I want to go to Nursing School

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    I will be graduating with a Bachelor's in Business Administration very soon, and have recently realized that I want to be a nurse (RN). I have been looking at nursing schools, and realized that I will not be able to afford one of the for-profit colleges. I will have to get financial aid (Stafford loans), and because this will still fall under undergraduate, it means that the maximum amount of loans I can take is around $57,500. This means that the only school I can afford is the local community college as I have already taken $34,000. My questions are as follows:

    1. Am I correct to assume the above amount I mention is the maximum amount of loans I am eligible to receive?

    2. I understand that nursing programs at a Community college (To obtain an ADN) can be competitive. Will having a bachelor's degree give me a competitive edge?

    3. Any other tips or ideas on what I should do?

    My concern is that if I can't get into my local CC program, I won't be able to afford anything else, and I won't be able to go to nursing school at all. Any ideas on how I can afford it, if the CC doesn't work out?
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    At this point in time, there are hordes of other new (or soon to be) college grads all across the country attempting to do exactly the same thing. The continuing "rush to nursing" is puzzling in light of the very difficult labor market for new grad nurses for the last several years. Due to a number of factors, most larger hospitals, particularly those in urban areas, are only hiring BSN new grads. ADN grads are still being hired by non-acute employers.

    As for whether your prior degree will provide you with any advantage? It depends... what is your GPA? Have you already completed all of your nursing pre-requisites? Please note that the 'minimum' GPA required for entry into nursing programs is moot - due to the overwhelming number of applicants, the range of GPAs actually admitted may bottom out at 3.7 or so.

    Funding your nursing education will undoubtedly be problematic. Nursing salaries are not sufficient to support huge loan repayments. It is particularly heartbreaking to hear of the increasingly common scenario of new grads who cannot find jobs but are saddled with loan repayments.

    My advice? (you aren't going to like this) Graduate & get a job with your business degree while you take your nursing pre-requisites at a CC on a pay-as-you-go basis & save as much money as you can. Then - in a couple of years, go ahead and apply to BSN programs at an affordable school. By that time, the new grad job situation may be better.
    chicks1225 likes this.
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    Look up the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for Federal financial aid. Along with a maximum loan amount, there are other factors that have to be weighed. The big one for people with bachelors degrees is Maximum Time Frame.

    If you are pursuing an associates degree, you only qualify for federal aid if you have less than 150% of the hours required to graduate. Meaning for a 60 credit AS, you can have up to 90 credits and still receive aid. If you're pursuing a BSN that takes 120 credits, you can have up to 180.

    The purpose is to keep students on track and prevent tax payers from funding lifetime students.

    So while you may be able to slip through or appeal, don't just assume you'll be able to borrow up to the limit.

    Not sure if your degree will benefit you. Previous degrees weren't considered for any of the programs I applied to.

    I don't know how much your local programs cost, but my ADN is running about $4500 without prereqs. That's easily affordable with even a pet time job. You can also look into state scholarship programs. My entire tuition, books, uniforms, and everything else school related is paid by a scholarship from the state.
    chicks1225 likes this.
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    Thank you both for the information. It's not the best news for me, but I do appreciate it.
  7. 1
    Quote from chicks1225
    I will be graduating with a Bachelor's in Business Administration very soon, and have recently realized that I want to be a nurse (RN). I have been looking at nursing schools, and realized that I will not be able to afford one of the for-profit colleges. I will have to get financial aid (Stafford loans), and because this will still fall under undergraduate, it means that the maximum amount of loans I can take is around $57,500. This means that the only school I can afford is the local community college as I have already taken $34,000. My questions are as follows:

    1. Am I correct to assume the above amount I mention is the maximum amount of loans I am eligible to receive?

    2. I understand that nursing programs at a Community college (To obtain an ADN) can be competitive. Will having a bachelor's degree give me a competitive edge?

    3. Any other tips or ideas on what I should do?

    My concern is that if I can't get into my local CC program, I won't be able to afford anything else, and I won't be able to go to nursing school at all. Any ideas on how I can afford it, if the CC doesn't work out?
    I have recently done the same. You are luckier than I however in that you are figuring this out upon graduation as opposed to afterwards. I say that because I didn't seriously consider going back to school for nursing until about 6 months ago, which was 9 months after which I'd already graduated with my first Bachelor's, gotten a desk job in Finance, bought a car, and moved into my own apt. It kind of sucks to have already "started" your post undergrad life and then realize that you want to do something completely different. Had I known that I was going to have a sudden change of heart, I would never have moved out or bought a car. (The extra bills are no fun!!)

    In any case, you are right to assume that you will be eligible for the remaining loan funds for undergrad, but as a previous poster mentioned, receiving these funds aren't a given. However, so far I've been able to secure them. As I mentioned previously, I currently work full-time, but with rent, a car note, and other bills, I'm not able to pay out of pocket for the pre-reqs, so I am using the Stafford loans to pay for them. I am taking my pre-reqs at a community college, but I decided to do an Accelerated BSN program instead of the ADN, simply because I've been told that hospitals are trending towards hiring BSN educated nurses and I simply don't want to spend time doing the ADN just to turn back around and have to complete the BSN.

    I wish you the best of luck in making your decision!
    chicks1225 likes this.
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    I have heard that Accelerated BSN programs are very hard to get into. I have the option because there is a University close to me, but I have always thought it would just be easier to get into an ADN program. I will look more closely at the BSN program near me. Thanks for the advice and I wish you luck as well!
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    I was just excepted into an accelerated BSN at a local state college... I have a bachelor's and master's in another field. I looked at an ADN through a local CC, but the ADN isn't really any shorter or even that much less expensive so I opted for the BSN because of the hiring trends and difference in pay in my area.

    Don't be discouraged... there are a lot of people going into nursing, but if you are truly passionate about it then go for it. And, depending on your previous academic background you may bring a little something extra to the table over another BSN grad w/ no other experience.
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    At my community college, they looked at all prerequisites you have already completed. I had completed all of mine so it was pretty easy for me to get in compared to people who were still in A & P. I believe if you already have a bachelor's it will still benefit you; it shows that you have determination and are capable of sticking to a program and working hard. I know that sounds cheesy but it's true. They want to know that you can tough it out. There are a large amount of people admitted straight from high school or after a year of college who have no experience, and fail out the first semester.

    I owe $45k from going to a 4 year university and not being able to get into their nursing program (They cut it and the overall GPA cutoff was 3.8... thank you very much organic chem :P). This is my final semester. I was able to work over the summer and on weekends when school started. I am also newly married however, and it really helps to have someone paying rent. With the help I was able to pay out of pocket for my schooling. (About 2500 per semester.) Sorry for giving you my life story I just want to tell you that it is possible.


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