How much debt is reasonable for NP school?

  1. 0
    I am contemplating joining a masters-entry program that will leave me over $115,000 in debt by the end. Starting salary for certified nurse-midwives (my chosen field) seems to be about $70,000-$75,000 a year. Loan repayment programs seem to pay back about $25,000 per year of service in medically undeserved areas. Does anybody have any thoughts on the wisdom of enrolling in this masters-entry program?

    Thank you for your input,


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  3. 22 Comments...

  4. 3
    Whew! That's a lot of debt IMHO. The return on your investment is going to take multiple years: 5 years of servitude versus a very low paying job for many years (while you pay back your loans).

    Seems it would be cheaper to go the traditional route of RN and then MSN because you would be able to work while in grad school.
  5. 0
    We have similar career goals. I chose to go with an inexpensive instate-BSN (12k total), work some, then apply to grad school independently from my BSN experience. The cohesive nature of a direct entry was appealing to me, but the reduced expense, ability to work part time, and gain experience made the 2 step process win out in my mind.

    How much the CNM 'goal' will cost me will depend on whether or not the 2015 DNP becomes real....but I'm budgeting closer to 40k for the graduate plan - maybe 50/60k if DNP is reality at that time.

    Frontier website shows costs nicely... not saying thats the only school but its a well regarded distance option....looks like ~30k for MSN?

    That leaves me at ball park 60k estimated cost for the whole process...... Personally I couldn't justify the risk (and stress/worry) of the 115k debt knowing that there are less financially stressful options (that are still quality education as I think frontier would be).
  6. 0
    I'm with mahanabay. Including my undergrad work my total debt is $65K. $115K sounds HIGH.
  7. 0
    It is a lot, no question. I could do the second half of the program part-time while working as an RN, and I may well do that.

    For nurse-midwifery, there are many fewer masters entry programs than other specialities and most of them leave you with over $100,000 of debt. It is important to me to become a midwife and be established in a practice before starting my own family, and since I am in my late twenties, I feel that time is a definite factor. I could be a midwife in three years, but with substantial student loans - or I could apply to accelerated BSN programs for next year and work for a couple of years as a nurse before applying to midwifery programs, becoming a midwife in 5-6 years but with half the debt.

    Either way, I have the possibility of halving the debt in three years (either working as a midwife in an underserved area for that time, or becoming a midwife the traditional route and only taking on half the debt). Since I am more interested in practising as a CNM than an RN, perhaps the (ridiculously) expensive program is not such a bad idea?

    Edit: My estimate of $115,000 includes living expenses

    It is a difficult decision and I appreciate everyone's comments!
    Last edit by junipers on Apr 21, '11
  8. 0
    you no their are more afordable schools out there my school is only about 24tho and there is another school in my area about 15 tho and one about 2 hours away thats only 12 tho check out state schools they are more afordable
  9. 4
    Which loan repayment scheme are you looking at? The hrsa program pays 60k for two years plus 40k for every year after that up to 200k. That's on top of your regular salary, plus it's tax free. So work three years in a medically underservered area and you've just about eliminated your debt. Who cares if it's 10k or 100k if it's going to be forgiven?
  10. 0
    very true HRSA funding is out there but I worry about how long will these funding be available with this economy I am hoping to get HRSA when I am done with school
  11. 0
    Quote from Boonce1
    very true HRSA funding is out there but I worry about how long will these funding be available with this economy I am hoping to get HRSA when I am done with school

    There's actually more available right now due to Obama Care funding. Check with individual schools to see what they have available. I know of one that is covering 100% of tuition plus money for other expenses until 2015, but you need to be local to do it.
  12. 2
    A lot of financial advisors recommend that student loans should not be more than 1 year's salary (the amount you will make/year in the first year or two out of school). Also, that is assuming you are relatively young, without a lot of other financial obligations, and will be working full time for several years while you repay the loan.

    A lot of people get into trouble when they take out big loans, then by a house, a car, have kids, drop down to part time employment, etc. etc. etc. after they graduate. Even if they start out with mid-sized loans, they struggle to pay them back because of their other finanical obligations.

    But the "1 year's salary" guideline is probably not a bad starting point for your deliberations. You can then adjust from there depending upon your particular situation and personal life expectations.
    PatMac10,RN and Nursetonp like this.

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