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how were you able to live (financially) while in nursing school?

Nursetobe25 Nursetobe25 (Member)

Did you work full time?

take out a living expense loan and only work part time or not at all?

Or did you have a spouse to help you?

I want to go back to nursing school but I am worried how I will pay my bills while I am in the program. I am afraid to work fulltime in fear that I will fail.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

thread moved for best response

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I would strongly advise against taking out living expense loans, although some people disagree with my line of thinking.

When I attended an LVN program in 2004/2005, I lived off unemployment payments. When the unemployment payments ran out, I lived off my savings account. I was 23/24 years old, living on my own, and had a mortgage and utilities to pay.

When I attended an LPN-to-RN transition program in 2009/2010, I worked 32 hours per week as an LVN at a local nursing home while going to school full time.


Specializes in SNF, LTAC. Has 2 years experience.

i work full time, and attend nursing school full time. Have to decide how important nursing school is for you. For me, it was worth me being exhausted every week.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I worked full time, but kept my personal expenses to a bare minimum. Got scholarships towards the end of school.


Specializes in Critical care.

My wife works her arse off for me to be able to go to school. Being in the accelerated BSN program means I do NOT have time to work any kind of job, even part time, so she works overtime and pulls double shifts while I take on more responsibility with the kids and house. It's tough and we are barely squeaking by, but I tell myself that a year from now I will be job-hunting or maybe even have a job and everything will get better. Best of luck to you, money sucks!

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

I moved out of my nice house in a nice neighborhood to live in a shack on the bad side of town. I also got rid of my car and rode the city bus when I needed to go somewhere that wasn't walking distance. My water got turned off regularly for non-payment as did my electricity. I learned to turn the water back on, myself ...but sometimes I took cold showers in the dark. I had a cell phone for emergencies, but it was a pay-as-you-go phone and I only spent $20 on it every 2-3 months.

Despite this low style of living, I still had to take out student loans to pay my rent and eat. I also worked about 6 hours a week to keep my foot in the door with my employer, but working more than that was not practical since my school schedule was erratic, school was demanding, and it took over 1-2 hours to get anywhere by bus.

I lived with one other person who was not able to contribute to the household, at all. I also had multiple pets I obtained during better times and am committed to for their natural lives.

I worked a full time job and at any given time, one or two part time jobs. In addition to the energy expended in working, my commute time to school was an hour and a half each way. My job as a full time single parent also took up a lot of my time. None of this was easy. When my health suffered, so did everything else. When I lost the full time job, the mortgage went and so did school. You take your chances. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

I worked full time at first , then 24 hours on weekends as an aide then 32 hour weekends as a LPN the last term. Term 2 and 3 , I did use loans and credit card.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

I was in college. I lived in the dorms, had a meal plan and drank cheap beer.

I worked full time 40 hrs/week. I had no choice, as the bread winner of my family, food needed to be put on the table and the mortgage needed to be paid. It was the most difficult time of my life, but working during nursing school is doable.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I worked 7 days a week and went to night school.

I am working 20-24 hours a week, in an ABSN program, living frugally and took out a school loan. I have children and a mortgage, but I wanted to better my future and theirs. It is a sacrifice. I don't see them as much as I want and I wish I could get a little more sleep, but it is not forever. I can do this and so can you!

I worked full time as a CNA in LPN school and worked parttime in RN school. Now I work full time in RN-BSN school.

firstinfamily, RN

Has 33 years experience.

When I did it was back in the early 80's, so things were much different then. Cost of living was not as high, gas and food was cheaper but I also had to sacrifice to make nursing happen for me. I was an adult self-supporting student. I did not have a mortgage, a husband or a pet to care for. I qualified for grant and scholarship money and took out federally guaranteed student loans. I had a car payment (get this) of $85.00/month, insurance, rent and food costs. I learned how to make a quarter tank of gas last a week. I kept my leisure time to activities on campus as they were less expensive than in the community. I could not work because of my irratic college schedule. I did work a few hours at a Hardees when it was opening, to help get the place ready for a grand opening, but quit after that was done, just some spending money when I needed it. I left with my ADN and about $20,000 in debt. Because I could defer my student loans and there were indications that BSN were going to be in demand I started working on my BSN about a month after I finished my ADN. I still qualified for student loans, but for less as I was working by this time. I worked as an RN in a 14 bed ICU did 3 twelve hour shifts in a row and went to college/clinicals. It took me 4 years to finish my BSN but I do not regret doing it this way. It was all a wonderful learning experience for me, and I had to divorce myself from my parents to be able to achieve what I needed to. No regrets. I think we all have sacrificed something to get where we are today.

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

I'm not in nursing school yet, but I'm already putting aside money for it (Little by little), which should help out some. My husband works full time and plans to continue working full-time once I start school. I hope that I will be able to maintain a part-time job, but I'm not sure. Some of my financial ability to pay for school will come in the form of loans - most likely from family. Fortunately I have family that are better off financially that I am and have said that they would be willing to draw up paperwork for very reasonable loan for school. Hopefully those together will be enough, otherwise I'm also looking at taking out student loans. I already have a BA so most financial aid options are now closed to me. If I am able to get into an early entry masters program though I start qualifying for scholarships and grants again.

In short, it will be a bit of a challenge, and involve piecemealing together funds from a variety of sources, living frugally, and having a highly supportive family.

Right now I'm on my own in an apt with one roommate. I work full time, sometimes even overtime while taking 4 classes this semester. I can do this because of the type of job I have. I work home care as a CNA. my hours are flexible, and when patients are sleeping, I can study. My company completely complies with my school schedule.

I have rent, insurance, car lease payments, and small things like phone bills. I took out student loans. I also saved up 2000$ extra cash before starting classes, just to feel more secure. For instance, what if I couldn't work for some reason? That extra cash would carry me through a couple months. All in all, I'm very busy, but I don't feel drained and it's working. However, I'm still taking pre reqs. Idk how this situation will play out for me once those core nursing courses begin.


Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 1 years experience.

I have been a small business owner for the last 6 years, and am now going back to school to get my BSN. My husband supports me, and we can easily live on just his income, so with the help of some small loans, and scholarship from the hospital I will be working at (they pay a large chunk of nursing school) I dont HAVE to work. Now...I will be working part time, but thats to get the scholarship and get my foot in the door at the hospital I want to end up at. We have 2 kids, it would be really hard to do with on my own without my husband supporting us!