Life after nursing school:STUDENT LOANS

  1. Hello everyone,
    this is my first thread, and my question is for all the current nurses, How did/do you handle/manage you student loan debt after nursing school/becoming a nurse?
    I am currently a pre-nursing student, my goal is to become a registered nurse. So far this goal seems soooo far to reach right now, I have been in college 3yrs and yes, I am STILL a pre-nursing student. I have not been financially able to afford college, my mother passed when I was just a baby, and my father has been the only provider for my older brother and I. Taking out a loan was something I said I would never do, but in the end I had no choice, I work, but it still doesn't add up. I just wanted some advice from those who are going through it now as working nurses and is it as big a burden as I think it is? This is my main concern, I think about it all the time, " I'M Gonna graduate in debt, I'M Gonna graduate in debt" it drives me crazy. Everyone tells me don't worry about that right now, or you're not gonna be in debt. Can anyone please offer any advice?
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   classicdame
    I did not have any debt but I will try to make a few suggestions. Can you work somewhere that will provide tuition reimbursement? Can you locate a facility that will help pay for your education in return for a comittment to work for them afterwards? If you are no longer a dependent on your father's income tax return you might be eligible for grants instead of loans. Your financial aid office at the school might be a resource. Are your grades good enough to qualify for any scholarships within the school? There are clubs that do community projects and maybe you could be one of their "projects". Ask your Dad to find out if he or any of his pals know of such. You might even put an ad in the paper asking for a sponsorship. Who knows? There are some people who might be moved to help. Meanwhile, you have 10 years after graduation to repay the govt. based student loans. My son paid for 10 years and then still had a balance, so he took out another loan, paid off the student loan with that, and then continued to pay till he was out of debt. I wish you peace in all this!
  4. by   damrcngrl95
    It is wonderful that you are thinking about your financial future. So many students don't think about what happens after you have graduated. Before you go to your financial aid office for a loan try a few other things for relief. Are there other grants that you could qualify for? You can talk to your financial aid office about work programs and other grants. Have you looked at websites like www.fastweb.com to find scholarships that you could apply for? Once you have exhausted these resources then maybe you could apply for a small loan. This way if you do have to get a loan it will not be as much as it could have been. There is no shame in getting a loan especially if it will give you a better living to pay back that loan. Oh, one more thing. One of the hospitals in my area offered to send me to school if I signed an agreement to work for them for 2 years after I finished the program. Maybe there is a hospital that could do that for you? I hope this helps you to get through school and stress a little less.

    Take care,
    deAnna
  5. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    It is reality college is very expensive and most people have no choice, but to accumulate a lot of debt. You could go to a community colleg which would cost less in the end.

    Apply for scholarships as well, that may help.... You just have to accept it really or win the lottery...

    Happy
  6. by   pat8585
    I am an LPN and I had to take out student loans. Two of them. I pay approximately 200 bucks a month to pay them back. I have to admit that I thought I would be able to pay them back quickly, making a larger than required payment. But the little things in life like rent, food, and car payment tend to get in the way!

    However, I totally believe that education is NEVER wasted! I look at a student loan as an INVESTMENT!

    Look into if your employer has any type of scholarship or tuition reimbursement. Many places do. Best of luck to you!
  7. by   irishmama721
    I will be right there with you with the loans. Like pat8585 said, I look at it as an investment, one with a wonderful return. Does it stink, having to do it? Absolutely. But I think it will be worth it in the end. Best of luck!
  8. by   CharlieTaco
    If your taking out 30k-40k total for your student loans then you should be fine if you are hired soon after graduation and are making 70k or more per year. If you are going to be taking out more than that, you could be in trouble. If your in school for 5-6years which is what it looks like for you by the time you graduate and owe 100k, its probably not worth it. You might not get a job right away and depending on where you live, you might not make enough to afford paying $1000 per month for 10 years and still afford everything else you want. Another factor is that after you graduate, you will have to be a nurse even if you dont like it because of your debt. You will be trapted in the profession. You can't decide you wanna be a teacher or some other rewarding but low paying job because of your debt. And you can't get rid of student debt, even if you declare bancruptcy. You better be sure you wanna be a nurse and can afford the loan payments because you may put yourself in a bad situation that you can't get out of. An investment is one way to think of student loans, but it could hurt you in the long run if you take out too much and for the wrong reasons.
  9. by   SAMISA09
    I heard VA hospitals offer good scholarships for their employees. What if you get a job there as a tech and see?
  10. by   KME313
    I am a second degree nurse, and I have the loans to go with it. When I graduated, I had about 96k from my best guess. Here is some information based off my experience. I know its a book, but I hope it helps someone else!

    Most are federal loans (now called direct) those are the most ideal. With some federal loans, the government pays the interest while you are in school or deferment (subsidized). Federal loans are the most forgiving, allowing deferment/ forbearance for unemployment up to 3 years (my savior!) among other options. Federal loans come due 6 months after you leave school, whether it be graduation or not. I am not sure how they work as far as 'need' but i know the max is about 5500 per school year. For my sister completing her degree in accounting, this covered her full- time tuition and books at community college. There are also different payment plans such as graduated or income based (I believe if you do the income based payments for 10 years and there is a balance, they wave it... not 100% sure)

    From my 1st bachelors, I have Perkins loans. They come due 10 months after you leave school. I know that these are need based, but I don't know if the government is still offering these. I took classes last fall to defer my big loans, so these deferred as well. I have yet to pay, but I don't see any thing interesting here.

    My last type of loans are private med-cap loans. I took these to bridge the gap between federal loans and life in nursing school. I did a 1 year BSN and took out about 60k total. These loans are the WORST!!! In the words of the banker on the phone "similar to a mortgage." The interest rate is higher than the federal loans, and since they aren't backed by the gov't, interest accumulates while you are in school and in your 6 month grace period. On my loans, this is about 3-5k per quarter. If you don't pay the interest, it capitalizes, meaning your 'total' gets bigger and thus your payments go up. I was able to defer for school last fall, and received another grace period. As for a forbearance for unemployment... hahahaha! i was able to get a 2 month forbearance (still gaining interest to be capitalized, of course) and by the grace of god things are changing...

    Also, remember that federal loans a perkins loans don't necessarily run a credit check to approve you for a loan. I can't remember if the private loans did... but they DO report to credit agencies, and each semester looks like a separate loan. So on my credit report, it looks like I have something like 10 installment loans. I have no idea how this actually affects everything, but it is something to consider. The only ways out of loans is death and repayment. Student loans are often not covered in a bankruptcy.

    My loan payments total about $1200/ month... by most standards I should own a house, or a freaking amazing car... I have 2 pretty pieces of paper (3 if you include my license). My loans covered EVERYTHING in nursing school. I always joke that I am paying 6.8% interest on every beer I drank. If you can avoid this, then you loans WILL be manageable after graduation. I am BLESSED to have parents that support me and allow me to live rent free. I struggled for 18 months to find a full-time permanent job, but moving wasn't an option because i can't afford rent/ utilities on top of my loans. Last week I took a position making WAY more than I had ever expected. I now hope to make double payments on my loans so I can actually buy a house, and be able to buy a car when that time comes.

    When I was 18, I didn't know any of this. I took out loans because it was the only way for me to go to college. I had AMAZING scholarships and grants through my school. I took out my 5500 federal, plus 4000 perkins and my parents paid my rent and utilities. I worked 2 jobs to pay my living expenses (read party expenses).

    My advice would be to get through school as quick as possible. I truly believe that we must start with the end in mind and work from there. I know I made the best decision I could have at the time. I don't regret taking on so much debt. It's been a crazy emotional roller coaster, but it has allowed me to achieve my dreams!
  11. by   PinaColada
    Search "No nursing shortage" and you're going to feel a LOT better.

    My advice= apply your college credits elsewhere...toward a better degree.

    You'll be much happier with yourself.
  12. by   ajt575s
    Have you looked into the military at all? ROTC seems like a great way to pay for college expenses, plus you graduate as an officer with a job already. I wish I had looked into that--I'm currently drowning in student loan debt. Another option is to join the military after graduating, and many branches have ways to forgive student loans.
  13. by   Futterwacken
    Quote from ajt575s
    Have you looked into the military at all? ROTC seems like a great way to pay for college expenses, plus you graduate as an officer with a job already. I wish I had looked into that--I'm currently drowning in student loan debt. Another option is to join the military after graduating, and many branches have ways to forgive student loans.
    I would also highly recommend the military(I'm partial to the Air Force). Those three years of pre-nursing could have been paid for at the rate of one to two classes a semester, plus at that point you would have qualified for the GI Bill. Give it some serious thought and weigh your options.
  14. by   lpn-rn hopeful
    Thank you all so very much for all your help. Im sorry i did not reply to each individual message, but I not sure how, lol! I have read each and every suggestion, they were ALL very helpful. I'm reconsidering a lot thanks to you guys, and searching a lot, ass we speak, lol. You are all so wonderful and helpful, thanks again to take the time out and help a stressing student, lol. Once again I apologize I could not write to each one of you individually, If someone can let me know how to reply to each message please!!!!!! May God bless you all, thank you so very much!
    Last edit by lpn-rn hopeful on May 17, '11

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