Living off student loans smart idea or not? - page 3

I am in the process of applying to some different nursing schools in NC. I am applying to Watts school of nursing ($11,300 per year) and a accelerated nursing program at another school ($3,000 per... Read More

  1. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I worked as a CNA through my LPN program, then as an LPN through my RN program. It was really tough, but I'm glad I went all the way through without any loans.
  2. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from ibnathan
    Hey you have to do what is best. I was a manager a local retail supermarket making about 50K a year working six days a week with overtime. After they started to downsize I lost my position and took a 15-20K a year loss. I decided to go back to school and get my nursing degree and I will be graduating in 12 days. Yeah!. I have approx. 60,000 in school debt. Now let me say this it is not the schooling that costs, it is the outside expenses that are very expensive such as health care, car payments, grocery, gas, rent, unexpected expenses etc. I've been going to school for 5 years break up that 60000 grand and it really isn't that bad. I expect to make that my first year without overtime. (60,000). Long term it is an investment in yourself, oh did I mention I am married and have a kid, it is expensive but do it. If I were to work 4 days one week and then alternate working 5 days the next I would make close to 100,000 dollars my first year. Anyways good luck!
    You won't have the opportunity to do that at every hospital or even most of them. Don't always assume that OT is available.

    A hospital is like any other business...they don't give OT unless they need someone to work it, and not all hospitals need someone to work it, and will avoid it at all costs and may be offered FIRST to those with seniority.

    I really hope you haven't run up a large student debt thinking that all nurses make $100K their first year...MOST of them don't come close.
  3. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from 07302003
    I lived off loans for a 16 month accelerated BSN program. In addition to my staffords, TERI has an alternative loan program for health professions that will give you money up to the amount of your school financial aid "cost of attendance".
    At the beginning of entering nursing school I took a blind leap of faith and signed myself up for $20K in debt (and will graduate with $20K in debt). Subsequent to that, several scholarships have come through, a hospital sponsorship also. Were it not for the hospital sponsorship I would be looking to the HRSA loan forgiveness program.
    I had to take the blind leap of faith to make the change in my life. I am single parent, and child care issues prevented me from working while in school.
    Others in my program worked, some found jobs where they could do their homework, which worked wonderfully for them. Many adults, including myself, moved back in with their parents in order to be able to afford to do this.
    Before nursing school I paid off my credit card debt, and paid off my car. No car payment helped a LOT.
    Everyone I know at school with small children had family helping with childcare.
    After graduation I will be scaling back my life to pay off the loans as fast as possible, but, again, it's a choice. I was SANE while going to nursing school, and was able to get grades I was proud of. It's all about choices.
    Best of luck!
    See to me, $20K sounds reasonable...that is no different than buying a car.
  4. by   Gennaver
    Quote from rkim525
    I am in the process of applying to some different nursing schools in NC. I am applying to Watts school of nursing ($11,300 per year) and a accelerated nursing program at another school ($3,000 per year). I am about to graduate with a bachelors degree in public health next december. I was wondering if I did the diploma program would it be possible to live off of student loans. I am highly interested in the diploma program just very worried about the expenses. The school that does the diploma program does a tution reimbursment if you sign a 3 year contract with the hospital. Just need some insight. Thanks!
    I concur with the posters who say that student loans are an investment.

    If it were not for my student loans I would not be able to pursue my degree, or if I could afford to go to school by working 50+ hours a week I would not have time for class or studying.

    Then if I didn't work that much I would not be able to afford food to nourish myself and wouldn't be able to function...get it?

    So, for me it was student loans or no school. Matter of fact since my school is so expensive, not only did I have to max out the student loans allowed by Uncle Sam but, I also had to pile on an alternative lender loan too! I am paying for my rent, food and tuition and school fees.

    I am totally living off of my loans but, the alternative, dropping out and giving up on my goals...settling...is not worth it.

    I also agree that the diploma looks good financially now, but, if you have the option to go for the accelerated BSN, (isn't that one year?) Is the diploma program the standard three year? So, in 12 months you can earn the BSN or you can live for three more years as a student earning little and incurring a service dept for three more years and you will still not have the BSN.

    It doesn't really seem like a tough choice unless there are other factors going on in your life which may influence it.

    Good luck,
    Gen
  5. by   Gennaver
    Quote from clee1
    It is NEVER a "smart" idea to run up debt; whether for a car, or a house, or a new boat, or for clothing, etc. etc. ad nauseam - and that includes school (although I admit that school is a less dumb reason to run up a debt than most). However, it may be the only way to achieve your goal(s). If that is the case, what is "smart" is to run up as little debt as you possibly can, and pay off what debt you do run up as quickly as is possible.
    Hello,
    Your view is one way to look at it.

    Another way to look at it is that money is a tool to be used appropriately. I mean it isn't as if she is out buying with not eventual means to repay.

    If you happen to feel that purchasing a car or a house or school is foolish, then I respect your choice not to purchase them.

    However, our economy is strongly influenced by purchasing, wisely, on credit and our mortgages, and financing things are the base of many of our economical financing institutions.

    Besides, managing your credit/income and so forth is as a tool, not as a sin.

    In my opinion, I mean, if I were to have avoided taking loans, such as for my first and third and fourth cars, (all of which were paid off in full) then I would not have been able to get to my multiple jobs...had I not taken loans then I would never have earned my undergraduate degree or been able to go to graduate school. I would still be a minimum wage, non-insured textile worker with no benefits and pinching pennies to eat my weekly ration of rice and potatoes with a little crunchy peanut butter thrown on top for protien and fat!

    If you happen to have been fortunate to be able to miraculously afford tuition and books then congratulations. I was not.

    As I mentioned, I respect your choice, it is not one that I have the luxury of choosing for myself though.
    Gen
  6. by   Gennaver
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Clee1 offered the best advice: if you are going to do it, use as little as possible. Pay now or pay later.
    Also, a degree does not mean you will get a good paying job. Of course, to be a nurse, you must have some sort of degree or diploma, but a person's financial future is not determined by a degree. I know a guy from high school who makes $80k a year cleaning carpets. I know a woman who didn't even finish high school who makes $25/hr cleaning houses.
    You could clean houses on the weekends and help pay for school.
    Yes, you could .
    Hello Motorcycle mama,

    We all make different choices. Sure, I cleaned houses and even with it was unable to afford school.

    At one time I had a great fear of debt, until I realized that money is a tool and can be used or abused. I for one would never own a house because it is not a money generator, only a money vaccuum. However for me, student loans were not a money vaacuum.

    I might just have easily taken the loans for school regardless if I ended up maintaining my same old minimum wage jobs after graduation in order to pay them off, (managing them) because the education wasn't just in order to earn a better salary.

    Our society doesn't value education, on the whole, that is sure. If it did, we wouldn't strap folks to life long debts for school.

    Oh, I have whopper debt for school too. My undergraduate tuition was 20K a year. My graduate tuition comes to the same, plus for my graduate I had to borrow my living costs on top of the tuition.

    Maybe some folks can do it but, for me, in order to afford the 20K yearly tuition and then the living costs on top of that, (my monthly rent alone is 1K) I needed loans.

    My current program is a 22 month full time program with over 100 credit hours, the total tuition alone is 42K. This doesn't include books, uniforms or fees.

    Also, yes, I do have a phone, that costs too, (yet, is it wise to live without a phone?) I also buy coffee and even eat potato chips sometimes! All on student loan money, oh and I do purchase milk, eggs, fruit and veggies all on that student loan money. I didn't live so high off the hog for my undergraduate loans-cost of living-but, I realize that ya just can't starve yourself forever.

    Thing is, I have a paid off car that I am not driving because my auto ins ran out...that is a luxury that I need in order to drive. However I am risking it by not having health insurance right now...

    I DO encourage wise borrowing though, because it is a tool and a risk. Kind of like buying a house is a risk too.
    Gen
    Last edit by Gennaver on Dec 5, '06
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    In my first nursing program, I rented a room in a boarding house. I shared a kitchen with a bunch of strangers. I had a small, private bathroom with a plastic camper shower in it. I learned that if you want to keep your housemates from eating your ice cream, put in in a brown paper bag and label it "brussel sprouts"!

    I just said no to loans, but gladly accepted a Pell Grant and two merit scholarships.

    Owning a home can be a big money generator. For example a house purchased in Phoenix in the year 2000 for $150,000. now sells for >$300,000.
  8. by   sunnyjohn
    I either start nursing school January 8th or May 20th (depending on which program I pick).My school is a 15 month direct-entry Masters. The total cost is $40,000 which included uniforms, all testing fees, insurance and 90% of our books.

    Since July I have been applying for scholarships. My goal is to apply to 250 scholarships by May 2007. No matter how small the amount, I apply. Even if I don't quite fit the bill, I apply. Who know's? Lightning may strike since more thatn half of scholarship money goes unawarded.

    So far I have been awarded a grand total of $400. I did get all my shots, CPR, physical and application fees covered.

    The big scholarships will be announced in March and April. I am hoping two pull in two big ones each worth about $10k each and some of the smaller ones.

    I plan on living on $1,000 a month. That includes rent, utilities, food, gas, car insurance and basic phone service. My parents live out of the country so they will send me phone cards to pay for long distance.

    I have been saving every spare dime in my HSBC savings account which awards 5.1%. That interest has bumped my "nursing school savings account" considerably. If I don't get enough in scholarship money and savings I paln on borrowing and putting that in the HSBC account. The interest will make it so I can borrow way less and stretch the money further.

    I'm hoping I won't have to borrow more than $5-10K
  9. by   ARMYLPN
    Here is a good site to research money for school Nursing Scholarship Search - Discover Nursing.
  10. by   jo272wv
    I just graduated in may from a four year BSN program. Being 42 at the start of the program I knew I could not have worked full time and study so I applied for extra student loans that gave me ten thousand extra dollars to live on plus I worked and brought home another three hundred dollars. Know I owe fourty thousand which will be two hundred and fifty dollars a month for the next twenty five years. I plan to pay it off early so I am not worried. My advice to you is to choose the program you think is right for you and then figure out how much money you can live on while in school. Only you can know if you can work and go to school at the same time. Everyones situation and how much study is needed to do well is different. I did what was right for me and I am sure you will do the same.

    Good luck in your choices
  11. by   Multicollinearity
    I think the horror stories I have seen with student loans are with students who get degrees that don't go with a decent paying jobs. Of course there are exceptions, but if you are getting a BA in psychology, sociology, social work, art history, etc, your chances of paying the loans back and supporting yourself are NOT good. A nursing degree on the other hand, has good prospects (on average) for paying back loans and supporting yourself.

    I've heard a general rule that you shouldn't borrow more than what you will earn your first year. Of course the danger in stating guidelines like that is that some will say "oh...I can borrow more." That's not the idea.

    I have to admit I'm a bit surprised by some who would not take out any student loans even if it means not going to college. I look at my family and friends, and most of us were entirely self-supporting during college. Very few had parents who were able or took responsibility for helping with education. Without student loans we wouldn't be in the careers we have today. One of my friends, a teacher, had about 40k in loans when she graduated. She chose special education because she could get partial loan forgiveness teaching in underserved areas. She paid off the remainder herself. None of my friends have been unable to pay off their loans. But they all had degrees which went with actual employment, LOL.

    I think it's important to note that we all have different abilities regarding work and school. Just because one person can work quite a bit during school doesn't mean everyone can. Sadly, I think the experience of going away to college and immersing yourself in your studies full-time (plus more!) and that being your full-time job is fading with so many students working. Also, many students trying to get into competitive programs cannot work much and maintain top grades to be competitive to gain admission. A bit of student loans may be worth it is these situations.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Dec 5, '06
  12. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from Gennaver
    Hello Motorcycle mama,

    I DO encourage wise borrowing though, because it is a tool and a risk. Kind of like buying a house is a risk too.
    Gen
    You do not become prosperous by accumulating debt...of any kind.
    Someone will catch where I got this from, I'm sure, but these are words to live by:

    If you always live like the middle class, you will always be middle class (car payments, 90 days same as cash-which by the way 90% of these deals turn into payments, and then the interest rate is through the roof-VISA and Mastercard...)

    If you live like a rich person (frugality, living within your means, hey, did you know most millionaires overwhelmingly don't do car paymentsand and drive 2+ yr old American cars?) in time, you will be one of those rich people. Uh, providing you are young enough to reap the benefits of saving and can get good control over your finances so you don't have to blow your families inheritence so you can stay in the nursing home....anyway...

    it's your debt, not mine.
  13. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    You do not become prosperous by accumulating debt...of any kind.
    Someone will catch where I got this from, I'm sure, but these are words to live by:

    If you always live like the middle class, you will always be middle class (car payments, 90 days same as cash-which by the way 90% of these deals turn into payments, and then the interest rate is through the roof-VISA and Mastercard...)

    If you live like a rich person (frugality, living within your means, hey, did you know most millionaires overwhelmingly don't do car paymentsand and drive 2+ yr old American cars?) in time, you will be one of those rich people. Uh, providing you are young enough to reap the benefits of saving and can get good control over your finances so you don't have to blow your families inheritence so you can stay in the nursing home....anyway...

    it's your debt, not mine.
    I'm trying to understand what your viewpoint is, Motorcycle Mama. Are you arguing that it is bad to take out any student loans?

    Let's look at a real-life example. My cousin graduated from law school with about $80,000 in student loans. He certainly didn't spend money frivilously in school, in fact he purchased his clothing at Goodwill, and he lived in a crappy apartment with several other students. Anyway, coming from our poor family - it was up to him to finance the entire thing. There's no way he could have worked to save up enough money for law school. He couldn't work during the semester and pass. He did work summers. Anyway, he paid off his student loans a few years ago. He earns about $200,000 per year now. If I am understanding your argument...he shouldn't have taken on those student loans? Where would he be? A high school grad earning $30k per year? I'm trying to understand your viewpoint.

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