how do you afford to live while in school?

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    am starting (at 45yrs old) nursing prereq's. Plan to drop my dead-end, full time job when I get into full-time nurse school. I have to totally support myself. I have a good amount of savings and wonder how anyone can support themselves on financial aid/loans/grants/whatever while getting through school. THe only thing I really worry about is being able to live (pay rent, bills, food) while in school. THe school part is actually not a problem financially.

    I am going to need help paying for living expenses. Can "financial aid" pay for it all without much ordeal? Will that be my one big stumbling block?

    This is my huge question and appreciate all wisdom.

    Thank you.
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  3. 18 Comments so far...

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    I worked fulltime and went to school fulltime for my first year of nursing. Not an easy thing to do. Other options and loans and grants. It is possible to live off of loans. I am now only working perdiem for the last year, and will be getting some loans to help with the difference.
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    Nursing school is very difficult..Life would be easier if you just lived off student loans for a few years...The way, RNs are getting paid, you should not have a problem paying it off when you get a job..Good Luck..
    FutureNurseK likes this.
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    Full time school and work? How ever did you sleep or do homework!
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    Thank you Bala. I have seen many hospitals repay loans as a perk, but... better to do it debt free if possible. I'm new to this. I will try.
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    Quote from gordonarkell
    Full time school and work? How ever did you sleep or do homework!

    Many of us FT school and work.. plus many of us have kids and other responsibilities too!! Its not easy.
    Last edit by agent on May 23, '06
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    I'm 27 and I'm starting nursing school this fall. I was fortunate and had a good job in telecom in management. For the past few years I was very frugal and tried to save enough money to cover my monthly expenses for 2 years in anticipation of being accepted to nursing school. I have a mortgage, utilities, need to eat, etc. Car's paid for, thank goodness! I worked FT until I got most of my prerequisites done. I quit my job midway through my fall semester last year because it was overwhelming me (Microbiology and A&P II - What was I thinking?). I quickly found out that what I had saved wasn't going to last through December of 2007 (my expected graduation time). So, I applied for financial aid and student loans. This semester, I'm getting around $2500 from a few grant programs and that pretty much covers my tuition and most of my books for my fall semester. Additionally, since the 2006-2007 school year is technically my 3rd year, I qualified to borrow up to $10,500 in Stafford Loans. I figured I didn't need that much, but I did request enough to cover my Spring semester tuition, a portion for books, and an amount so I would receive a refund and can use that money for my living expenses. Additionally, because the state of NV has one of the worst nurse:patient ratios in the US, the state has a grant program funded by tax dollars that I can apply for this year and they award a significant amount of money to be applied toward tuition (balance is refunded to me) if I agree to work in the state for 2 years after I graduate. I figure I'll probably be working here at least 2 years once I become an RN, so that state program is very appealing...they grant $4600.

    If you receive grant/scholarship or loan monies in excess of what your tuition costs, you should receive a check or direct deposit for the balance, so you can somewhat control how much money you get for living expenses based upon how much of the eligible loan amounts you request.

    Check with your financial aid department - I think you'd be surprized at some of the scholarship or grants that are available. There are some available to male nursing students, in particular, because this is considered a "non-traditional" profession for men. Good luck!
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    Working and going to school is a necessity for me. I can simply not afford to not pay my bills. I have to have a place to live and we bought a house last summer so my half of the mortgage is expensive as all hell. Financially, my partner and I are not in a position to allow me not to work. I thought about taking my last semester off from work if i can get that far. I start classes tonight for 3rd term and have only fall and spring left til I graduate after this, but if i think about it, and the number of classmates i have that were able to simply not work anymore, it ticks me off. Only because I am jealous of their opportunity to have time to to devote to things like they should. The grant programs in my state would allow me to work only part time and still make my bills, but they require fulltime status enrollment. Most of the pre-req's have to be done before you can get admitted to the program I am in, all I have left is nursing classes and they don't meet the fulltime enrollment requirement. My partner graduated the same program I am in and worked the entire time managing 4 group homes. Sometimes I think my head may break open and make a really big mess, but I try to keep my eyes on the prize here and know that the time that remains is limited. you have to find what works for you, and best of luck to you in doing that.
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    I just enrolled in my accelerated program yesterday. (That was a circus that I will save for another post.) I would advise you to research available scholarships to cut down on the amount you have to borrow. I was fortunate enough to receive a pretty significant scholarship, and will be applying for a couple of others soon. Do you have a degree already? If so, that pretty much cuts you out of most federal grants, you're left with loans and any scholarships you can find.

    I am proud of my independence, but not too proud. I also hit my parents up for assistance. :spin: I realize this is not an option for everyone, but fortunately it was for me!

    I am not planning to work this summer, as we will be doing 14 hours of course work in about 10 weeks. (Yikes, I'm scared!) After the fall semester begins, I may try to find some part time work to cut down on the loans even more.
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    I am fortunate enough to have been able to quit my job entirely. My generous father-in-law has been paying my school costs AND living costs. My wife is in the process of getting a small job and my GI Bill is rolling in to help supplement as well. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law have volunteered their time to watch our daughter when we need a sitter. This has all been done so that I can devote as much time as possible on doing well in school. I am grateful for all the help but at the same time I kind of feel like I sold my soul


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