Tuition hike in Seattle makes NP program pricier than Med School

  1. Tuition Hikes Make Nursing School Pricier Than Med School


    A group of UW Nursing students is struggling to stay in school after facing a big increase in tuition and a big change in the financial help the university is offering.

    These are students studying for a doctorate in Family Nurse Practitioning. They say it's one of the most cost effective ways to deliver quality health care services.

    They met with nursing school administrators Thursday because their studies just got a lot more expensive.

    Gillian Ehrlich is studying for a doctorate in Family Nurse Practioning.

    "Getting a nurse practitioner degree, I'll be able to treat people cradle to grave. I'll be able to order tests, interpret labs, refer to specialists and basically follow people through their lives for primary care," Ehrlich says.

    Right now, her tuition is heavily subsidized because she's a nurse at the University's Harborview Medical Center, but budget cuts are eliminating that subsidy, among others.

    "My tuition is going from $650 a quarter to $6,800, and I have three weeks to pull together almost $7,000 for summer quarter," she says.

    Nursing school officials explain that they had just a few weeks to cut $1 million out of their budget.

    They say the changes in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program are preferable to canceling it.

    "We believe in quality. We will serve this state in the best possible way that we can. We will work to make sure everybody has access to these programs, and we aren't through yet," said Marla Salmon, UW Nursing School Dean.

    But for now, the nursing program will cost students more than $26,000 a year. That makes it more expensive than studying to become a doctor. Medical school tuition is now just under $21,000 a year.
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   mochabean
    WOW! With this "nursing shortage," it has me wondering if most nursing schools will eventually increase their tuition.
  4. by   feralnostalgia
    oh my god, that's completely ridiculous. somehow I doubt those Nurse Practitioners (if any of them stay in the program...I sure wouldn't) will be getting paid more than doctors...
  5. by   CuriousMe
    UW is also the #1 ranked FNP program in the country right now. That might be why they felt they could increase the tuition when their budget crisis hit.
  6. by   sailornurse
    Qoute: "UW is also the #1 ranked FNP program in the country right now."

    Please cite the source for making the above claim. Whether or not the above statement is true, it will be many years before grads of this program will recoup the investment in their education as FNP's.
  7. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from sailornurse
    Qoute: "UW is also the #1 ranked FNP program in the country right now."

    Please cite the source for making the above claim. Whether or not the above statement is true, it will be many years before grads of this program will recoup the investment in their education as FNP's.
  8. by   j450n
    Yes, it's true. UW has also been the top nursing school in the country for several years now.
  9. by   CuriousMe
    Additionally, the price quoted is for out of state tuition. Their website shows that in state tuition is $4,644 a term or $13,932 for the academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring). Out of state tuition is: $9,013 a term or $27,029 per academic year. Not bad for the #1 program in the nation.

    Also, from reading the doesn't look like they raised the tuition, it looks like they changed the employee discount.

    In comparison their med school prices are $6,374 a term or $19,125 per academic year for residents and $15,176 per term or $45,528 an academic year for out of state tuition.

    The med school pricing is still clearly higher than the DNP program.

    Here's the link that lists the pricing:
  10. by   uwsonstudents
    The tuition is currently $4,644 a quarter. The program runs year round. That $4,644 is for credits 1-7 without fees. 8-18 are the same price. In two weeks, tuition will be $6633 without fees. The UW Medical Center and Harborview have attracted nurses for years and put their own nurses through advanced practice education using the tuition exemption that you speak of. This is where they paid credits 1-6 and the student/employee paid for credit 7. Individuals currently in the FNP program under this agreement have been paying about $650 a quarter (1 credit).

    They were informed last Monday that this will change to $6633+ in 3 weeks since the move to educational outreach or extension (EO) does not allow for any waivers, expemptions and it knocks out most TA/RA positions. Additionally the move to EO raises the cap from 7-9 credits for all students in the FNP (At the new rate of ~$737 a quarter, this is $1480). So, this is a 43% increase in tuition from spring to summer quarter for FNP students with 3 weeks notice. It is an 800% increase for students participating under an exemption program.

    The medical school students have been assured that they will not be affected by this budget crisis in a similar manner (although they may see a 14% increase like everyone else.)

    This move to EO was a decision made by the very top level of administration. Possibly unilaterally by the dean. What they are effectively doing is diverting state money from the FNP to other areas of the SoN, divorcing the program from its others and sending it to EO along with GEPN. Sending the program to EO forces the students in the program to be "self-sustaining" by paying the full cost of every morsel of their education, for faculty, clinicals, labs and the like.

    The state legislature in Washington approved a 14% tuition increase this year. The SoN is skirting that by moving its FNP program to EO because this is a form of "quasi-privatization" where the SoN can make adjustments as it sees fit and the state cannot regulate the tuition levels. The state further cut 26% to the university as a whole and the university handed down a 10% cut to the SoN.

    To remedy this, the move to EO of the FNP program makes up for the entire SoN shortfall with the addition of the elimination of 1 position ($50,000 savings) and a freeze on departmental travel and a few other incidentals.

    All other nurse practitioner programs are speculated to follow. The decision isn't set in stone yet, but we have been told that it is the plan.

    So, 3 years of FNP at the current rate of $6633 a quarter for 4 quarters plus 5 quarters of GEPN for those who are getting their BSN through that route at $38,000 adds up to $124,000 tuition w/o books, fees, living expenses or incidentals.

    This is very expensive and comes very close to a medical degree at the same PUBLIC university. Cost was a decision for many who chose between nursing and medicine. Philosophy, time and other considerations were most probably there too, but the main point is that this isn't sustainable. FNP's simply do not have the earning power MD's do. One suggestion by the dean was that we could enter loan repayment programs. To cover an estimated $200,000 in loans with such programs a student would have to sign up for 3-4 different programs at 2-4 years each! That would be the first ~12 years of your career!

    Additionally, students did not sign up for this or make their decisions based on such a bold financial move. Moving to EO significantly limits access to state funded scholarships because of its privatized status (as those in GEPN know because they were shut out of tons of BSN level nursing scholarships), it reduces creative work/tuition exemption programs, and it allows the SoN to tweak tutition as it sees fit free from oversight.

    The students currently accepted into the program want grandfathering in to the agreement that they signed up for. This does not mean "no tuition increases" it means state regulated tuition increases for the NP portions of their programs.

    Also, the most shocking element of this entire situation has been the poor communication on the administration's part. A few weeks notice of such a major change in so many individuals futures is not acceptable. Especially when concern from students is met with the fact that they are dispensible as there is a LONG waitlist for this program and someone else will take their place. Also, the incoming GEPN's should have known ASAP so that they could have made informed decisions about their futures. With their program starting in 2 weeks, they have all likely given up their spots at other universities where they were dually accepted. Had everyone been informed that this was a possiblilty last fall, current students could have applied at other schools for January deadlines. They could transfer or start new programs this coming fall. This lack of communication is extremely inconsiderate and disrespectful to UW SON students and will significantly impact the health of Washington state.
  11. by   Teresag_CNS
    UWSONSTUDENTS, have you sent this letter to the Seattle newspapers? I think it's newsworthy.
  12. by   uwsonstudents
    We have had coverage in the Seattle Times, Kiro, Komo 4 news, and King 5 news so far.

    The Kiro link (this is the transcript of the video):

    The Seattle Times link:

    The links for the other two are not available yet.

    Thank you for your interest! Please spread the word, contribute your thoughts and share your support in any way possible.
  13. by   opalapo
    In the age of upside-down mortgages, this news evokes imagery of an upside-down nursing education. Why penalize those who want to benefit and give society the most through ensuring access to quality primary health care?

    This is an extremely short-sighted solution to the nursing school's problem.
  14. by   babyNP.
    Called academic services and the tuition exemption is still eligible for all the other programs, just not the FNP one.

    FNP is a dime a dozen type program so future people can go elsewhere for their program, although it really does suck for the current folks. I hope you get grandfathered in for your efforts...