student loans: are they reimbursed later?

  1. Hi everyone,
    I am a complete novice who is just getting started here. Please forgive me if I am posting this in the wrong place.

    I am a full-time teacher who wants to go to nursing school nights, weekends and summers. I am not a rich lady, obviously (see statistics on teacher salaries...lol)

    I am wondering how to pay for this. I can probably scrape together cash to pay for a few classes at a time or charge it to a credit card. But I thought I read somewhere that if you do student loans, then when you start working, many places will do loan forgiveness.

    Is that true? I am nervous about the idea of racking up a bunch of debt on student loans. Yet, if I paid for it out of my own pocket as I go, I would be mad later on if I took a job at a hospital for instance, and found out that I could have had the whole loan "forgiven" and paid off as a sign on bonus, for instance.

    So my question is... if you're starting out as a nurse, and you go to work for hospitals, do they pay off your loans as a hiring incentive?

    Are hospitals still doing sign on bonuses, and if so, how much are they generally?

    Thanks for any advice anyone can offer. I appreciate it!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   MBARNBSN
    Contact the local hospitals and facilities in your area to see what is offered. You also should check out tuition and fees at various Colleges and Universities.

    To answer your question, although you may only be eligible for one thing, yes many places still give sign on bonuses and have loan forgiveness plans. However, you may become angry later if you sign up for them because the pay back is usually nothing compared to the amount of debt students rack up attending schools.

    Usually students attend expensive schools and/or take out loans to cover cost of living. Plus, a big sign on bonus is usually an indication that the facility has a high turnover rate for a reason such as poor working conditions. Never mind the fact that the sign on bonuses are not enough to cover the amount of debt students take out either.

    If you can pay as you go, that is your best bet. Then you can receive a sign on bonus and it really will feel like a bonus. As a RN you can also sign up to have future tuition and fees paid while you further your education part-time as you work full-time in many places.

    I am working on my ADN and already have an MBA. I am paying cash. I will apply for several scholarship for both my ADN and my BSN but if I receive nothing, I am still able to make my tuition payments and cover costs. I have saved up over the years and I continue to work part-time until I receive my license, then I will work full-time again. Good luck!
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    Look at it this way...if you signed a contract and hated working at the hospital...you are stuck paying the loan back anyway.

    I looked at one nursing school where I could go for free if I signed a one-year contract....but I did not get to have a preference of where in the hospital I could work.

    That wasn't worth it to me.
  5. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    Look at it this way...if you signed a contract and hated working at the hospital...you are stuck paying the loan back anyway.

    I looked at one nursing school where I could go for free if I signed a one-year contract....but I did not get to have a preference of where in the hospital I could work.

    That wasn't worth it to me.
    I could do it for one year. It's those two, three and four year contracts that give me nightmares. :uhoh21:

    All contract have buy outs where you can pay back the money the hospital spent on your education. They can't force you to stay as long as you give them back the $!
  6. by   Sheri257
    Quote from busylady61
    Is that true? I am nervous about the idea of racking up a bunch of debt on student loans. Yet, if I paid for it out of my own pocket as I go, I would be mad later on if I took a job at a hospital for instance, and found out that I could have had the whole loan "forgiven" and paid off as a sign on bonus, for instance.

    So my question is... if you're starting out as a nurse, and you go to work for hospitals, do they pay off your loans as a hiring incentive?

    Are hospitals still doing sign on bonuses, and if so, how much are they generally?

    Thanks for any advice anyone can offer. I appreciate it!
    Watch out for these hospital deals. I know many of the people who have regretted signing them. For one thing ... what if you end up hating working there? And what if they pay less than other hospitals and you're stuck because you owe them a bunch of money?

    Just in the last year before we've graduated, other job opportunities have come up that pay much better. And once you do clinicals, that will often change your mind about where you want to work also.

    I think having your own debt that you control is much better .... because you may change your mind many times about jobs before graduating.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 3, '06
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    They can't force you to stay as long as you give them back the $!
    Yeah ... but you have to pay them back on their amortization schedule and at their interest rate. There are some hospital deals in my area where they demand you pay them back $167 a week if you quit.

    With your own debt you can refinance or whatever and set up the payments on your own terms. Maybe you could take out a separate loan to pay the hospital off but ... at that point, you might as well have set up the debt on your own anyway. It's just better to control your own debt on your own terms to begin with ... IMHO.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 3, '06
  8. by   llg
    When hospitals first started feeling the efffects of the current nursing shortage, some did start programs of loan repayment, sign-on options, etc. That has led to the public perception that "you can go to nursing school for free."

    However, as time has passed, many people have realized that such programs are not as good (for either the student or for the hospital) as people imagined them to be. There are many "down sides" and many of those programs have been scaled back or cancelled. And of course, many hospitals never had such programs to begin with.

    Check with you local employers to see what programs are available in your area. Maybe you'll be lucky and one will be right for you. But before you sign anything, make sure you read the fine print and work through how you will handle it if things don't work out the way you hope they will.

    If you do a search of this site, you should find lots of discussions of some of the problems people have had after signing such contracts.

    llg
  9. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    I could do it for one year. It's those two, three and four year contracts that give me nightmares. :uhoh21:

    All contract have buy outs where you can pay back the money the hospital spent on your education. They can't force you to stay as long as you give them back the $!
    Yup, but you have to read the fine print...while they can't force you to stay there, they can get a judgement against you for the payback for breach of contract and ruin your credit. Don't assume they will agree to a payment plan.
  10. by   busylady61
    Geeze... that is scary....

    Thanks for the input, everyone. Like most outsiders, I too was under the impression that "you can go to nursing school for free" if you have it reimbursed by a hospital, for instance. I didn't realize there was more to it than that. Thanks!
  11. by   Sheri257
    Quote from sunnyjohn
    I could do it for one year. It's those two, three and four year contracts that give me nightmares. :uhoh21:
    Try 5 years ... it's insane.

    This hospital which, of course is a hellhole, and a horrible place to work (I know because I worked there)

    And, of course, also has the lowest pay in the area ... bar none.

    Decided to exploit students on the waiting list. Since they're paying $30K per student to the school to give them extra slots ... these students have to pay $167 a week if they quit.

    That's over $700 a month for five years! ... Just to save maybe a year or two on the waiting list.

    I told these students not to take it but, only one of them listened to me. Now, of course, they're really regretting it.

    Meanwhile ... the student who did listen to me got bumped up on the waiting list. She's starting in January. In the end, the students who signed on to these bad deals probably only saved one or two semesters in waiting time.

    Talk about a bad deal!

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 3, '06

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