Living off student loans smart idea or not?

  1. 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!
    •  
  2. 46 Comments

  3. by   Epona
    Here is my take on it. I am starting a BSN program in Jan. and already have a BS in another discipline.

    Diploma programs are usually cheaper and not as long. BSN programs cost more and can take longer. They are usually waits at both (except private colleges) and the competition is tough.

    Both will take you on the path to being an RN. The BSN will allow you the possibilty to work in research or management positions. I have heard, but don't this for a fact, that BSN grads. make a little more money (perhaps someone else can clarify on this).

    You can live off student loans or not. That is question you have to ask yourself. Can you make it on your own?? How expensive is the school? Your living expeses? Do you have help? Those are questions only you can answer. There are loans out there that will cover living expenses and school. I am using one myself.

    From what I have heard, most diploma RN's do try and go on to get their BSN. If you can, it might be worth it to just do the BSN program and be done with it. It will cost more and could take longer, but again you need to evalulate YOUR situation and see what works best for you.

    Good luck!! Epona

    :icon_razz:
  4. by   DaisyRN, ACNP
    My husband and I view students loans as an INVESTMENT.
  5. by   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.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I have done student loans twice - once for my ADN at a private college (no waiting lists) because hubby was going to be moving again. I racked up $11,000. However, I also worked full-time as an LPN during this time.

    Then...I decided to further my education with a BSN, an MSN and eventually a post-MSN certificate. In this endeavor, I have $45,000 in loans. However, my earning potential is much more and I should be able to pay them off in 5-10 years and since I plan to work another 20 years, I should be fine. Again...I just took out the loans for the actual school itself and worked fulltime as an RN.

    At any rate, it is your decision. However, if possible, I would definitely go for the BSN over the diploma just because it gives you more options.
  7. by   CanadaProud
    I'm currently in Nursing School and am mostly working off loans. After my first year I was able to work as PSW which helped to pay back some of the money I owed before incurring more. It is tough to start a career with loans I am sure, but there aren't many options available all of the time.
    Anyways, $11,300/year sounds like a LOT of money to me... is this normal where you are from? I am paying approx. $5500/year where I am (in Canada).. just wondering if that is an average tuition price.

    Take Care
    CanadaProud
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    I would do the diploma school and not sign the contract with the hospital.
  9. by   Jo Dirt
    Who wants to run up debt? Why would anyone feel content taking years or even decades to pay off a student loan?
    Student loans are not investments. Student loans are debts. How smart will it feel to owe tens of thousands of dollars after you graduate? Some people feel you can't go to school without having student loans. There are people who get through school with very little to no debt. I got through RN school with no debt. No, I wasn't able to do this because my life is easier than everyone else's. I was (and still am) the sole wage earner and I lived like a pauper with my invalid husband and three children. But I can say that I graduated having paid my way through. I work with nurses who live with car loans, student loans, credit card debt...you don't become prosperous through accumulating debt, and you shouldn't settle for it as something that can't be avoided. It can most always be avoided.
    Some people will say, oh, you can't put a price on education! These people don't take into consideration that the guy waiting on their table is likely to have a college degree and a student loan debt of tens of thousands of dollars.
    Heck yes! You can put a price on education.
    A nurse's salary may seem like a lot now, but trust me, it is not going to put you uptown, and it is never easy or convenient when it comes time to pay the piper.
    Stay away from the debt monster.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    There is a different 'right' solution for each individual person. It's pretty predictable here on the forum...answers like "debt is bad, I did it without debt so that means you can"...to "I had student loans and I couldn't have done without them."

    You'll figure out what works best for you. It's worth noting that many many college grads wouldn't have been able to get their degrees without student loans. Also - I saw a study recently where people with college degrees and those without were asked if a bachelor's degree is worth $50,000 in student loans. Most of those holding bachelor's degrees said yes and most of the non-college grads said no. Food for thought.

    As far as signing the commitment for tuition reimbursement...now that is something that *I* would not do. In my area, the sign on bonuses for new grads (without any commitment) roughly equals what the tuition reimbursement would have been. So if you can hang in there and take out student loans to pay your tuition, your new grad RN sign on bonus can pay it back. The hospitals in my area are giving out roughly the same amount (tuition reimbursement v. new grad sign on bonus). Pay my tuition now (with employment contract) or pay me later (new grad RN sign on bonus) without a commitment. Make sense?

    Also, I can see why one would say that student loans can be an investment. If college grads make on average about 20k more per year than high school grads then the difference in earning power really does make the debt of student loans pay for itself in a few years. Gotta be really careful though.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Dec 4, '06
  11. by   Jo Dirt
    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 .
  12. by   sunnyjohn
    Borrow as little as possible.

    Trust me, you need less than you think to get by. Mac & Cheese and Ramen won't kill you.

    I don't hate student loan, but I don't think you should try to keep up a standard of living while in nursing school using borrowed money.
  13. by   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!
  14. by   mom23RN
    If it were me I would go for the diploma program. You'll be done quicker, working quicker, and less debt. Once you're working you will find many hospitals do have tuition reimbursement so they'll pay part of your tuition to go on for your BSN later.

    good luck with your decision. I would certainly hate to come out of school owing a ton of money. :uhoh21:

close