This study assessed the characteristics of nursing students currently enrolled in nursing education programs, how students finance their nursing education, their plans for clinical practice and graduate education, and the rewards and difficulties of being a nursing student. Data are from a survey administered to a national sample of 496 nursing students. The students relied on financial aid and personal savings and earnings to finance their education. Parents, institutional scholarships, and government loans are also important sources, but less than 15% of the students took out bank loans. Nearly one quarter of the students, particularly younger and minority students, plan to enroll in graduate school immediately after graduation and most want to become advanced nursing practitioners. Most of the nursing students (88%) are satisfied with their nursing education and nearly all (95%) provided written answers to two open-ended questions. Comments collapsed into three major categories reflecting the rewards (helping others, status, and job security) and three categories reflecting the difficulties (problems with balancing demands, quality of nursing education, and the admissions process) of being a nursing student. Implications for public policymaking center on expanding the capacity of nursing education programs, whereas schools themselves should focus on addressing the financial needs of students, helping them strike a balance among their school, work, and personal/family responsibilities and modifying certain aspects of the curriculum.