Living off student loans smart idea or not? - page 4

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   nursemike
    My advice to anyone contemplating NS is to be as focused as you can and to marshall your resources. I learned to look upon pretty much everything as a resource: money, time, sleep, etc., and to ask myself "Will this help me get through school?"
    I was fortunate to have a job that could schedule around school fairly well, and since I worked in a hospital I got some help with tuition reimbursement. But I had to cut back to 24hrs a week, so I needed to borrow some money to help with living during the two years I was in school. Ended up with a 15000 dollar debt, which costs about 175/month to pay back. I don't miss that money a bit--I could cover it by working 4hrs of "on-call".
    I didn't live in luxury during school, but having the cash to cover things like car repairs and carry-out dinners made it a lot easier to focus on stuff like careplans and term papers. A lot of times I had to get by on 3-4 hours of sleep, so finding time to bake bread from scratch wasn't really an option.
    There are also a lot of expenses in nursing school beyound tuition and books. A computer and internet service are pretty much necessities. A PDA is not a necessity, but it's a very handy tool (I keep a drug guide and Taber's encyclopedia on mine, plus some other stuff I don't use nearly as much). Even getting uniforms washed for clinicals requires time and money.
    For most of my life, the idea of going 15000 in debt would have scared me to death, but there's a huge difference between student loans and credit card debt (besides the huge difference in interest rates). Money borrowed to finance frills is bad news. Money borrowed to meet basic, on-going expenses means you need desperately to cut expenses and/or increase income. But if you could borrow money at 2% interest to invest in a CD at 8% interest, you'd be stupid not to, right? Borrowing money for school isn't quite the no-brainer as that (unfortunately hypothetical) example, but I made back the amount I borrowed in my first year. Which isn't to say I paid my loan off in a year--the interest rate is so favorable, it didn't really make sense to, and after all my hard work getting through school, I don't really care to live like a pauper just to pay my loan off quicker.
  2. by   jesika23
    I currently live off of my student loans and I wouldnt say its the best way to go, but for me its one of the only ways. I think its up to you. As far as the diploma program I personally would rather go straight for the BSN. I have a BS in Public health as well. I could not find any jobs that didnt want you to have a nursing license. I think that going for the diploma will limit you and you will eventually be going back for the BSN which may cost you more money in the end. If its the loans your worried about I think you have some good advice on here about working for extra money and limiting your spendings. However I am using a lot of my extra to pay off my other debt that has higher interest rates than my loan does. At least if I am going to be paying all this money then I will be free from the credit card debt and so forth. Good luck
  3. by   prinzessdy
    I also have lived off of student loans during my clinical portion of nursing school which was 3 years. My school cost appr. 20,000 a year and I did some undergrad premed things at another school for a couple of years so I have about 60,000+ in student loans. I think that about 15,000 is a federal perkins loan (forgiven) and I am looking at a few hospitals that offer loan fogiveness in the amounts of 20,000. It sucks but I had to take out the student loans to get thru school. I dont have any credit cards, loan payments or carpayments. I am also a single mother so thats how I had to play my cards
    Last edit by prinzessdy on Dec 11, '06 : Reason: ETA
  4. by   sas15
    Definitely take as little as possible!! We HAD to go with student loans for my education b/c with my husband's income we didn't qualify for pell grants. BUT...it wasn't enough to pay for tuition. We have 6 kids and that can be pretty expensive!! My education was something I decided to do after my kids were all in school and I don't regret it one bit, but I do wish we could have somehow managed with less student loans than we ended up taking out!! Good luck!!
  5. by   bananabubbletea
    medical field degrees are expensive and require more study time , there is no way i can work over 20 hr per week with a toddler and husband and pass nursing school. I will have faith and take the loans and budget wisely as an rn
  6. by   patrick1rn
    Take the loan, study and do good in class and clinicals, but remember your living on borrowed money, Not a good way to live, but your investing in yourself, If it was me, I would say that I am the best investment that their is, so yea go for it.
  7. by   Jules A
    I can only offer my opinion that living off loans is not an investment. Loans for tuition if you don't have savings or scholarships is one thing but not working at all? Nope. In the four years I was in school I would have lost aprox. $120,000 in wages if I had quit my job plus any loans for tuition or living expenses. I would not have gone back to school if I needed to quit my job to "focus on school". I'm an adult and while I had a lot on my plate, to me, the sacrifice of my time and sweat equity was worth it to graduate debt free.

    If you are considering this do yourself a favor and first read the threads about people drowing in school debt on a new nurses salary. I know no one wants to consider failure as an option but I went to school with a lady that quit her job and used her retirement account to pay bills while she did pre-reqs and then started nursing school. Well she failed out in our second year with over $30,000 in debt, three years in lost wages and only a CNA certificate to show for it. Not such a good investment, imo.
  8. by   ddusin
    student loans can be dangerous! believe me i know :chuckle

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