This Athens native has 60 plants, works 2 exciting jobs + saves 85% on her nursing doctorate


Jessica working at Gold Sprint
Jessica loves studying at Gold Sprint—the perfect Huntsville coffee shop for plant lovers. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

When Jessica Easter’s not watering her 60 apartment plants or playing with her dog and cat duo, Gracie and Macie, you can find her leveling up her career.

Along with working two jobs, Jessica is pursuing her nursing doctorate. Three semesters into her program, she learned how to save 85% off her entire tuition. Read on to learn more about this amazing Athens native and find out how you can save on your nursing studies too.

Financial game changer

Jessica walking at Gold Sprint
Now Jessica can pursue her nursing doctorate with less financial stress. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jessica wishes she would’ve known about the 85% tuition-saving hack when she got her master’s degree. Nonetheless, she’s grateful to apply the University of North Alabama’s Nursing Loan Faculty Program (NFLP) savings to her future studies.

Recently, she heard about the NFLP from a faculty friend, so when she received the email encouraging her to sign up, she jumped on it. With an expected graduation date of 2025, Jessica has a lot more she can save on tuition in the coming years.


If you are eligible for UNA’s NFLP, you can apply the 85% tuition discount to your DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) or MSN (Master of Science in Nursing). Here’s how it works:

  • Goal: To have more UNA graduates enter full-time nurse faculty positions.
  • NFLP grants students a loan of 85% off tuition that can be forgiven, so recipients only have to pay 15%.
  • To have the loan forgiven, students must enter a full-time faculty position upon graduation.
  • The 85% is forgiven over the course of four years of full-time work (20% each year for the first three years + 25% the fourth year)
  • For an interest rate of only 3%, students can postpone payment of the 15% for four years, and they are granted a total of 10 years to pay off the 15%.
  • If you’re an MSN or DNP student, you can still apply for the NFLP for fall 2023—learn more.

Working two jobs + studying

Working at Gold Sprint
Education is her passion, and UNA’s NFLP is helping her come out on top with her nursing doctorate. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

Jessica is passionate about acquiring the skills she needs to succeed in her future nurse faculty position. That’s why she works a job duo that offers her the perfect combination of hands-on skills and teaching prowess.

Three days a week, she works at Huntsville Hospital in the recovery room as a bedside nurse, and the other two days, you can find her at Calhoun Community College, working as a Clinical Supervisor.

By succeeding in both of these positions, she’s gaining a holistic understanding of nursing. She knows how to approach the subject matter from practical and theoretical perspectives, helping her excel in her nursing doctorate and prepare for her future teaching position.

Why she’s loved the doctorate program

Jessica at the Space and Rocket Center
Jessica loves getting to exercise her teaching skills at Calhoun. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

So far during her nursing doctorate studies, Jessica has enjoyed her research classes, and she’s especially excited about her upcoming epidemiology class. She couldn’t be more grateful for the learning experience she’s had at the University of North Alabama.

“I got my master’s from UNA as well, and I loved that program. The teachers were awesome. I’m excited about the research that the doctorate program has to offer. It really allows us to focus on something we’re passionate about, and I always enjoy digging into research.”

Jessica Easter

She’s also valued how the program is online, so she can live in the Huntsville area and have the flexibility to work two jobs.

Career dreams

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In 2025, Jessica will graduate with her nursing doctorate and take the world by storm. (Lacey Spear / Hville Blast)

In the clinicals she supervises at Calhoun, Jessica teaches students the skills required to work as a Labor and Delivery Nurse. Because she’s thoroughly enjoyed these clinicals, she’s decided to make Labor and Delivery her main research focus for her nursing doctorate. She excited to incorporate this research into her future full-time teaching position.

“My long term goal has always been to be a full-time faculty member at a college. The NFLP helps me achieve that goal without the stress of the tuition costs hanging over my head.”

Jessica Easter

Interested in getting your nursing doctorate? Learn how you can also save 85% off tuition at the University of North Alabama.

Sponsored by:

University of North Alabama
Lacey Spear
Lacey Spear
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