University of Minnesota BSN applicant / funding questions

  1. Hello!

    I'm an applicant for University of Minnesota's BSN program for this next fall. Long story...I'm an out of state student and really looking to get the most "bang for my buck" education-wise. I already have a non-nursing bachelor's. Yes, I know there's an entry-level MSN program but due to various constraints I'm only applying to the BSN program.

    For anybody who's gone through the BSN program at U of M - how was it? How prepared did you feel for the NCLEX? is really expensive! Especially if you're not in-state. Assuming I get in, how do you pay for all of this? I guess I'm not eligible for Pell grants as I already have a degree (even though I didn't apply for or receive financial aid the first time around).

    Any suggestions?

    I'd hate to graduate and then not be able to pay back my loans. I am very interested in eventually applying to a masters' program as well, so financial constraints might hamper my ability to finish my schooling. :uhoh21:

    I've also heard U of M has major budget cuts to contend with. How serious do you think these will be for future students?
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    About rainydaydream

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 23; Likes: 1


  3. by   bikelola
    hi rainydaydream,

    i can’t speak to what the program is like, but i can give you some ideas about the financial questions. unfortunately…i think your answer is loans, loans and more loans.

    hopefully, you can still get subsidized federal loans, which will make the payback period a little easier. if you didn’t receive any financial aid for your first degree, that means that you’re still eligible for the full amount that the government will loan, which is something like $60,000. one advantage to the entry-level master’s degree that the u offers is that since it’s graduate-level, you’re eligible for even more money in federal loans. (but—i know it’s not for everyone; i totally understand that!)

    i’m starting a post-baccalaureate nursing program next fall, and am in a similar situation. i already have a bachelor’s degree (from the u) and a healthy amount of student loans from that prior degree. those of us that already have degrees are at a significant disadvantage in going back for a second bachelor’s degree, since most non-loan financial aid is designed for those without a degree (and rightly so).

    the fairview system used to offer a sponsorship for select applicants in the u’s bsn program; i’m not sure if they still are or will in the future, with the current economic situation, but it’s worth a check. check out this site:
    you have to commit to working a certain amount of time in the fairview system to get a certain amount of money, but at least it’s a guaranteed job when you’re done!

    also, i’ve heard of something called “nursing loans” that are offered by the dept of health and human services (i think). from what i can tell, it’s up to the school for how they want to distribute them, but you might want to talk to someone on the school of nursing at the u, or the financial aid office and see if they can offer any insight.

    a happy thought, though, regarding the master’s degree—if you can work as an rn while you are in school for your master’s, then ideally your employer will pay for part of it with tuition reimbursement. just a thought there…

    as for the budget cuts at the u, i don’t know. tuition for undergrads has been rising astronomically in the last 6 years. i graduated with a ba in women’s studies in 2002, and i’m so glad i graduated when i did. i think tuition was something like $205 a credit when i graduated, and now it’s well over $300, almost $400, i think.. in fact, some of the private schools like st. kate’s and st. thomas are really not much cheaper per credit. i love the u, and really loved my experience there, but undergrads do bear the brunt of tuition increases.

    i hope the above was somewhat helpful! please feel free to pm me if you have any other questions…

    j lola
  4. by   rainydaydream
    Hi Lola,

    Thank you so much for your reply! I really just worry when making such a big investment of time and money....I really hope it pays off. The Fairview sponsorship sounds good. I've also heard of a few states that offer similar programs if you come to work in their state as an RN after graduation.

    I know what you mean about the quick increases in college pricing -- I think when I graduated at the end of 2005 the pricing for my university was about 75% of what it is today. I just can't believe how expensive it's become.

    What did you study the first time around at the U? ::edit:: I just noticed you'd answered that question already -- women's studies!
  5. by   bikelola
    Hi Rainydaydream,
    I totally understand your trepidation--I've been there! In fact, I kept talking myself out of it, which is why it's taken me about 5 years to get to this point of actually being done with prereqs and ready to start an actual nursing program.

    Have you considered any of the community colleges? Or the post-bac program at St. Kate's? Fairview offers a sponsorship with that program, too. And believe me--I've done the math, and it's not that much more expensive than another B degree from the U!

    What did you study the first time around? Yeah, I finally ended up with women's studies. I was a theatre major for a long time, though. I really enjoyed my courses, but I do wish I would've thought of this sooner!
  6. by   JesusNurse
    If you work at Chandler Regional Hospital in Arizona and I'm sure many hospitals elsewhere they'll pay for your ADN to BSN to MSN ect; you get the picture. I wouldn't worry so much about paying for your master's right now because reality is there is probably some hospital somewhere that'll pay for it, as long as you work for them. Not sure if you're wanting to work in a specific area but I would suggest looking into it!

    Best of Luck!
  7. by   rainydaydream
    ...well, I made it in!

    I'm still not sure if I'll go -- it's very expensive and I don't yet know my funding options. I'd hate to graduate with too much debt.

    I'm also considering spending more time on prerequisites and applying for a PharmD program as then I'm pretty sure I could pay the debts off. If I could somehow combine pharmacy and nursing it would be ideal, especially if I can figure out the funding side of things....

    Hopefully I'll just find a big bag of money and pay cash for an education.
  8. by   bikelola
    Congrats rainy! I'm very happy for you. How long to you have to decide whether or not to accept? Good luck in making your decision.

    As an aside, I was thinking that your mention of a PharmD was interesting--that's something I've considered, too, but the calculus prereq gets me every time. I'd have to take like, 8 math classes just to get to calc!

    Good luck. Let us know if you want to hash out your decision on the boards!

  9. by   rainydaydream
    I think I could use some suggestions.

    Here are my considerations:

    -I don't have a ton of cash saved. My cash savings won't even cover an entire year of college.

    -My personal strengths: I'm pretty sure I don't want to do hospital work. I might be interested in clinical work, or continuing my education to be a nurse practitioner after finishing a BSN. I really am more interested in the less dirty work (yes, I know, I'm sure everybody else is too). I originally thought I was cut out for hospital work, but after taking the bus with the mentally ill and homeless for the past year (where I'm from we have many, and many are not clean and harmless...and I'm afraid many might be those who end up in ER often), I'm realizing this might just not be for me. The hands-off side of things is probably part of why pharmacy interests me, too. I do want to help people with advice and medical knowledge, but I don't want to be cleaning bedpans. I like the fact that nurses make a direct difference in the quality of care patients receive -- that care can be the most defining factor of a stay at the hospital. I'm sort of torn about nursing this way - I want to make a difference but I don't know what I can personally handle.

    -Nursing costs: I will be out-of-state for UMN's BSN program -- three years for a BSN would amount to about $45k in tuition, which would be a lot of loans in comparison with the pay for a BSN right out of school. I could potentially go for 1 year then take a year off to get residency. If I took a year off to get residency, my costs could be more like $35k for nursing school tuition.

    -Nursing potential: I'm afraid I might just want to jump back in the fire and finish a nurse practitioner program right after a BSN...a very expensive proposition, which still wouldn't put me on par with salary for a pharmacist.

    -Pharmacy prerequisites: As far as pharmacy, I do have really good grades and could finish the calculus requirements within 2 classes. Unfortunately, all the other prerequisites (like o-chem) would take me an additional 2 years at community college (in-state tuition is the same as out-of-state for community college...about $5.5k per year).

    -Pharmacy costs/time: Community college tuition would come to about $11k. After that, I would need to take 1 year off for application and making sure I was in-state. After that 1 year, if I get in, it would be an additional 3 years plus 1 year of residency. Pharmacy school tuition would cost about $78k for in-state tuition. All told, I could be a pharmacist in about 7 years whereas I could be a nurse in 3 years. Pharmacy school plus my prerequisites will set me back about $89k for tuition alone whereas nursing would be about $45k. Still, with pharmacy, I would make much more overall for the rest of my life.

    -Nursing salaries vs. pharmacist salaries are vastly different:

    -I'm not getting any younger! I don't want them now, but I'm thinking if I wanted to start a family, my biological potential to do so (without fertility drugs...which I don't want to deal with) will be pretty much nil in about 9 years. I'd ideally like to have finished school by then and paid off all debts before having any babies.

    -My boyfriend will probably not be the bread-winner based on his profession -- he's smart, fun, very helpful around the house and would make a great stay-at-home dad, but we'll probably be relying on my salary quite a bit.

    -I'd love to be able to work part-time for a few years while the children are young, if I have them.

    I'm possibly over-thinking all of this, but I really don't want to make a decision I'm unhappy with that is too expensive to pay off....

    Last edit by rainydaydream on Apr 13, '09
  10. by   TCBEAR
    I'd say go with pharmacy school, it seems to fit your interests better and if you're concerned with money in the future, it's hard to argue. It seems like a lot of time and money now but you will probably be happier doing pharmacy work considering your pros/cons that you've listed. I struggled with a similar issue myself (concerning costs and time) and it was hard to make a decision but I feel like you're leaning more towards a career in pharmacy to begin with so you may just have to take the plunge and enjoy the ride.
  11. by   bikelola
    I agree with TCBear; it sounds like pharmacy school is a better fit. There are nursing positions that don't require so much "dirty work," but I don't think that they'll pay as well as an acute care, bedside position would. And no matter what, there's still lots of dirty work to do during clinicals.

    Now, here's a thought--have you thought about PA school?

    Good luck, no matter what you choose!