toothbrush and floss

How to Pay for Dental School

Dental care is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as oral health is connected to health issues in other parts of the body.

The demand for dentists, like other health care professionals, is on the rise, partly due to an aging U.S. population and partly due to more attention on dental health with each generation. The aging population is likely to need additional oral care, some of which can include complicated procedures.

By learning about the average tuition costs and ways to pay for dental school, prospective students can figure out if a dental career is the right choice for their future.

Employment Outlook for Dentists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there to be a 6% increase in available dentist jobs from 2021 to 2031. Dentists can work in a variety of settings, such as in private practice — either on their own or with a partner — or in an outpatient care center, among others.

The median annual salary of a general dentist was $163,220 in 2021. For perspective, the median annual U.S. income in the same year was $70,784.

While dentistry pays well, it also costs a lot to become a dentist. Dental school programs typically take four years to complete after students have already completed a bachelor’s degree. A degree from an accredited dental school will be either a D.D.S. — Doctor of Dental Surgery — or a D.M.D. — Doctor of Dental Medicine.

Individual universities determine which degree is awarded, but they are both approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), a part of the American Dental Association (ADA). Whichever degree a dental graduate is awarded, chances are they may also have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt to contend with after graduation.

How Much Does Dental School Cost?

The range of dental school costs depends on whether a student is in state (resident) or out of state (non-resident), and whether attending a public or private school. In-state public school tuition is typically going to be the least expensive option for most students.

According to the ADA, the average first-year cost of dental school (public or private), including tuition and mandatory fees, in 2021-2022 was $53,601 for residents and $71,742 for non-residents.

The cost difference between public schools and private schools can be substantial. The average resident cost for the first year of a public dental school program was $39,662, while the resident cost for private dental school was $72,271. After four years in school, students are looking at between $158,648 and $289,084 worth of debt, on average.

According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), in 2021, 81% of dental school students graduated with dental school debt. The average debt for a dental school graduate for the same year was $284,855.

Prospective students can compare the cost of dental schools and then determine how much they are willing to pay for their education. According to the ADA, there are 70 accredited dental schools throughout the United States and 10 in Canada.

Ways to Pay for Dental School

Even though dental school tuition can be expensive, students have options when figuring out how to afford it. Students can explore scholarships, grants, fellowships, or service programs to help pay for dental school.

Federal or private student loans are also an option. After graduating from dental school, some borrowers may consider refinancing their student loans as they pay off dental school debt. Continue reading for more details on ways to pay for dental school.

1. Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships and grants are awards that, in most cases, don’t have to be repaid. For students without the means to pay for tuition and other costs from personal savings, exploring these options may be a good place to start.

Dental schools may offer scholarships and grants to students who meet certain academic standards or who are working towards a certain type of degree, for example. When researching dental schools, prospective students may consider asking financial aid offices about available scholarships and grants.

Along with reaching out to schools, students may want to research scholarships and grants through organizations like The American Dental Association, The American Association of Public Health Dentistry, or The American Dental Education Association. There are also a variety of online scholarship search tools that students can use to find scholarships.

Recommended: What Is a Scholarship & How to Get One?

2. Employment

Dental school is rigorous, but if students have the time and energy, they may want to consider working to supplement their educational costs. The Federal Work-Study program is available to graduate and professional students with financial need, and has the same eligibility requirements and position availability as it does for undergraduate students. Financial aid offices at individual schools will have information pertaining to this program.

Training grants and fellowships, an option some dental students might find appealing, are sources of funding that often include a stipend and sometimes cover part of a student’s tuition.

These programs are designed to further a student’s education in a specific research area that interests them. They differ from simple grants in that there is a work component to them.

3. Service Programs

The Bureau of Health Workforce offers scholarships, loans, and loan repayment programs to eligible healthcare students and workers, including those in the dental field. One program, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), provides scholarships to eligible students pursuing degrees in certain health professions.

In exchange for two years of full-time service in an underserved area, recipients will receive one year of scholarship support, up to a limit of four school years. The Bureau of Health Workforce also offers grants to eligible applicants through the Oral Health Workforce Development programs.

Service programs are also offered through the Indian Health Service (IHS). Eligible American Indian and Alaska Native students can apply for the IHS Scholarship, externship programs, or loan repayment programs. Scholarships are available to eligible students in pre-dental programs or for those completing dental school.

Recipients agree to serve a two-year commitment with the IHS. Third-year dental students can choose to apply for an externship, which typically spans two to four weeks, with placement in an Indian health facility. Loan repayment programs are either through the IHS or the NHSC. Both include a service commitment.

Students willing to serve in the military may want to consider programs through the United States Army, Navy, or Air Force. Each branch offers scholarships through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

Military scholarships cover full tuition and other related costs, plus a monthly stipend. Recipients agree to serve on active military duty in exchange for scholarship funds — the number of years varies with the branch and the number of years the student receives the scholarship.

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4. Federal Student Loans

Completing the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is the first step students should take to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. To fill out the form, they will need to provide personal identification and financial records.

Federal student loans for graduate and professional school students are either Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. Students may borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and eligibility is not based on financial need.

If a student has costs in excess of that borrowing limit, they may want to consider a Direct PLUS Loan. Like a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, eligibility for a Direct PLUS Loan is not based on financial need, although a credit check is required.

Students are encouraged to ask the financial aid office at their school about school-based loans that might be available. Some federal funds are offered to schools instead of directly to students and are tied to certain eligibility requirements.

5. Private Student Loans

It’s always recommended that students exhaust all federal student loan options before considering a private student loan. But if there is still a financial need, a private student loan may be the right choice for some students. Private student loans are available from private lenders and are awarded based on factors including your income, credit history, and credit score, among other factors.

Considering Student Loan Refinancing

After graduating, now-dentists may consider refinancing their student loans to secure a more competitive interest rate or more favorable terms. Refinancing also allows borrowers to combine all their loans into a single loan. This won’t be the right choice for all borrowers because when you refinance federal loans you’ll lose access to any federal benefits — like any loan forgiveness options.

Should you refinance your student loans? The answer is personal and will depend on factors including the amount of student debt you currently have, your credit score, income, and whether you are refinancing without a cosigner.

A cosigner is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you are unable to do so for any reason. Adding a cosigner can potentially strengthen your application, allowing you to secure more competitive terms than without the cosigner.

Recommended: Student Loan Refinance Guide

To get an idea of what refinancing could do for your student loans, take a look at SoFi’s student loan refinancing calculator.

The Takeaway

Dental school can be expensive but can lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career. When determining how to pay for dental school, students can explore dental school scholarships, grants, federal student loans, and private student loans. After graduating, former students may consider student loan refinancing, to combine their existing loans and hopefully secure more competitive terms.

Graduate school loans from SoFi have competitive rates, no fees, fixed and variable loan rates, and multiple repayment options. Pre-qualification can be completed in as little as three minutes.

SoFi members can access live customer support seven days a week, may qualify for rate discounts on additional SoFi loans, and have access to other exclusive member benefits.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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11 Benefits of Being an Entrepreneur

11 Benefits of Being an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is booming in America. According to the latest U.S. Census stats, almost 5.4 million new ventures were registered in 2021, a 23% uptick from the year prior. While entrepreneurship is often portrayed as being exhaustingly hard, its many upsides are clearly enticing more and more people to dive in.

What are the benefits of being an entrepreneur? They can range from setting your own hours to having unlimited earning potential to realizing a personal dream. Some people nurture an idea for an innovative product or service for years and then set to work bringing it to life. Others are on a mission to help their community or a specific segment of the population.

Still others set out with the simple goal of making a lot more money than their current 9-to-5 gig pays.

Whatever your motivation, the benefits of becoming an entrepreneur can have a major positive effect on your life. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the perks of starting your own venture. They just may motivate you to take this next giant step in your career and charter your own path.

Read on to learn:

•   What is an entrepreneur?

•   How does entrepreneurship work?

•   What are the benefits of being an entrepreneur?

What Is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is a person who starts their own businesses to bring their dreams to life. Whether they envision opening a better coffee bar or developing a fitness app, they invest time and capital in their business ideas and work diligently to make them successful. Entrepreneurs often partner with other investors, employ workers, and take risks as they seek success.

Typically, an entrepreneur is an inherent problem-solver with a can’t stop, won’t stop attitude. In addition, many are brimming with confidence and conviction that their idea is a terrific one. They refuse to stay discouraged and just see the word ‘no’ as a temporary setback at worst.

The U.S. is full of success stories of entrepreneurs, whether that means the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, or any of the folks who win on Shark Tank. Many of these experienced numerous failures and pressure to give up from family, friends, and potential investors but persevered.

While the wealthiest entrepreneurs are popular symbols of accomplishment and can make it look easy, the truth is that most entrepreneurs have spent countless hours and tremendous sweat equity behind the scenes to become successful.

How Does Entrepreneurship Work?

Entrepreneurship is the opposite of 9-5 jobs. Instead of punching a clock or working on a project for a company, you depend on your own efforts to bring in some type of income. The grind can be brutal, especially at first when you probably aren’t making money.

However, entrepreneurship means more than wanting to work for yourself. To live as an entrepreneur, you need an idea for a business, service, or product to focus your efforts. For example, you might see an opportunity to succeed with a superior product or be the first to serve a niche market.

As an entrepreneur, you bet on yourself, which means you invest as much of your time and money into your business aspirations as possible. You might leave your job to pursue your dream or put in hours before or after your day job to get your business going. Either way, successful entrepreneurs often reach a point where they grow their company enough that they must dedicate all their time to it, hire others to take on some of the workload, or partner with investors.

In addition, many entrepreneurs create social change through their business efforts. For example, TOMS Shoes is a multimillion-dollar company that has provided shoes, clean drinking water, and medical care for hundreds of thousands of people in need.

Recommended: 46 Tips for College Graduates Joining the Real World

Benefits of Being an Entrepreneur

Now that you understand how entrepreneurship works, here are some pros of being an entrepreneur.

1. Ability to Work from Anywhere

One of the key benefits of becoming an entrepreneur is you typically have the ability to work from home or anywhere else you may be. Since you can run many types of business online, you often only need a laptop and internet access to work as an entrepreneur. A work-from-home budget can be an economical way to launch your venture. So, whether you prefer your living room, a coffee shop, or a beach (as some digital nomads do), you have the freedom to set up shop wherever you like without necessarily paying rent for a workspace.

2. Having a Flexible Schedule

In addition to working from anywhere, you choose when you’ll work as an entrepreneur. As a result, you make your own hours,which may give you room for family time, exercise, or errands during the day.

Worth noting: Since the “office” never closes, some entrepreneurs are known to toil 16-hour days (or longer) to realize their aspirations. For this reason, setting your own hours can be a double-edged sword that may lead to overwork and burnout for some. Proceed with your eyes wide open, and remember that work-life balance can be valuable.

3. Ability to Make Key Decisions

As an entrepreneur and business owner, the buck stops with you, which is another empowering benefit of being an entrepreneur. You’ll decide how the business runs, the product or service to focus on, and the target market you’re trying to reach. You pick your team, your partners, and your company culture as the business grows.

Recommended: Can I Use a Personal Checking Account for Business?

4. Growth in Leadership

A successful business requires an able leader. In all likelihood, entrepreneurship will give you opportunities to develop as a business owner and manager. You can learn new skills and expand your knowledge.

As a result, as you continue your professional journey, you’ll probably become an effective boss, operations manager, and business development wrangler. All of which are pros of being an entrepreneur.

5. Ability to Give Back to Your Community

Success as an entrepreneur usually means growing your business to the point where you hire employees. As a result, your efforts create wealth and economic opportunities in your community, helping others support their families and accomplish their dreams. Additionally, successful business owners and entrepreneurs can invest in other companies and donate to charity, benefiting those around them. There’s one more way this can be an upside of entrepreneurship Your business mission may be one that uplifts others. Perhaps you’re developing a healthier snack food, for instance, or an app that helps people reduce their stress levels.

6. Choosing Who to Work With

As an entrepreneur, you might start your business slowly (a benefit of side hustles) or go in full tilt right from the start. Regardless of how you get going, you’ll determine who your partners and colleagues are, which can make for a very agreeable work life. Whether you occasionally speak with consultants, hire workers, or bring investors on board, you decide who gets involved with your business. Your independence as an entrepreneur allows you to intentionally create a work culture that fits your preferences. It’s empowering to have the ability to say “no” to working with someone who doesn’t fit your vision.

7. Being an Entrepreneur is Rewarding

One of the many benefits of becoming an entrepreneur is seeing success unfold, thereby proving the validity of your ideas and the impact they can have. Whether you develop a shampoo that people love or a service that helps disadvantaged students, knowing that your endeavor is finding an audience can be hugely rewarding.

In terms of finances, turning a profit on your business can be life-changing. Once you run payroll and address your business costs, every dollar earned is yours.

Whether you want to put money earned back into the business for more growth or use it to get a new car, seeing money roll in from your business can be incredibly satisfying. Instead of having a set salary, you’ll see how your very own efforts can drive your income and net worth.

8. Being Able to See the Fruits of Your Labor

Success as an entrepreneur is multifaceted and fulfilling: You can obtain financial freedom, see your business grow through meeting customers’ needs, mentor employees, and launch related (or unrelated) ventures. That feeling of having created something that clicks with an audience and builds a following is uniquely satisfying and can definitely boost your sense of pride and self-esteem.

Recommended: Common Signs That You Need to Make More Money

9. Creating a Positive Impact

Entrepreneurship goes beyond making an appealing product and profitable business. Your leadership can inspire others to pursue their dreams. Additionally, your company can create economic ripple effects, allowing others to achieve financial success and benefiting your city and beyond.

10. Income Is Decided by You

As an entrepreneur, you manage the money (at least during the start-up period). As your business evolves, you might get to decide whether you want to create jobs with better pay or scale your business quickly. You’ll also allocate funds and determine your own paycheck.

It’s a balancing act that you will be in charge of. For example, you might be less concerned with becoming a millionaire than you are with retaining quality employees for the long haul through robust compensation.

Recommended: How to Prepare Your Finances for a Recession

11. Networking Opportunities

Most successful entrepreneurs keep strong connections with others who are also starting their own ventures. For instance, you can learn from those who already had to rent workspace, run payroll, or deal with licensing arrangements. In the future, you might be the one tapped by a newly minted self-starter for that very same kind of information.

You’ll grow professionally through peer, mentor, and mentee relationships. No one knows it all, and tapping your network can be an effective way to solve business problems and find the right people to hire or consult.

The Takeaway

There are a myriad of benefits of being an entrepreneur, such as deciding your own schedule, boosting your earning power, and having the opportunity to impact people around you. However, successful entrepreneurship requires tenacity, willingness to learn from failure, and comfort with risk.

The beauty is that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Whether you start your business as a side hustle or leave your job to take the plunge, you have the power to create your own opportunity.

3 Banking Tips

1.    If you’re creating a budget, try the 50/30/20 budget rule. Allocate 50% of your after-tax income to the “needs” of life, like living expenses and debt. Spend 30% on wants, and then save the remaining 20% towards saving for your long-term goals.

2.    An emergency fund or rainy day fund is an important financial safety net. Aim to have all least three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses saved in case you get a major unexpected bill or lose income.

3.    If you’re faced with debt and wondering which kind to pay off first, it can be smart to prioritize high-interest debt first. For many people, this means their credit card debt; rates have recently been climbing into the double-digit range, so try to eliminate that ASAP.

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What are the drawbacks of being an entrepreneur?

The drawbacks of being an entrepreneur include not having a guaranteed wage or salary, possibly investing more hours into your business than you would at most jobs, and the real risk that your endeavor will fail. As a result, you might put all your time and money into a business venture only to end up with nothing to show for it.

Can anyone become an entrepreneur?

Anyone can become an entrepreneur; no specific certification or education is necessary. However, in some cases, business experience, a college degree, and professional training programs can increase your chances of being a successful entrepreneur.

How long does it take to become an entrepreneur?

One of the pros of being an entrepreneur is that it’s possible to become one quickly if you have a business idea plus sufficient available hours and capital to start your venture. However, finding success as an entrepreneur usually takes years of hard work.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Crypto Credit Card vs Crypto Debit Card Explained

Crypto Credit Card vs. Crypto Debit Card: Key Differences

Cryptocurrency — sometimes referred to as blockchain technology — is a hybrid between a currency and an investment. There are many different types of cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being the most well-known. As the popularity of cryptocurrency continues to increase, banks and other issuers are coming out with crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards.

While these two types of cards both allow cardholders to earn cryptocurrency, there are some key differences between a crypto credit card vs. crypto debit card. It’s important to understand how they differ so you can make the right choice for your financial situation.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

What Is a Crypto Credit Card?

The term crypto credit card usually refers to a type of credit card that allows cardholders to earn cryptocurrency as a reward. Cryptocurrencies are often more volatile than other types of rewards you can earn, so make sure you’re prepared for that level of volatility before signing up for a crypto credit card.

Just like with any other credit card, crypto credit cards draw from a line of credit. Cardholders must pay back their balance in full each month in order to avoid incurring interest charges. Purchases and payments on crypto credit cards are usually made with U.S. dollars, though some cards may allow cardholders to use cryptocurrency held in an associated account.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Cash in on up to $300–and 3% cash back for 365 days.¹

Apply and get approved for the SoFi Credit Card. Then open a bank account with qualifying direct deposits. Some things are just better together.


How Crypto Credit Cards Work

Crypto credit cards earn rewards in a very similar way to most other rewards credit cards. With each purchase you make using the card, you’ll earn cryptocurrency.

As an example, say your crypto credit card earns 3% back at restaurants. If you make a $100 restaurant purchase, your crypto wallet will get credited with $3 of cryptocurrency.

Pros and Cons of Using a Crypto Credit Card

Especially given the volatility of cryptocurrency, there are a number of upsides and downsides to take into consideration before using a crypto credit card:

Pros of Using a Crypto Credit Card Cons of Using a Crypto Credit Card
Can earn cryptocurrency rather than other types of rewards Fewer crypto credit card options than other types of rewards credit cards
Easier way to start investing in cryptocurrency Cryptocurrencies can be volatile and/or lose value
Cryptocurrency may increase in value Can’t control the timing of your crypto investment

What Is a Crypto Debit Card?

A crypto debit card is a type of debit card that withdraws crypto directly from your wallet to make purchases. However, when you make a purchase, the merchant gets paid in fiat currency, which means a conversion must take place from your type of cryptocurrency into U.S. dollars.

Many crypto debit cards also allow you to access your cryptocurrency wallet at merchants or ATMs that don’t normally accept cryptocurrency. This can give you added flexibility and access to your cryptocurrency funds.

Additionally, some crypto debit cards also can earn cryptocurrency as rewards.

How Crypto Debit Cards Work

Like a regular debit card, most crypto debit cards operate on one of the major card networks (Visa, Mastercard, etc). This allows you to use your crypto debit card anywhere that these networks are accepted. While more and more merchants are starting to accept various forms of cryptocurrency, using a crypto debit card can give you better access to your cryptocurrency wallet.

However, note that when you pay with a crypto debit card, you’re selling some of your cryptocurrency and exchanging it for dollars. Because you may be selling at a higher or lower price than what you bought it for, this constitutes a taxable event. You’ll need to do the work of keeping track for tax purposes. Additionally, you could incur a fee for the conversion.

Recommended: Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card

Pros and Cons of Using a Crypto Debit Card

As you can see, there are pros and cons to this type of card. Here’s what to keep in mind when choosing crypto debit cards:

Pros of Using a Crypto Debit Card Cons of Using a Crypto Debit Card
Better access to your crypto wallet Fewer crypto debit card than other types of rewards debit cards
Opportunity to earn rewards and/or perks Cryptocurrencies can be volatile and/or lose value
More convenient to use than other crypto redemptions A debit card may be less secure than a cryptocurrency wallet
Taxes or fees may apply

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Differences Between a Crypto Credit Card and a Crypto Debit Card

There are a few important differences between a credit card and debit card, and it’s important to know these differences when considering a crypto debit card vs. crypto credit card. Specifically, here are the essential differences to keep in mind:

Crypto Credit Card Crypto Debit Card
Rewards Most crypto credit cards offer rewards Fewer debit cards offer rewards
Using cryptocurrency Purchases don’t spend from your crypto wallet Cryptocurrency is withdrawn from your wallet with each purchase
Credit check on application Yes No

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

Crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards both rely on cryptocurrency, but in different ways. A crypto debit card withdraws crypto directly from your wallet to make purchases. Purchases on a crypto credit card use a credit line issued to you in your local currency, but you may earn crypto rewards with every purchase.

If you’re looking for a non-crypto rewards credit card, you might consider a cash-back rewards credit card like the SoFi Credit Card. You can earn unlimited cash-back rewards, which you can use to invest in fractional shares, redeem for statement credit, or other financial goals you might have, like paying down eligible SoFi debt. Learn more and start earning credit card rewards today.

Apply for a SoFi Credit Card!

FAQ

Is it safe to use a crypto credit card or crypto debit card?

There are many different crypto credit cards and crypto debit cards. Look for one that is issued and branded by a reputable company. Even if you have a reputable card, know that there is still some risk, as anyone who gets your card number might also be able to access the cryptocurrency funds in your e-wallet.

Will buying crypto with a credit card amount to a cash advance?

If you want to buy crypto with a credit card, be aware that many credit card issuers will not allow you to buy directly with your card. And for those credit card issuers that do allow you to buy crypto with a credit card, the purchase may be treated as a cash advance. Cash advance transactions come with additional fees and often carry higher interest rates, so make sure you’re aware of those specifics before buying crypto with a credit card.

How are crypto credit and debit cards taxed?

Generally speaking, any time you use cryptocurrency to pay for something, you’re triggering a taxable event. This would likely include purchases made with a crypto debit card. The IRS has currently not given specific guidance on the taxability of crypto earned as a reward for purchases. Consult with your tax advisor if you’re not sure about how your crypto credit and debit cards will be taxed.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Budgeting for New Nurses

Budgeting as a New Nurse

Editor's Note: For the latest developments regarding federal student loan debt repayment, check out our student debt guide.


The member’s experience below is not a typical member representation. While their story is extraordinary and inspirational, not all members should expect the same results.

When Jennifer S. clocked in on her first day of work as a nurse at a major hospital in the South, she remembers thinking, “I’ve got this.” And she did. Nursing school had prepared her well for working in the emergency room.

She felt less confident about navigating her finances, however. Jennifer had to figure out how to balance her living expenses and long-term goals with $40,000 in nursing student loans—while earning $25 an hour.

She cooked meals at home and kept her expenses low. Jennifer also created a monthly nursing budget to help organize her finances. “I saw that I should start saving a little extra during the second half of the month, when I usually had leftover money, in case I needed it for the next month’s bills,” she says.

In addition, Jennifer discovered ways she could make extra money. Consider this nursing budget example: She switched to overnight shifts making an additional $7,000 a year. When a hurricane hit her state, she worked around the clock at the hospital for a week—and earned roughly $6,000, which she put toward a down payment on a home. The hospital paid her an extra $14 per hour during the early days of the pandemic. And she routinely picked up per diem and travel assignments.

Why You Need a Nursing Budget

It’s an interesting time to be a nurse. On one hand, staffing shortages and burnout worsened during the pandemic. The rising cost of higher education, including how to pay for nursing school, has resulted in a growing number of students graduating with debt. According to the latest figures from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), roughly 70% of nurses take out loans to pay for school, and the median student loan debt is between $40,000 and $55,000.

On the plus side, nurses have some leverage. The profession is in such high demand right now that some hospitals are offering incentives like sign-on bonuses, relocation costs, and student loan repayments.

And in general, nurses can earn a good salary. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a registered nurse in 2021 is $77,600. The median income for a licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse is $48,070. The median income for a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner– fields that typically require a master’s degree–is $123,780 per year. Nurses who are willing and able to take on additional shifts, work overnight, or accept lucrative travel assignments stand to make even more.

If you’re a new nurse who is figuring out your finances, a nursing budget is a good place to start. But there are other steps to take as well. Here’s how to make the most of the money you earn to achieve your financial goals.

Recommended: Budgeting as a New Doctor

Watch Your Spending

With different ways to supplement your income as a nurse, it can be easy to give in to overspending. “When I was doing travel assignments, I just kept working,” Jennifer says. “At the time, I didn’t realize it would stop, so I didn’t think to save as much as I could have.”

In fact, lifestyle creep can be a common pitfall, especially when you start earning more money, says Brian Walsh, CFP, senior manager, financial planning for SoFi. Spending more on nonessentials as your income rises can potentially wreak havoc on your savings goals and financial health. That’s why budgeting for nurses is so important.

While you’re starting to establish your spending habits, Walsh recommends using cash or a debit card for purchases. Automate your finances whenever possible by doing things like pre-scheduling bill payments.

Develop Your Savings Strategy

A sound savings plan can help you make progress toward your short- and long-term goals and provide a sense of security. Walsh suggests nurses set aside 20% of their income for retirement and other savings, like building up an emergency fund that can cover three to six months’ worth of your total living expenses. He recommends placing it in an easy-to-access vehicle, like money market funds, short-term bonds, CDs, or a high-yield savings account. The remaining 80% of your income should go toward lifestyle expenses, including monthly student loan payments.

Jennifer found success by adopting a set-it-and-forget-it approach to saving. “Whenever I worked a per diem shift, I got in the habit of putting $100 or $200 of every check into a savings account,” she says. Before long, she had a decent-sized nest egg and peace of mind.

Explore Different Investments

One simple way to build up savings is to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plan, if one is available to you, and tap into a matching funds program. There’s a limit to how much you can contribute annually to one of these plans. In 2022, the amount is $20,500; if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute up to an additional $6,500, for a total of $27,000.

If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, there are other ways to save for the future. “Start by figuring out what your targeted savings goal is,” Walsh says. If you’re going to save a few thousand dollars, you can consider a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. Both can offer tax advantages.

Contributions made to a traditional IRA are tax-deductible, and no taxes are due until you withdraw the money. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars; your money grows tax-free and you don’t pay taxes when you withdraw the funds. However, there are limits on how much you can contribute each year and on your income.

But ideally, Walsh says, you’re saving more than a few thousand dollars for retirement. If that’s the case, then a Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP IRA) may be worth considering. “Depending on how your employment status is set up, a SEP IRA could be a very good vehicle because the total contributions can be just like they are with an employer-sponsored plan, but you control how much to contribute, up to a limit,” he says. What’s more, contributions are tax-deductible, and you won’t pay taxes on growth until you withdraw the money when you retire.

Another option is a health savings account (HSA), which may be available if you have a high deductible health plan. HSAs provide a triple tax benefit: contributions reduce taxable income, earnings are tax-free, and money used for qualified medical expenses is also tax-free.

Depending on your financial goals, you may also want to consider after-tax brokerage accounts. They offer no tax benefits but give you the flexibility to withdraw money at any time without being taxed or penalized.

Recommended: Exploring Different Types of Investments

Take Control of Your Student Loans

Chances are, you have different priorities competing for a piece of your paycheck, and nursing school loans are one of them. You may need to start repaying loans six months after graduation, and options vary based on the type of loan you have.

If you have federal loans and need extra help making payments, for example, you can look into a loan forgiveness program or an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, which can lower monthly payments for eligible borrowers based on their income and household size. If you’re struggling to make payments, you may qualify for a student loan deferment or a forbearance. Both options temporarily suspend your payments, but interest will continue to accrue and add to your total balance.

You should also be aware that the Biden administration’s new federal student loan forgiveness plan extends the pause on federal loan payments through December 31, 2022. In addition, the program cancels up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individuals who make less than $125,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples) and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients who qualify.

Chipping away at a student loan debt can feel overwhelming. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are a couple of different approaches you may want to consider. With the avalanche approach, you prioritize debt repayment based on interest rate, from highest to lowest. With the snowball approach, you pay off the smallest balance first and then work your way up to the highest balance.

While both have their benefits, Walsh says he often sees greater success with the snowball approach. “Most people should start with paying off the smallest balance first because then they’ll see progress, and progress leads to persistence,” he explains. But, he adds, the right approach is the one you can stick with.

Consider Whether Student Loan Refinancing Is Right For You

When you refinance, a private lender pays off your existing loans and issues you a new loan. This combines all of your loans into a single monthly bill, potentially reduces your monthly payments, and may give you a chance to lock in a lower interest rate than you’re currently paying. A quarter of a percentage point difference in an interest rate could translate into meaningful savings if you have a big loan balance, Walsh points out.

Still, refinancing your student loans may not be right for everyone. By choosing to refinance federal student loans, you could lose access to benefits and protections, like the current pause on payment and interest or federal loan forgiveness plans. Be sure to weigh all the options and decide what makes sense for you.

The Takeaway

Nursing can be a rewarding career, with flexibility and opportunities to add to your income. However, as a new nurse, you are likely trying to stretch your paycheck to cover student loan debt and everyday expenses. Fortunately, by using a few smart strategies, you can start to pay down your loans—and save for the future.

If refinancing your student loans is one of the strategies you’re considering, SoFi can help. When you refinance with SoFi, you get benefits like flexible terms. And with our medical professional refinancing, you may be able to qualify for special low rates for nurses.

SoFi reserves our lowest interest rates for medical professionals like you.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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How to Get Merit Aid From Colleges

Money for college doesn’t grow on trees. Or does it? Every year, billions of dollars wait to be plucked from the branches by college students seeking merit-based aid.

The National Merit Scholarship Program alone plans to award more than $28 million in spring 2022. Merit aid is awarded to students based on factors outside of just financial need. These awards generally factor in a student’s skill or ability for a certain specialty.

Brainiacs merit recognition, but a student can earn merit aid based on talent in athletics and other interests, including puppetry and vegetarianism, as well as lineage.

So what’s the catch?

Patience, diligence, and timing come into play. This guide can help students who are starting the search for merit-based aid.

What Is Merit Aid?

College aid can generally be broken down into two categories:

Need-based. Eligibility for need-based aid is based solely on the ability to pay for college. Students can look for state, possibly school, and federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA®, sharing information about income and assets.

Merit-based. Merit-based aid takes factors beyond financial need into account. According to the Department of Education, merit-based “means that something is based on a student’s skill or ability.”

Students can qualify for merit-based aid, often referred to as merit-based scholarships, with a variety of factors.

Scholarship money does not have to be paid back — it’s a gift. Merit aid can be a one-time payment, or it could be renewable year after year, depending on eligibility and terms of the aid.

Depending on a student’s financial needs, merit aid could cover part or all of their education costs. It might be just one component of a larger financial aid package.

Merit aid can be awarded for both undergraduate and graduate programs, and could be anything from a couple of hundred dollars for books and supplies to thousands of dollars to help cover tuition.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Strategies to Find Colleges that Offer Merit Aid

Not all schools offer merit aid. However, at schools where merit aid is offered, on average 22% of the student body received a merit award from the university, according to U.S. News & World Report. Here are a few tips on finding colleges that offer merit aid.

First things first, when you are creating your list of colleges you’re going to apply to — find out which of those offer merit aid. Knowing up front what options may be available to you is helpful and can be important as you prepare to pay for college.

Then, review the typical financial aid offer at your target schools. Some schools publish information on the percentage of students that receive merit aid and the average merit aid amount. Consider contacting the financial aid office if you have specific questions.

Another strategy to potentially improve your chance of merit aid — apply to schools where you are likely to get in. Since merit aid can be awarded on factors such as GPA, standardized test scores, or curriculum, being in the upper echelon of applicants could help put you at the front of the pack for earning merit aid.

In some situations, scholarship money may go unclaimed. Check out this guide to unclaimed scholarships for more information.

Which Schools Offer the Most Merit Aid?

Here’s what students can expect when it comes to merit aid from schools:

•   Generally speaking, private colleges award more merit aid than public institutions.

•   Ivy league schools don’t grant merit aid. No Ivy League institutions offer merit aid to their students. Other competitive universities, such as MIT, Stanford, and Caltech, don’t offer merit aid either.

•   Some higher-cost colleges may offer more merit aid than others. The cost of attending some schools can send a student into shock. However, some costlier schools will offer more merit-based scholarships. Oberlin College, for example, recently offered 42% of its student body merit-based aid, about $17,000 on average, to offset tuition and fees that have reached nearly $57,000.

•   Out-of-state students might be awarded more merit aid than in-state students at a public college or university. Because of the higher cost of attendance for out-of-state students, public schools may offer them merit aid to be more competitive.

•   Honors programs may offer more merit aid. State school honors programs can sometimes come with tuition discounts, or academic scholarships for students who get into the prestigious programs.

Keeping these trends in mind could help students think more strategically about where they’ll attend college based on the chances of being awarded merit aid from the schools.

How to Apply for Merit Aid

While merit scholarships are often referred to as “free money” when it comes to funding education, there is some work involved. Each scholarship will likely have its own requirements and application process, which might include personal essays, recommendations, and interviews. It’s important to read through each application carefully so it’s filled out without error.

Merit-based aid does not hinge on the financial need of the student or family, so should you submit the FAFSA first? Some colleges require students to fill out the FAFSA in order to be considered for school-based scholarships, including those awarded based on academic merit.

Plus, filling out the FAFSA could help you qualify for other types of financial aid, such as need-based Pell Grants or Direct Unsubsidized Loans. A quick aside to note that federal loans offer benefits and protections not necessarily afforded to private student loans. Since the FAFSA is free to fill out, it’s generally worth taking the time to see what other types of aid you qualify for. If financial aid and merit awards aren’t enough, private student loans could help.

Recommended: Private Student Loan Guide

Generally, you won’t need to fill out the FAFSA as a prerequisite for applying for a private merit scholarship.

If you’re not sure about the requirements at your school, it can be worthwhile to call the college admissions office to see if a financial aid application is required to apply for any merit scholarships at that school.

When evaluating merit scholarships from other private sources, keep in mind that each one may have different application requirements and deadlines. Some deadlines may be as early as a year before college starts.

Finding Merit Aid Awards for College

Colleges and universities award merit aid, but there are many other ways to find scholarships, including private organizations and state-level scholarship search tools and directories.

You can learn about private merit scholarships by using search engines like CollegeBoard.org, Fastweb.com, and Scholarships.com. In addition, it can be helpful to talk to your school guidance counselor and the leaders of any organizations you participate in to suss out merit scholarships.

Consider exploring a few of the following avenues when seeking merit aid opportunities:

•   Local groups. Local clubs or foundations offer scholarships. Community chapters of the Lions Club or Rotary Club offer aid for students seeking higher education. Because there’s a smaller pool of applicants, local merit scholarships may even be less competitive.

•   Cultural organizations. Students from minority backgrounds have an opportunity for specific merit aid. Students of Native American descent, those who identify as LGBTQ, and women might qualify for scholarships.

•   Foundations and nonprofits. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offers full scholarships for those who qualify. Local nonprofits or educational foundations might offer small awards to students as well.

•   Businesses. National companies, such as Google , offer generous merit aid.

•   Niche interests and programs. Students who have an interest or hobby can search for merit aid surrounding it. Everything from greeting card creators to puppetry enthusiasts and promoters of vegetarianism have a chance to capitalize on their passions.

Once a student is granted merit aid, the funding might be directly credited to the school to pay for tuition, room, board, or other costs. Or the aid might come directly to the recipient via check. The size of the awards will vary, but seeking out aid in unexpected places can help drive down the cost of education.

Some Cautions About Merit Aid

Merit aid can be incredibly helpful for students paying for college. But, it’s important to understand the full picture of the merit aid awards you receive. Understand the terms of the aid award, and any ongoing eligibility requirements outlined by the scholarship or grant.

For example, is the award for one year? Or is it an annual award over your college education? If it is a merit award to cover each year of college, are there ongoing eligibility requirements such as maintaining a minimum GPA?

Understanding how and when the merit aid awards you earned are paid out can be important to help you avoid financial surprises, like suddenly losing your merit scholarship, down the road. College students will be facing a lot of financial-firsts on their journey. Take a look at SoFi’s Ca$h Course: A Student’s Guide to Money with even more tips and strategies on managing your finances through college.

The Takeaway

A pot brimming with billions of dollars in college merit aid sits waiting every year. Stellar students and athletes come to mind as popular recipients, but merit scholarships are awarded based on other talents, too. To apply, deadlines and details require attention.

Merit aid might just be a piece of the puzzle, depending on the size and terms of the scholarship. Once federal and merit aid options have been exhausted, an undergraduate private student loan may help bridge any gaps.

Private student loans from SoFi offer competitive interest rates for qualifying borrowers, and have no fees, and flexible repayment plans. With an all-online application, SoFi private student loans come with membership benefits and resources.

A SoFi private student loan might merit a look.


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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.


Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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