CRNA school loans (for a guy like me)

  1. Hi, thanks for letting me post. I've searched and haven't found a good answer in the archives for this. I wrote the school admissions councilor (at St. Mary's University in MN):

    "I'm working full time in a CVICU (last two years), I'm a MN resident, and my wife is a stay at home mom (two toddlers). We have a mortgage, existing student loans, and a good credit score. I understand I will no longer be able to work while in school and I'll have to pay for my family and I's health insurance in addition to my existing expenses.

    How much can I expect to qualify for on a Grad loan with someone in my situation? Are they government, private, or both?"


    The councilor replied:


    "Yes, graduate students in the Nurse Anesthetist program are eligible for approximately $60,000 in federal student loans for their first year of studies (approximately $20,000 per semester). Of that amount, $20,500 is made up of the federal unsubsidized loan and the remaining amount is made up of either the federal Graduate PLUS loan or a private loan of your choice. The total cost of tuition for the first year is approximately $23,100 (divided over 3 semesters)."

    Currently (with OT) I make about $72,000/yr after taxes... according to SMU's councilor I can expect to qualify for only $60,000 and $23,000 of that will go to school.

    Is there something she's not telling me? How can I expect to go to school, not work, and live off of $40,000? My co-workers and even people here say don't worry you can get over $100,000 to pay for school and supplement your income... but I'm worried the councilor at the school I want to go to didn't confirm this.

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   ckh23
    The grad plus loan can provide a nice chunk of your income. The private loans seem harder to come by these days. A lot of people live off of less then $40k a year. Perhaps you need to tighten your budget or put off school until you have more savings in the bank.
  4. by   CPhT2RNstudent
    Food stamps, medicaid, utility assistance, sell your house and live on campus, your current student loans will go into deferral, tighten your budget. Go on a prepaid cell plan (no taxes and cheaper) rather than an expensive $100+/month plan. Get rid of your wife's cell phone. Get her a a free cell from something like assurance wireless, sell stuff you do not need. You will do fine. you do not want to accumulate a lot of debt. The last thing you want is a good income and to still live check to check. You may want to use retirement. You likely can use it for school without having to pay the 10% early withdrawal fee (check with a professional for your circumstances). Those are a few thoughts.
  5. by   missnurse01
    We tightened things down to ensure we could survive on three grand a month. You will not get your regular pay thru student loans. All school loans, whether gvmt or private, are limited to whatever the school says they will certify you for each year. You can not borrow more than that. So the short of it is, yes, you will have to live on that 40 G's each year.

    I think what people here are saying is thru the whole program, all the years you are in it, you will receive over 100 grand in loans. Not per year. Depending on the length of your program, you could accumulate a massive amt of debt if you did get that much.

    I understand you, I am the sole income earner for a 5 person family. We tried to save up living expenses for years and couldn't do it. There is still the option out there of borrowing against retirement, which I know you don't have to pay the early withdrawl. That might be an option for you if you get into dire straights. Before I applied we had gone down to one car that was paid off, no credit cards, every revolving expense we could think of. Got rid of cable, only internet access. Looking at ditching the 'big 4' cell companies and going month to month instead. Every little bit helps.

    good luck
  6. by   CPhT2RNstudent
    My suggestion is use the retirement itself rather than borrow against it. Talk to an accountant to decide which is better.
  7. by   portland medic
    I don't know if you have a 401k but my plan allowed me to apply for a school hardship which would have freed a ton of funds from it. The guy at Charles Schwab said that school hardships are common and one of the only ways to dip into your 401k early and not pay huge penalties. Ultimately we decided to do stafford loans and save the 401k for if we need it for grad school, but we had that option available to us.
  8. by   detroitdano
    You need a nice cushion in the bank if you want your wife to remain a stay-at-home mom.

    Like was mentioned, you can get Grad PLUS loans or alternative loans through Wells/Fargo/Discover/etc., but you can never borrow more than what your school considers cost of attendance. For example, my first year tuition is about 21K. My school set cost of attendance at 2K/month, so I cannot borrow more than 29K (8 months/2 semesters). If you're looking for 70K/year to maintain the same lifestyle you have now, you're in for a rude awakening as far as loans go. It just won't happen, unless you take out a second mortgage or something else that is not the usual (hitting up mom/dad, using retirement).

    Insurance for your kids through the state is an option, but for your wife and you, most schools offer a discounted insurance program. Blue Cross also offers an option for students, not sure if it covers spouses as well. Best best is to call your local BC office and ask for an adviser that can give you real numbers.

    Good luck!
  9. by   mattcbr
    Great feedback so far! Really appreciate those that have been through this commenting. It is disappointing to hear that it's impossible to get student loans to adequately cover living expenses at what we live at now, especially considering the fact CRNAs make double what RNs make.

    I know this thread will help those who come across it in the future (Google search results, etc) keep posting your experiences on this. Thanks! (I'll be following the thread... application isn't due till October)
  10. by   manusko
    Quote from mattcbr
    Great feedback so far! Really appreciate those that have been through this commenting. It is disappointing to hear that it's impossible to get student loans to adequately cover living expenses at what we live at now, especially considering the fact CRNAs make double what RNs make.

    I know this thread will help those who come across it in the future (Google search results, etc) keep posting your experiences on this. Thanks! (I'll be following the thread... application isn't due till October)
    There are private loans as well. Many of my classmates took out way more than they needed to get by on. My tuition total was around 52k and one classmate had 220k in loans.
  11. by   manusko
    Also forgot to mention that you need to be careful with those loans because not everyone finishes school or passes boards.
  12. by   Mully
    Maybe you could sell that crotch rocket of yours...
  13. by   CPhT2RNstudent
    Quote from manusko
    Also forgot to mention that you need to be careful with those loans because not everyone finishes school or passes boards.
    Be grateful for the loan limits. It prevents you from borrowing from your future earnings. Live frugal. That last thing you want is to make a six digit salary and still live pay check to pay check. Your financial reward will come AFTER school, not during.
  14. by   mattcbr
    Quote from manusko
    There are private loans as well. Many of my classmates took out way more than they needed to get by on. My tuition total was around 52k and one classmate had 220k in loans.
    Was this before or after 2008? Because I called my Banks (wells fargo and chase) and they confirmed they can do private grad loans (for sky's the limit); however, you have to get the school you're going to confirm it's for cost of living. Meaning, through some process you tell your school what your supplemented income is and then they confirm for the bank that it's a logical number.

    I know before 2008 there wasn't this step. If you (or anyone) had to go through this please give me any adivce

    Quote from Mully
    Maybe you could sell that crotch rocket of yours...
    ROFL, don't worry. It's a 13 year old bike with value crushing modifications... bone stock (that's how they're worth the most) it's maybe $2,000... Then there is my bike with a engine cage, 1000rr tail, paint, etc... it's lucky if it's worth $1,000.... it looks good, but in the end it's not worth anything... besides. It get's 40mpg and saves me money on parking

    Quote from CPhT2RNstudent
    Be grateful for the loan limits. It prevents you from borrowing from your future earnings. Live frugal. That last thing you want is to make a six digit salary and still live pay check to pay check. Your financial reward will come AFTER school, not during.
    I understand the banks cracking down on loans because only 50% of college grads get jobs. Plus there is no guarantee that we'll pass.

    However (big however); I need to borrow against my future earnings to go to school... that's the whole point. If I had the extra $30,000 (X2 years) to supplement the extra that the federal loans don't cover, I wouldn't need to back to school lol. I'm glad manusko posted his experience Hopefully I can get some more info here on those that have gone through securing private loans for CRNA school.

    Thanks!

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