How to mangae the debt most of us will have after completing school?

  1. Just curious on how most of the people in crna school or those who have recently graduated with student loans plan to manage it. With the cost of higher education increasing at a ever faster pace, I expect many of us will be dealing with this problem. Although, I am not accepted into a program yet, I do have a interview coming up in a couple weeks and have calculated that I will need to borrow around 50k for tutition and cost of living. I already have 18k undergrad debt. From what I read on this forum that the average crna student is coming out with 50-70k of debt makes me realize it is not just me who will have to deal with kind of debt. I often talk to MD resident friends of mine who average 100-120k debt and I know it is big concern for them also, especially with the trend of decreased reimburstments from the govt. and insurance companies.
    Some of the questions I have are: is it real common for employers to pay back some of the loans? Does the govt. offer programs to help pay back some of the loans? It seems to me that if the crna's salaries were not in the range they currently are that it would not be practical to acquire this kind of debt, especially if you find out you can't pay it back. Now, I do realize that the % rates on student loans are at a all time low and that will certainly help us pay back such huge amounts of money, but it still seems over-whelming at first.
    Last edit by MICU RN on Mar 14, '03
    •  
  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   New CCU RN
    Well, this is my plan. I am not applying for a couple years (hope to start fall 2005), so I do have a bit more time. However, I do have a wedding coming up (yay) in Sept 2004 which will def hurt the finances a bit.

    I have figured out how to pay my student loan (started off at 14k now down to 12k since December!!!!!!!!) and hoepfully pay it off by the time I start school. I have a car loan which started out at 16k and is now down to 13k) Then some minor CC debt. I am going to pay all of these off before I start school (even if it kills me... Right now I am renting, but we are gonna buy a house after the wedding.

    Right now I am working 36 hrs as a staff nurse on one unit. When I reaach my year mark as a nurse (just June), I am gonna pick up some agency shifts. Probably one extra twelve hr a week. All of that money is going into my CRNA school fund. Between now and then, say worse case I am making 20 bucks an hr which for agency work is low... I will be able to save over 12k a year just by doing one extra shift. Granted, it will stink a bit, but in the long run it is worth it. About nine months before I start, I am gonna go full time agency..but as a traveler so that I have long term assignments....and can get living expenses totally paid for. All of that money is also gonna go to a CRNA school fund. I am hoping to be able to save at least 30k to have while I am in school. The tuition at the school I want to go to is all together for every semester at an instate rate, about 20k. If I can, I am gonna pay all of that, have the extra money to pay for bills, but my fiance ( then husband) is already willing to pay while I am in school. He also wants to go to grad school ...and is gonna go once I am out...so I will do the same for him.

    Pretty much my goal is to work my little a** off and save as much as possible over the next two years. I agree that much debt seems very daunting....

    I don't know if you are able to do this, not knowing your situation..family etc. I am only 22 and have no kids, etc. No plans on them for a while.

    Although, even if you do need to take out all of that in loans, I know you are able to do many different things, such as pay for them back over the course of 20 years rather than 10, consolidate them, pay a lower rate when you get out and increasing amounts over time.

    The other things you may want to look into is signing a contract in the beginning. Many employers will pay your tuition, etc if you agree to work for them. There are ups and downs to that.... has been discussed many times on this board.

    As far as employers paying back... I am sure some do. i honestly don't know. Hopefully some of the board members will know.

    Good luck to ya MICU.
  4. by   dianacs
    The other things you may want to look into is signing a contract in the beginning. Many employers will pay your tuition, etc if you agree to work for them. There are ups and downs to that.... has been discussed many times on this board.
    Is this a common practice for employers to seek out students and sign contracts with them? Does it really start that early in the game? A student wouldn't even have finished school yet.
  5. by   Disablednurse
    I did not go to CRNA school, but stopped working as LPN to go to RN school. My mother and brother who was a junior in high school helped pay my car and medical insurance while I was in school and also gave me spending money. I also had a student loan. Took me 5 years to pay the student loan back. First several pay checks, I gave most of them to my mom and brother to pay them back. It was hard, I imagine it will be harder on those that go for longer periods of time.
  6. by   MICU RN
    Thanks for the replies so far, some of the things I have done up to this point are: I have a relatively small house note 500.00, my car note will be paid off in sept. 2003, very little credit card debt and I have refinancing lined up for my house which will lower my note and enable me to take some equity out of it. I also plan to have 25-30k in the bank. My wife has not worked in two years and we have have two small children. We are hoping she will only have to work part-time while I am in school. Now as I mentioned in my opening post I only have an interview and am just seeking advice. I by know means am going to count my chickens before they hatch, however, I do feel I have a good chance, since the program I am applying to is relatively new, this will be their third class and I did complet my ADN and RN/BSN degree from there. In addition, I have MADE IT a point to live below my means since graduating in 1998, knowing that it would be hard to quit my job and become a full time student, especially now since I have two children. This as been a long term goal and was the main reason I became a RN. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to belive I am finally at a point to apply and have an interview, I am sure many of you can relate to this. Also this forum has been a wonderful resource for people interested in this field, I lurked around for awhile and have been posting for about six months now. I encourage anyone to come out and start sharing your views and experince. Good luck to everyone else that is trying to persue this goal!!!!
  7. by   New CCU RN
    Dianacs,

    Many previous posts have addressed this issue. Read through some of them. There are some advantages and disadvantages to going this route....which is also addressed.

    My cousin (well's cousin's husband..guess he is my cousin) started CRNA school last Sept. He has been approached by many hosp/groups since he started school. He is job hunting even now (when he can break away from the books) even though he still has quite a while to go.

    I wouldn't call it "commonplace" however, it is a common option to recruit people while they are mere student.
  8. by   mommyof2grls
    One thing I highly recommend, if you own a house and can take out equity do that. We took out private loans while my husband was in CRNA school and later learned they are not tax deductible.
    Also, unless you absolutely need the stipend, personally I would wait to sign a contract. My husband signed a contract, (we had a baby on the way and 2 getting ready to graduate from H.S) we knew we could not make it on my wage as a staff nurse. He was tied to that position and the payments they had made on loans for him, and working 60+ hrs a week it was ridiculous. We found a small hospital in a rural comm. that bought him out of his contract, but now we are in BFE and hate it, and will have to move when I go back to school. Live & Learn and ask a lot of Questions!!
  9. by   SirJohnny
    All:

    - With regards to paying off debt.

    - I worked two jobs -- one job was the decent paying one, and the other was a $9/hour security guard job on the weekends.

    - I just lived on the security guard pay, and put the checks from my decent paying computer job into the desk drawer. Whenever I would have US$10K in checks -- I would cash them in and pay off/down the loan.

    - The trick here is if you don't have the $$ you won't spend the $$. So pay yourself first -- meaning put x number of $$ in special bank acct or put every other pay check in a drawer.

    John Coxey
  10. by   Diprivan/Vented
    I don't know how good your credit is, but if you do have a good score, try a revolving line of credit. What you do is get a line of credit with marginal-zero percent interest. Usually they'll give you a time-limit that varies anything from a few months to a year. Do the longest plan available, which is typically a year. These creditors are negotiable as well, so just because they offer you a few months doesn't mean they can't extend it, and just because they offer you 3-5 percent doesn't mean they can't reduce it to 2, 1, or even 0 percent interest. Just talk to the manager. It's best to use a creditor/credit card that you've been established at.

    Another thing is, don't go to banks. Their interest will be fixed or variable, but it won't be as low as if you use a credit card. Credit cards offer you really low/zero interest in hopes that you forget a payment. When you do forget a payment, then they jack up the interest, and all interest is accumulated from the day you started using the line of credit (ie, if you forget your last payment, you still owe the card payment on interest from day 1). It's shady of them, but that's how they manage to get you really low/zero interest rates. If you have poor management and financial skills, don't use this method. If you have good financial and management skills, then by all means use this. I was able to pay off a Steinway grande and a new Acura all in one year, with 0% interest, by jumping from one card to another using this method. But like I said, you have to have a lot of skills.
  11. by   cargal
    to a college student that could pay for college education with a full athletic scholarship vs school loans. FYI, this student is very unhappy in the paying sport.

    TIA!
  12. by   jdpete
    I for one would sign a stipend and I will tell you why. It gives you great piece of mind and security. I cant tell you how much better I felt when I signed it my first yr, I had extra money, and could concentrate solely on school instead of having to worry about "looking" around for jobs with money. The one catch is dont, and i mean dont paint yourself into a corner with a deal you can't get out of without a penalty. I currently work for the same person I signed with, which is what most people I graduated with do. Their deal was low, but I could opt out by paying back the money he gave me with prime rate interest at the time I pay him back, hence just like a loan from the bank. So I had the security of relaxing because 1, I had a job, 2, I had flexibility to job hunt to buy your way out. Well when graduation came around, the market had completely changed and the income was much higher, dwarfing what my deal was "written for" in the contract. My boss is a cheapo and I spoke with him about increasing money and he agreed but not very much. I went job hunting and took him the best offer I had because I had all intentions of driving 45 min to this place b/c the money was much better. This was three months from graduation. I told him I was just going to pay his money back and he gave me several more "thousands" plus increased his salary to the competitors rate and knocked a year of obligation off. Reasons why, I had him with the no interest back. Make them take that off, I have heard that people who sign can get that waived if you say "I will sign, but take the penalties off if I buy you out when I graduate." Whether they will or not I am unsure, but I would try. You are doing the right thing by saving money, but you will make it back easily if you bust your tail when you get out. I work full-time and fill in at another place and will make about 4 times what I did as an RN. Don't WORRY so much about income during school. You will recoup it in no more than 10 yrs. You are making a great investment. I tell anyone to do it because you will never get more return on your money than going to CRNA school. It is unreal how much $$$ is out there for you to make. Take my advice, sign for stipends if you can get out without penalties and high interest rates like 12-20%. Tell them you will sign but waive them stupid penalties and interest rates. If they won't, tell them bye. You will find money. Take out loans if you need--I owe around $40,000---I have paid off about $20,000 in two yrs. A loan of $75,000 is not bad when you can make $150,000 plus a year. Dont be afraid to do this. Your paychecks will look much different. Also, for more motivation---If RN's and CRNA's made the exact same money, I would continue to work as a CRNA any day of the week---I love what I do---you will never see a CRNA fuss about being a CRNA or say I am going to go into another field. You might here them fuss about a job, or MD's they work with, but not the job. The job is so damn fun. Good luck---if I can help anymore, let me know.
    Last edit by jdpete on Nov 12, '03
  13. by   nrsths1
    I just completed my BSN and will move on to my MSN. My first five years of school I incurred no dept, as I applied for grants and scholarships. Scholarships are a tedious process but can be well worth it. Also, many employers will sponsor nurses if you sign a contract stating you'll be working for them for 2-3 years or ?? they require. Call every hospital or anesthesiology group you can find and see if you can find such a program. Until then...consolidation is critical. I went through the Academic Lending Center and they were okay and I consolidated 27K and currently pay 83.00 month. 3.5% and am going to have that lowered by 1-2% here very shortly. Otherwise, you can be a professional student for the rest of you life and defer, defer, defer. haha...Now I know why so many are "professional" students.

    Take care!
  14. by   ThinkingAboutIt
    I have been reading posting about the financing of CRNA school, but I have never read anything about people using the money from thier 401K or IRAs. Especially, the people who are saving money for school. Why not save put money into your 401k or IRA with the intention of withdrawing the money during CRNA school? As I understand the current law you can withdraw without the standard 10% penalty if it is used for education, that includes housing, food, book, and tuition.

    Also, when you put it in you will save the tax on it because it is tax deductable (probably around 28% depending on your income), and when you withdraw money you will be tax at your current rate which is probably very low or 0% as student, because your income is so low. Furthermore, why not use your ROTH IRA if you trying save over a long period of time because you have no taxes on your gains, and there is no penalty on the for educational withdraws either.

close