Paying for CNA Education
Few healthcare students can pay for their training out of pocket. Though CNA education is relatively affordable, it will still cost you around $1300 to $3000. If you need help covering those costs, there are a few options available for you:
Employer-Covered CNA Training
Some hospitals provide tuition-reimbursement and full-time employment to aspiring CNAs. This allows you to complete your education while securing a job right after graduation. The only drawback is that you have to commit to the organization for a specific amount of time or face penalties.
You can avail of a number of student loans offered by the government or private loaning firms. This is one of the most common and quickest ways to fund higher education. The one major drawback is interest. By the time you complete your program, you might be dealing with an interest in the range of 4-11%. Though the rates are fixed and lower than most other loans, this is still something worth considering.
Because of the importance of CNAs in the healthcare industry, certain organizations may reimburse the costs for education. For example, Medicare/Medicaid facilities are legally obligated to cover the costs of their employee’s CNA training. If you are employed by a Medicare/Medicaid-covered facility prior to your program completion or within twelve months of it, they will reimburse either your entire tuition or a portion of the cost. Certain YMCA/YWCA associations may also pay off your nursing aide program. These are just a few examples of such sponsorships.
Every year, the Federal Government provides billions of dollars of grants to students in need. If you can avail of one, you will secure financial assistance without any debt or repayment.
Many of these grants specialize in supporting certain groups of people such as racial minorities, women or other marginalized demographics. To find grants available in your area, check your state’s Department of Labor. You can find programs applicable to you by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at FAFSA.ed.gov. This determines your expected family contribution and the grants and scholarships you qualify for.
Similar to grants, scholarships let institutions cover your tuition free of charge. Some are government sponsored, while others are offered by private institutions like universities. While grants focus on financial need, eligibility for a scholarship is merit-based. This usually means scoring a certain amount in the admissions test, or maintaining a GPA above a certain threshold.
Your school's office of financial aid can help you find grants or scholarships you can qualify for. Scholarships also appear on the FAFSA site and application. Alternatively, you can also make use of certain scholarship websites that let you search from a wide database of financial aid programs. This is more time consuming, but you can find a program that best suits your circumstances with enough time.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Grants Act
Formerly known as the Workforce Investment Act, this federal program offers financial assistance to out-of-school youths, adults and dislocated workers who were terminated by their previous employer and unlikely to return to their previous industry. You can learn more about the qualifications here. Eligible CNA programs receive funding from the WIOA for the sake of financial assistance. You can find eligible programs by consulting your school’s office of financial aid or searching on the WIOA website.