary, but painful. We know that as nursing students, you have enough stress in your lives already, so here are some hints about what NOT to do, to help you through financial aid.

 

Not completing the FAFSA  

“It’s important that you get that done in a timely manner, and don’t put that off,” said Jennifer Morris, our Financial Aid Manager. Recently, the FAFSA process has been simplified by allowing you to use your previous year’s tax information to complete it. For example, for this upcoming school year, 2018-2019, you would use your tax information from 2016.

 

Getting your FAFSA done in a timely manner is also important. FAFSA is usually available to complete in the fall, a year before the year you are applying for aid, and applying for it as soon as possible is a good idea. The earlier the better, but as a guideline, you should complete your FAFSA no later than early spring before the award year. For example, for the 2018-2019 school year, FAFSA was available to complete in October of 2017, but the latest you should probably apply for it is about March of 2018. Applying for the aid early allows time for correction and review.

 

Not completing the FAFSA correctly

Filling out your FAFSA, especially for the first time, can be overwhelming. Sometimes the fields can be complicated, and you’re not really sure what you should put in. One helpful tip is that when you hover over a field with your cursor, a ‘helps and hints’ box appears on the side, explaining what they are asking for. Pay close attention to those hints!

 

Filling out the FAFSA incorrectly may lead to too much or too little aid, which can both be a problem. But our Financial Aid Department is always willing to help. If you haven’t ever filled out a FAFSA before, or you’re confused about how to fill it out, they can help you over the phone or meet over skype to walk you through each field. Simply schedule an appointment with a Financial Aid Advisor and they will talk you through it, comb your hair, and bring you a warm glass of milk (not really, but you get the idea).

 

Not completing financial aid documents

For those just getting back to school,  it can be even more confusing. Financial aid documents, releases, disclosures, and receipts galore. The Financial Aid team works very hard to make it as easy as possible for our learners to complete all these forms. It is important for learners to electronically sign all the documents from the Financial Aid team, and to get the documents back on time so we can meet not only our deadlines but your deadlines as well.

 

Ignoring emails from the financial aid team

We know this sounds like a no-brainer, but with the amount of learners who are ignoring our emails, we really have no choice to include it (we will find you, email ignorers). Many learners think that the emails are for all the learners, and doesn’t apply to them specifically. They know that they have turned in their documents so they ignore the messages. Very bad idea! We’ll say this one time: you won’t be getting any emails from financial aid if your financial aid is ready to go.

 

Not applying for scholarships

Scholarships also seem like a no-brainer. If you can get some help with tuition costs, why not look into it? Don’t miss this opportunity to get some needed help. There are scholarships for minorities, women, men, undergrads, married people, people with kids, people in the sciences (all of you), and many, many more. Visit our financial aid page for a full list of scholarships and resources.

 

We hope that Nightingale College learners will know that although it’s stressful, we are doing our best. We are here for you. If you have any questions about financial aid, the financial aid department would be happy to speak with you over email or by phone, simply email financialaid@nightingale.edu or call 801-689-2160.

Popular Admissions Questions and Answers

Popular admissions questions

Let’s get down to it: do you know what questions to ask during an Admissions interview? Our Admissions team gets bombarded with questions daily and despite their uncanny ability to answer questions quickly, some questions can be answered simply by doing minor research. However, don’t let that discourage you from asking questions when you are given the opportunity. Knowing what to ask is important when considering such a big step as enrolling in nursing school. So, avoid the mistake of assumption and ask those questions. But, please do some research. The answer may already be available to you. Hence why we decided to throw together our most popular Admissions questions and answers. (Don’t forget to check out the bonus article at the end, Tips to Prepare You for Your Admissions Meeting.

When asked what the more popular Admissions questions and answers were, our advisors gave us the top questions most often asked and the correct answers.

Popular Admissions (and Financial Aid) Questions and Answers

  1. Will my previous college courses transfer over? And what general education credits does Nightingale College require?

This is a great question and made number one on our list of popular Admissions questions. Accepting college credit from another institution is done on a case-by-case basis. Sit down with an Admissions Advisor and request that your transcript be reviewed early in the admissions process to see what courses will transfer. For future reference, transfer credit is only determined by the receiving institution; we can’t guarantee the institution will accept the credits. The same goes for us. At the end of your time with the College and if you pursue higher education at another institution, you will be curious to see if your credits transfer to another school. Unfortunately, we can’t determine that for the institution and you will need to contact the receiving institution for information.

To enroll in our program, we require credits in Human Anatomy (4 semester credits), Human Physiology (4 semester credits), Pathophysiology (3 semester credits), English (3 semester credits), Algebra (3 semester credits), and Social Science (3 semester credits).

To learn more about what is required to enroll in our ADN Program, check out our Program Plan by clicking here. Already an RN who is ready to advance their education? View our Admissions Requirements for the RN-to-BSN Program by clicking here.

  1. I haven’t taken any college courses. Do I need to take my general education courses elsewhere and transfer the credits to Nightingale College’s program?

It seems we have a pattern among questions. If you have wondered about GE courses, don’t worry. You are not alone. Making number two on our list is for potential learners who come to the College with no previous college experience. We don’t want you going anywhere else to receive your education, so to help alleviate the stress with choosing a school to attend for GEs then dealing with the hassle of transferring credit, you can complete all your GE requirements with Nightingale College. Visit with an Admissions Advisor to learn more.

  1. Is Nightingale’s program completely online? How does that work with labs and clinicals?

Let’s focus first on the ADN Program. No. The program is not completely online. Our ADN Program is a blend of online and on-ground learning experiences. Courses have an online component filled with modules and lectures, discussions, and homework assignments. Once reaching Level I in the program, simulation labs and clinicals become part of the courses, which cannot be completed online. To give each learner real world experience, learners participate in assigned local, on-ground simulation labs supervised by a qualified faculty member. Our labs include high-fidelity mannequins that simulate various illnesses that challenge learners to interact with a patient. Additionally, learners attend local clinicals at health care centers in the community.

Our RN-to-BSN Program is for working RNs looking to further their nursing education and advance their degree level. The program is online and can be completed within your community. Our Capstone Leadership and Community Health Projects fall under the clinical requirements but can be done in your community and at your place of employment. Check out our Capstone Leadership Project by clicking here. Our Capstone Leadership Project is unique in that its employer focused. In other words, you get the opportunity to work alongside your employer to solve a problem within the facility. Are you ready to stand out among your coworkers as a nursing leader? We are ready to help you be prepared.

  1. What about financial aid? What do you offer as far as resources?

Landing at number four on our most popular Admissions questions is concerning financial aid. Nightingale College receives Title IV Federal Financial Aid, which allows us to accept financial assistance such as the FAFSA. We know how expensive nursing school is so we accept veteran’s funding, private student loans, and tuition reimbursement among others. Each new learner is required to meet with our Financial Aid Department. During this time, our Financial Aid Advisors will help you navigate federal funding, scholarships, loans, and other financial aid resources. Financial aid is done on an individual basis so take the time to learn the ins and outs of the resources available to you.

For our ADN Program graduates, we offer an Alumni Tuition Waiver that discounts $50 per semester credit when you enroll into our RN-to-BSN Program. Don’t forget to chat with your Financial Aid Advisor about it.

  1. What is meant by lab assignments?

Before going too far into the admissions process, your specific lab assignment will be determined. Now, don’t get overwhelmed. The term “lab assignment” is our way of defining the lab which you will attend in your local area for simulation labs. As you already know, a portion of the course is taught online, giving you the ability to complete the ADN Program without the need to move away to attend school. But to gain the necessary skills and hands-on experience needed to become a nurse, simulation labs are critical to your development. Your Admissions Advisor will look at your place of residence and enroll you in a local lab assignment (where the College has been approved to deliver its education) with the goal of keeping you as close to home as possible.

  1. Isn’t financial aid free?

This question is better addressed in a video from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office.

Tips to Prepare You for Your Admissions Meeting

After reading the popular Admissions questions, now it is time to prep you for your Admissions meeting. Being prepared for your Admissions meeting is important, and just like doing your homework prior to the meeting, have questions ready to go, be attentive, and show you are ready to become a nurse.

  • Come prepared with questions and comments. While doing your research to learn more about the program of interest, keep a piece of paper nearby to jot down questions and comments. Having a little reminder such as quick notes can help meeting with an Admissions Advisor more effective and efficient. As you continue to research more, you may find the answer yourself and can scratch the question off of your list.
  • Dress professionally/appropriately. Although your first meeting with an Admissions Advisor may not be your official nursing school interview, it is important to dress appropriately. Show that you are taking the decision to enroll in nursing school seriously and part of that commitment is dressing the part. Skip the jeans and leave the sneakers and tank tops at home. Opt for a nice pair of pants, dress shoes (ladies, flats or heels, the choice is yours), and a nice top.
  • Don’t bring your whole family. It is nice to see that you cherish your family. However, bringing additional people, whether family or friends, to your Admissions meeting can be distracting for both you and the Admissions Advisor. Ease your stress of placating those around you by peeling away from your family and friends for an hour to two to meet with the Admissions Advisor.
  • Don’t fabricate your answers. The main goal of the Admissions meeting is to allow the Admissions Advisor to assess what is needed for you to enroll. Admissions Advisors need answers to specific questions about your educational history. Don’t steal time away by telling a falsehood to any question. Be open and honest during your Admissions meeting. If you are unsure of how to answer a question, it is okay to ask the Advisor to clarify or simply say “I don’t know.” Although, if you do say “I don’t know,” follow up by asking how you can find the answer or how you plan to reconnect with the Advisor once you find the answer.
  • Understand the deadlines involved. There are definite deadlines that need to be met when going through the Admissions process. The Advisor will explain the process step by step during your meeting. This is no time to slack off. To help you remember deadlines, ask for a printout of the deadlines, write them down on a paper (because you are prepared and brought some additional paper and pen), or schedule them in your phone. It is easy to overlook the deadlines once the Admissions meeting is over. But you are committed to enrolling in a nursing program, so we are sure you won’t forget. As a heads up, make your’s and your Advisor’s job a bit simpler by being on top of deadlines.
  • Be responsible for your success. The Admissions process can be lengthy. Knowing your deadlines is just as important as being responsible for staying in contact with your Admissions Advisor. Your advisor is there to help you along the enrollment process and will try hard to remind you of your deadlines and materials need. However, it is up to you to stay in contact with your advisor. When questions come up after the Admissions meeting, pick up the phone and give your Admissions Advisor a call. We want you to get all of the required information in as soon as possible, so you can start preparing for the first semester.
  • Prepare your answers to two questions. You will be asked several questions to allow the Admissions Advisor to get to know you and your motivation for enrolling in the program. Part of an Admissions Advisor’s job is to gauge the interest level of any potential learner and to determine whether the individual possesses the skills and determination to be successful in nursing school. As you have already understood, nursing school is challenging and it is the role of the Admissions Advisor to assess the potential learner. No matter how many questions you will be asked, you will be asked two straight forward questions that having a prepared answer for or at least an idea will help: 1) why are you interested in enrolling in our nursing program and 2) why are you interested in being a nurse. Take some time to dive in deep to the reasons why you chose the school and the profession.

We are excited to see your interest in becoming a nurse and are privileged to know that you have taken significant interest in our nursing programs. Our Admissions Advisors are your advocates throughout the enrollment process and are specialists in the Admissions process. Come to your Admissions meeting excited and with an optimistic attitude to learn more about the program. If you have additional questions or concerns after meeting with your Admissions Advisor, don’t hesitate to send a quick email or jump on the phone for a few minutes.  Our number one goal when you come to Admissions is to ensure you are fully aware of what is required and needed to enroll and be successful in the nursing program.

Money Management for Learners

Money managementMoney management is always a hot topic and there are various strategies for managing finances and setting a budget floating around the Internet. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Money management is unique to everyone. It can be challenging managing your money when you are a full-time learner.  Some learners may have a job while balancing school, but many learners do not work. Learners who work and don’t work should both be conscious of how their money is being divided and work to set a budget. It’s time to position yourself in the right direction in terms of finances. Don’t live paycheck to paycheck after graduation.

Money management and learning the art of budgeting, along with other focuses, is a service our Learner Advising and Life Resources Department (LALR) offers to learners. Nursing school is a big investment. We know that with such an investment, our learners should be provided with resources to help manage their finances. Not only is money management a skill that is necessary while in school but long after you have graduated.

For more information about money management for learners, contact the LALR Department.

Tips for Money Management

Here are a few tips and a few websites that will help you manage your money while in school that you can continue to use later after graduation.

Set a budget. As mentioned, a specific budget will not work for everyone. Even a budget that you are using may need tweaking here and there to adjust to the new priorities you have set. A budget is meant to allocate your money to your top priorities first, including savings. We suggest the 50/20/30 budget rule.

Here is the 50/20/30 budgeting rule:

50% of your income is for fixed or essential spending (like rent, food, student loans, etc.)

20% of your income is for savings or paying off debt

30% of your income is for flexible spending (like phone, gas, entertainment, etc.)

To learn more about the 50/20/30 budgeting rule, ask the LALR Department or click here to view an article by Mint, an Intuit product.

Set your priorities. According to the 50/20/30 budgeting rule, fifty percent of your income should be directed at essentials (or priorities). Take a few minutes to jot down the essential spends that you have. Be very careful to only include what is necessary in your life such as rent and food.

Always have an emergency fund. When setting a budget, many people forget to include an emergency fund. An emergency fund goes beyond what is included in your savings account. Always set some of your income aside for your emergency fund. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.

Stay on top of your budget and finances. How often do you check your bank statements? Make it a routine to check the status of your bank accounts at least once a week to every two weeks. It is easy to manage your money when you are fully aware of what you are spending on. Understanding where your money goes also gives you the ability to determine areas that you can cut back. It could be as simple as one or two less coffees a week or as impactful as cutting back in one area to pay more on a loan. You are able to make wiser decisions when you are knowledgeable of what is going on with your finances.

Work on paying off your debt. Paying off debt goes without saying, but it should be included in your essentials list. Depending on the amount of income you have allotted to pay specific debts, getting debt off your plate is a top goal.

Here are some tips to pay off debt and save at the same time:

  1. Eliminate any non-essential expenses
  2. Figure out exactly how much money you owe
  3. Create a new budget (using the 50/20/30 rule)
  4. Decide what percentage you want to put towards the debt. Maybe you will use 10% for debt and 10% for savings.
  5. Make it automatic. Set this up through your bank so that you don’t even have to think about it each month.

Eight Frugal Habits to Live By

Living frugal means being resourceful and smart with your money. Are you frugal with your money?

Here are eight frugal habits to live by:

  1. Think long term. Is this something that you would still want in 5 years?
  2. Pay your future self, first (saving is key!)
  3. Use everything to the last drop
  4. Look for deals and clip coupons
  5. Cook food at home rather than going out
  6. Don’t shop for entertainment
  7. Use a credit card with good rewards
  8. Carry just enough cash with you so you don’t over spend

Additional Resources

Along with the tips we have provided, there are several resources available to use such as BalanceTrack and MyMoney. If you have questions regarding the validity of a money management site, ask us and we can direct you in the right direction. Until then, check out these two sites by clicking the links below.

BalanceTrack: This website is a free short course that teaches you the core concepts of money management.  This course will teach you how to set goals, get organized, track spending, build a budget, and save money. Click here to head on over to the site.

MyMoney: This website has financial aid counseling, money management resources, online counseling,  budget calculators, and helps you navigate through the student loan process. Click here to check out the site.

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Insider Tips on How to Get Started with Financial Aid

financial aid

Starting college can be intimidating, especially when it comes to discussing personal financial situations and educational funding options. The costs associated with enrolling in college can make some people very nervous, and there is nothing worse than starting school and being stressed about finances.

Nightingale College’s Financial Aid department is here to help in any way possible. Not only is it our job to help, but we love helping you and there is no such thing as a stupid question. So make the most of it when you meet with Financial Aid and keep your ears open and ask a lot of questions. The financial aid process can be daunting and you are receiving so much information all at once, but it is your responsibility to speak up if there is something you don’t understand. We don’t know that you need help to better understand the financial options and requirements unless you tell us.

It’s true that not everyone knows how to budget or how to tackle their finances, but don’t let it worry you or change your focus of getting a degree. There are many, many tools available to help you along the financial aid process, but one of the most important tools is the services that the school provides you, such as the Financial Aid department.

Creating Your In-School Budget

A tool that is provided to all learners is the Imagine America-Financial Planning Made Simple tutorial. Learning how to budget prior to making any official financial commitments is essential; plus, it is a requirement to complete the tutorial before meeting with a Financial Aid Advisor. It is always important to review your current financial situation before engaging in any future financial commitment. The Imagine America tutorial illustrates the “bigger picture” of budgeting and introduces concepts from a different perspective.

Below is a list of websites with tools to assist you with creating an in-school budget:

The publication “Be a Responsible Borrower: Plan Ahead and Graduate with Less Debt,” is an additional resource that breaks down how to be on top of college finances and provides tips on how to decrease the debt left after graduation. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/responsible-borrower.pdf

Options to Pay for School

Consider the various financial opportunities to fund your education and choose carefully regarding college financing. Please don’t limit yourself to just one possibility. It takes time and energy to look for financial help, so BE PROACTIVE and DETERMINED. Financial aid opportunities are endless. Here are a few financial options that are available to eligible applicants; however, keep in mind that there are more possibilities than those listed below:

  • Federal Student Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans)
  • Grants (Federal Pell Grants, State Grants, Minority Grants, Student Specific Grants)
  • Scholarships- View Nightingale College’s scholarships
  • Third Party Loans (MACU, personal bank)
  • Savings account
  • Official benefactors
  • Income Tax credits (The American Opportunity Tax Credit, Life Time Learning Credit)

Federal Student Aid

Choosing the route of applying for federal student aid is a great start. So, what can you expect when applying for federal student aid?

  • You will be required to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Not everyone is eligible for Federal Pell Grants or Federal Student Loans.
  • You will be required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Requirements (SAP). (SAP is defined in the Nightingale College Catalog)
  • You will need to renew your FAFSA each year that you will be receiving aid.
  • You will be required to complete Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note to receive Federal Student Loans. (Please see the Loan Counseling (LC) and Master Promissory Note (MPN) directions that are available on the Nightingale website under Financial Aid)
  • The importance of loan counseling is to help you understand what a direct loanis and how the loan process works. Additionally, loan counseling helps you manage your education expenses and lists your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. (For more information on loan counseling, visit FSA’s website.)
  • The importance of a Master Promissory Note is to ensure your promise in repaying your loans and any accrued interest or fees. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan. (For more information on Master Promissory Note, visit FSA’s website.)

Questions that You Should be Asking Regarding Your Student Loans

When coming to talk with financial aid, have questions ready to go. Sometimes it is difficult to think of questions on the spot, so it is beneficial to have at least a few questions outlined. Check out some of the questions learners have asked the Financial Aid Department:

  • What type of loan am I receiving?
  • What is the interest rate on my student loan?
  • How is interest calculated?
  • When do I need to start making payments on my student loan?
  • What are my repayment options?
  • Can I make payments while I am in school?

The Financial Aid Department is here to steer you in the right direction. Don’t be deterred by false information that can be found online or is given to you by a friend. When a question arises, stop by and let us get you the right answer.

Visit Nightingale College’s Financial Aid page at http://nightingale.edu/financial-aid/ and the Scholarships page at http://nightingale.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-2/.

Remember to frequently meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to stay current on your individual financial status so you don’t fall behind on payments. Call (801) 689-2160 to make an appointment.

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Admissions Made Easy: Meet Stacie McVay

If you are a learner here, you’ve probably met Stacie McVay, one of our Admissions Advisors. As a  powerhouse in Admissions, she is dedicated to helping each learner and prospective learner find their way in nursing school. Nursing school is tough, but Stacie is a great champion to have supporting you from orientation to graduation. […]

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It’s Easy to Renew Your FAFSA

fafsa Every year students need to renew their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the 2016-2017 year. Dealing with financial aid can seem tricky and complicated at times, but it is important to stay on top of the deadlines associated with the 2016-2017 FAFSA. Now is the time to renew your FAFSA so don’t wait! To qualify for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA applications must be completed and submitted by June 30, 2016. Follow the guidelines and steps below that will help make the FAFSA Renewal process as stress-free as possible. The Financial Aid Department is here to help at any point during the process. Make an appointment with a Financial Aid Advisor now to get assistance: (801) 689-2160. Start renewing your FAFSA by visiting the Federal Student Aid website.

Who needs to fill out the 2016-2017 FAFSA? You need to fill out the 2016-2017 FAFSA if you will be attending Nightingale College during the Summer Semester that starts May 2, 2016 and the semesters following.  The Summer Semester falls under the 2016-2017 FAFSA timeframe so don’t let the dates confuse you.

When does the 2016-2017 FAFSA begin? The 2016-2017 FAFSA begins on July 1, 2016.

How does the FAFSA correlate with my taxes? It is advisable to hold off on your 2016-2017 FAFSA until you have completed your 2015 Federal Tax Return because you will need the correct financial information from 2015.

I don’t know if I should fill it out. If you are unsure whether you need to fill out the 2016-2017 FAFSA, do so anyways or speak with a Financial Aid Advisor who will be able to guide you in the right direction.

What happens if I do not have my FAFSA completed by the deadline? You may not qualify for Federal Student Aid for the following semesters:

  • Summer Semester: May 2, 2016 – August 19, 2016
  • Fall Semester: August 29, 2016 – December 16, 2016
  • Spring Semester: January 2, 2017 – April 21, 2017
  • Summer Semester: May 1, 2017 – August 18, 2017

How do I complete the FAFSA? Completing the FAFSA isn’t as complicated as one may think. If you have already completed the 2015-2016 FAFSA, your information will automatically be transferred to the 2016-2017 FAFSA. If this is your first time completing the FAFSA, you will need to start a new FAFSA. Visit FAFSA.ed.gov to get started.

What about my FAFSA ID number? Don’t forget to remember your FAFSA ID number and keep that information private. Do not share your FAFSA ID number with anyone. However, if you do forget your FAFSA ID number, you’re not alone. You can easily reset it by visiting the website and either receiving the reset password link through email or by providing personal information.