Terrified about student loan debt. ADVICE

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    It has always been my dream to be a nurse and I'm hoping to one day become a nurse practitioner or CRNA (nurse anesthetist). Right now I'm in my second year of college, but I will probably be in school for three more years for my BSN due to some unsatisfactory grades and immaturity my freshman year, and I wasn't able to get a scholarship. I have been financing my education solely on student loans. Tuition and living expenses add up to about 22K per year. My parent's income is too high for me to get grants, but they can't afford to fund my education because they're in debt and only one parent is employed. I tried getting a job but it was just too overwhelming with the difficult classes, and the money didn't amount to much. I also am unable to live at home due to some family problems, won't go into detail but it's really not an option. I've been trying to get good grades to get this full ride nursing scholarship, but there's no guarantee it will work out. I'm currently about 30K in debt, if I finish school solely on loans it will be 130K in debt. This idea makes me cringe and I don't know if I should stay in school or it's just a bad idea! I'm trying to get an education ad achieve my dream of becoming a nurse, but I don't want to ruin my life!
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  4. 51 Comments so far...

  5. 7
    I would suggest going to school part time and working so that you don't put yourself in that much debt. As a general rule, you should not take out student loans totaling more than your expected first year's salary.
    Cut your expenses the best you can. Get a CNA certification and work doing that or something so you can afford to live and go to school. It is NOT worth $130K in student loan debt (that would be a $1300/month payment for 10 years!!!). Avoid private loans as best you can. Work and do school part time, and sock away what you can for now to put toward your education later.
    What kind of school are you looking at for your nursing degree? It might be worthwhile to look at an ADN program at a community college, and go back for your BSN then your master's later. Plus, most APNs have an easier time finding work if they have experience as an RN prior to school.
    Be patient. You're young, and you have time on your side. You already have $30k in debt (!!!!!!!!), DO NOT add to it if you can avoid it at all. Save money, pay what you can toward the existing debt, and you will get there eventually. It is NOT worth the stress that will come from racking up that much debt. Plus, what happens if something bad comes up, like your car engine blows or something else? Life throws us curve balls. You'll be SO much happier in the end if you can come out of this without all that debt.
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    I strongly agree with the previous poster. You are right to be worried about so much debt. It could cripple your financially for the rest of your life. Do not do it.

    You don't have to abandon your dream -- just slow it down a bit so that you don't have to take on so much debt. Drop down to part time while you work to help pay the bills ... or transfer to a cheaper school. You are young and have lots of time -- and lots of options.
    alindberg, lhflanurse, and OCNRN63 like this.
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    Student loans are a necessary evil for many people, including myself. Without federal student loans, I would not be able to attend college. That being said.. The college you attend is very pricey! (In my opinion anyways). Before you start actual nursing courses, you may want to look at more affordable options. Once you start nursing courses, nursing courses themselves are unlikely to transfer. Prereqs are much more likely (though not guaranteed) to transfer. I currently attend a public university in Texas (BSN program). My entire degree will cost around $26,000. To me that seems like so much.. I couldn't imagine owing that much for one year! For some, the school and program are meaningful and worth it to them, but if you are concerned maybe it is a good idea to research other, more affordable options. $130,000 seems like an massive amount
    of debt to accumulate for a nursing degree of any type! (ASN,BSN, or MSN!). (For reference, my sister is finishing up her M.D. and PhD at the end of this year (after obtaining a BS and MS) and will owe a combined approx $120,000).
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    Can u work and reduce expenses until you get to your clinicals for your undergrad? It will be hard but not impossible if u get your expenses low enough so that you only have to work part time.

    Federal loans only pay $57000 max for undergrad. I'm set to max that out getting my BSN, because I already had student loan debt from an incompleteness bachelors from the 1990s!

    I, too, plan to hopefully continue my education do become an FNP.

    What I decided to do is earn my LVN (LPN) license so I can work throughout the remainder of my RN education at a decent rate. Part time LVN work pays pretty decent in my area.

    I just started working as an LVN and go back to the State university to finish my BSN in a few weeks.

    Hope this helps!
    kywoodrd and llg like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from RunBabyRun
    I would suggest going to school part time and working so that you don't put yourself in that much debt. As a general rule, you should not take out student loans totaling more than your expected first year's salary. Cut your expenses the best you can. Get a CNA certification and work doing that or something so you can afford to live and go to school. It is NOT worth $130K in student loan debt (that would be a $1300/month payment for 10 years!!!). Avoid private loans as best you can. Work and do school part time, and sock away what you can for now to put toward your education later. What kind of school are you looking at for your nursing degree? It might be worthwhile to look at an ADN program at a community college, and go back for your BSN then your master's later. Plus, most APNs have an easier time finding work if they have experience as an RN prior to school. Be patient. You're young, and you have time on your side. You already have $30k in debt (!!!!!!!!), DO NOT add to it if you can avoid it at all. Save money, pay what you can toward the existing debt, and you will get there eventually. It is NOT worth the stress that will come from racking up that much debt. Plus, what happens if something bad comes up, like your car engine blows or something else? Life throws us curve balls. You'll be SO much happier in the end if you can come out of this without all that debt.
    Can I ask what is so wrong about obtaining a private student loan compared to a federal loan? I've heard this from multiple sources but not one has given me a decent answer. I'm sorry but I don't know much about financing of education because up until this point I have paid out of pocket however I am in my final year of an ADN program and I just can't afford it any more. I don't qualify for federal funding due to a prior degree so I don't really have any options besides private funding or working full time while going to school full time which is not for me (I tried and failed). The interest rates are comparable and the repayment does not begin until 6 months after graduation just like federal loans. What's so bad about private loans?
  10. 5
    Quote from christina731
    Can I ask what is so wrong about obtaining a private student loan compared to a federal loan? I've heard this from multiple sources but not one has given me a decent answer.
    Student loan debt cannot be discharge through bankruptcy -- so you have to pay it back (with interest) no matter what happens in your future. And when you get those loans from private sources, those sources are free to change the terms of the loan, raise the interest rate, sue you for payments, etc. The federal government is limited in how far they can go to get you to re-pay your loan and have a variety of programs to help former students who have trouble re-paying their loans. The private don't have to be so kind -- and often aren't.
    RubySlippers06, Esme12, OCNRN63, and 2 others like this.
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    Private loan holders do not have to work with you if you have a hardship. You can almost always rehabilitate a federally subsidized loan.

    Private loan holders can play hard ball with you if you miss payments--- just like the way a car loan holder will repossess your car and still hold you responsible for the debt and the way a mortgage holder will foreclose your home.

    Federally subsidized loan Servicers are required to work with you (read: reduce payments and add the past due to the back end) if you are back in school or experiencing a financial hardship.

    I hope this helps!!
    RunBabyRN, kywoodrd, and llg like this.
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    Thanks for your responses. I figured a student loan was a student loan whether it came from the government or from a bank. I was aware of all of these stipulations however I didn't know that they applied to private loans only. Unfortunately I have applied for, been denied, appealed and have still been denied for federal loans so I don't really have a choice but to get a private loan or quit school. I didn't know that the government can give you a loan and you could default on it due to hardship without major repercussions. Maybe that's part of the problem in our wonderful country. But that's a topic for a different forum
  13. 4
    Quote from christina731
    Thanks for your responses. I figured a student loan was a student loan whether it came from the government or from a bank. I was aware of all of these stipulations however I didn't know that they applied to private loans only. Unfortunately I have applied for, been denied, appealed and have still been denied for federal loans so I don't really have a choice but to get a private loan or quit school. I didn't know that the government can give you a loan and you could default on it due to hardship without major repercussions. Maybe that's part of the problem in our wonderful country. But that's a topic for a different forum
    That's not what they wrote. You CAN NOT default on a student loan. The only way to successfully default is to die. There are some loan forgiveness programs but the bottom line is whatever you borrow, you pay back with interest. So, borrow as little as possible.
    KelRN215, saraCOS, alindberg, and 1 other like this.


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