Your Guide to Financial Aid for Second-Degree Nursing Students

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (866) 892-3819.

Closeup of stethoscope and calculator

Want to apply to our 16-month ABSN program but not sure you can afford it? It’s a valid concern. After all, you’ve already paid for college once, so the cost of a bachelor’s degree in nursing probably seems intimidating. With the right planning, however, it just might be one of the wisest investments you’ll ever make. Let this post be your guide to financial aid for second-degree nursing students and transfer nursing students.

Why Choose a Nursing Career?

Before getting into your financial aid options, we wanted to highlight the value that comes with graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and starting a nursing career. Nursing is much more than a job, offering a chance to make a difference in people’s lives every day. You’ll get to start a career with meaning as well as professional advantages including:

  • Purposeful work of caring for others
  • In-demand career with job stability
  • Comfortable salary
  • Variety in work
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Growth and advancement opportunities

Why Choose Northeastern’s ABSN Program?

Known for our innovative curriculum and experiential learning opportunities, Northeastern makes sure our students step outside of the classroom to further develop their knowledge and skills in the real world. U.S. News and World Report ranked Northeastern:

In other words, by choosing Northeastern, you’re not just investing in a quality nursing education, you’re also getting clinical experiences that will put you at the top of your game. We take great pride in our ability to graduate nurse leaders who go out and make a difference in the world.

Northeastern University ABSN student studying with text book

In terms of our ABSN program, which has site locations in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll find that we’re a top choice among students for a variety of reasons, including our:

  • Straightforward admissions process paired with personalized support.
  • Supportive faculty who provide innovative learning experiences.
  • Outstanding healthcare partners that offer diverse clinical placements.
  • Three start dates a year with a high enrollment capacity per start.

Is a Second-Degree Nursing Program Worth it?

If your goal is to accelerate your nursing career, a second-degree and transfer nursing program is definitely worth it. You just have to make sure the ABSN program is accredited and that you’re ready to take on a rigorous, full-time education.

When it comes to our accredited ABSN program, you can expect a blended education format that combines online coursework with hands-on nursing labs and clinical rotations. Together, these learning components provide the academic foundation and real-world experience you need to:

  • Sit for the NCLEX-RN® licensure exam with confidence.
  • Deliver quality, compassionate care to diverse patient populations.
  • Apply sound clinical judgment in complex patient care situations.
  • Understand and apply ethical standards in nursing practice.
  • Work as an effective member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.

Federal Direct Loans

Given the various low-interest loan options available through the U.S. Department of Education, we encourage you, no matter your income level, to apply for financial aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—it’s the only way to know what type of loan you’re qualified to receive.

Federal Direct SubsidizedEligible undergraduates who demonstrate financial need.Interest starts to accrue after a student graduates from or leaves school.
Federal Direct UnsubsidizedEligible undergraduates regardless of financial need.Interest starts to accrue after the first loan disbursement occurs.
Parent PLUSEligible parents of dependent undergraduate students.Borrowing parent must have a good credit history and apply for the loan every year.

To be eligible for federal student financial aid, you must be:

  • Accepted into a degree program.
  • Enrolled in at least six credit hours per term.
  • A U.S. citizen in good financial standing.
  • Registered for Selective Service, if required.


You must complete a FAFSA every school year within federal, state, and university deadlines. If you’re a second-degree student filling out the FAFSA for the Boston or Charlotte ABSN program, here are some details you’ll need to know:

  • School code: 002199
  • Grade level: Fifth year/other undergraduate
  • Degree type: Second bachelor’s degree
  • Graduate/professional program: No

If you’re a transfer student completing the FAFSA for the Charlotte ASBN program, refer to this information:

  • School code: 002199
  • Grade level: Third year (if credits 60-89 credits transferred), or fourth year (if 90+ credits transferred)
  • Degree type: First bachelor’s degree
  • Graduate/professional program: No

Private Loans

More times than not, federal student aid will not cover the total cost of attending our ABSN program. Therefore, it’s a good idea to research private lenders, such as banks or credit unions, and try to borrow from an institution with low-interest rates and good terms.

With private loans, you can choose a fixed interest rate (stays the same) or a variable interest rate (fluctuates). It’s also a good idea to see what type of borrower protection a lender offers, such as flexible repayment plans or payment deferral.

Furthermore, because private loans are credit-based, it’s important to know your credit score. If you have poor credit, you’re likely to pay a higher interest rate than you would with a federal loan. You may even need a co-signer on your loan.

Once you’ve decided on a private lender, contact our Student Financial Services Office to make sure you understand loan periods and how they relate to the semester and yearly limits on private loan certifications. The office can also assist you in calculating the loan amount you’ll need to finance your nursing degree.

Loan Limits

Before applying for a private loan, you should complete a FAFSA to see if you have any remaining federal student loan eligibility. It’s a good idea to exhaust your federal student loan limits before applying for a private loan. Also, make sure you get accepted into nursing school before asking to borrow money.

Third-Party Scholarships

You can also seek out award-based funding through a third party. Each scholarship follows different criteria, usually reflecting the values and/or purposes of the donor or founder of the award.

Scholarship Search

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • FastWeb
  • NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
  • org/massachusetts
  • org/north-carolina

Your Future in Nursing

Whether you graduate from our ABSN program in Massachusetts or North Carolina, here’s what the nursing profession has in store for you. Take note that several variables influence RN salary, from state of residence to employer type.

  United States Massachusetts North Carolina
Job Growth Registered nurse jobs are expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030.* Registered nurse jobs are expected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028.** Registered nurse jobs are expected to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028.**
Average Salary $77,600* $94,960** $72,220**
Employers Corporate clinics, home healthcare services, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, private practices, military bases, schools, and so on. Plus, there are more than 90 specialty areas of nursing practice.
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021 data
**Source: CareerOneStop

Ready to Earn Your Nursing Degree?

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 62 non-nursing college credits and are interested in learning more about Northeastern University’s 16-month ABSN program, contact our admissions team today! Also, be sure to ask for a free digital copy of our financial aid guide for second-degree students.

Get Your Free ABSN Program Guide

Our ABSN program guide includes everything you need to know about the accelerated path to nursing.

Northeastern University ABSN program guide