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[California] Paying for WCU nursing school while not working

Posted

Hi everyone,

I'm getting ready to start at West Coast University in a couple of months, and I'm trying to work out how I'm gonna make ends meet while going to school for ~2.5 years. If you don't know, WCU quotes $130k for their full 39 months, which includes everything and also factors in you taking prerequisites with them (e.g. A&P, Micro, etc). I have a bachelor's degree already so I won't be taking most of those, which I expect will cut my cost down to $90-100k.

However, because I have a bachelor's degree already, I'm most likely not going to receive Pell Grants or anything like that (it's a possibility, but I have to apply for the timeline extension and all that - not guaranteed). I do have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which covers just over $20k per academic year and gives me some money to use to subsist on. Call it $50k from the GI Bill.

So I guess what I'm wondering is...what else is there? WCU, like most schools, strongly recommends you not work during the program. How do people meet these tuition costs and still make ends meet while not working for 2-3 years? My GI Bill and drill pay are helpful, but they're not enough to live on alone in LA, at least not for an older student with an established life. Do people get scholarships, float $150k in loans, what?

Tell me what I'm getting into here! :)

I would imagine a lot of student parents take out home equity lines of credit.

Haha. Perhaps so! I'm too old for that even if it were something I'd do. ;)

wow -- 130k for a BSN with the tough job market in Ca for new nurses?? plus it really takes over 100k just to pay living expenses for 2 1/2 year in LA? Glade I don't live there.. but best of luck to you...

Luckyyou, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 10 years experience.

130k is more than my mortgage and student loans combined. Yikes. There are no other options for a BSN?

Yes, really $130k. Crazy, I know, but compared to trying to get into CSU or UC it's at least worth considering, depending on your goals and life situation. I'd be at community college for a year or more before even entering the lottery for a spot - at that point I might as well give up on my dream and work in my other degree field.

Yes, really $130k. Crazy, I know, but compared to trying to get into CSU or UC it's at least worth considering, depending on your goals and life situation. I'd be at community college for a year or more before even entering the lottery for a spot - at that point I might as well give up on my dream and work in my other degree field.

Really? I'm 47 years old and graduate with my BSN in December and I also have an MBA -- no student loans.... so unless you are in your 70s this really isn't your last and only shot... wants vs. needs... the 50k from the GI bill (thank you for your service) should really be more than enough to pay for nursing school I would think...

Really? I'm 47 years old and graduate with my BSN in December and I also have an MBA -- no student loans.... so unless you are in your 70s this really isn't your last and only shot... wants vs. needs... the 50k from the GI bill (thank you for your service) should really be more than enough to pay for nursing school I would think...

Well done, that's very impressive...but I've spent 10 years unhappy already, and I'm not willing to spend another 10 to enter the ground floor of my chosen profession. Ya know? I don't disagree about the GI Bill, though...

not saying you shouldn't do it... but really think about it.. when people buy a house they often fall into a trap of buying what they bank tells them they can afford and they actually overspend finding themselves "house poor" meaning that they are paying so much every month toward house payment that they have little $$ left over for the other things they want... I'm afraid that a 150k student loan would leave you education poor --- and would take almost forever to pay back on a nurses salary.. and then if you wanted to continue your education you would be forced to think about borrowing again,, and the interest on the 150k would continue to tick the whole time...

sort of scary either way uh? I truly wish you the best of luck with this decision... remember that since you already have a degree you can still qualify for federal student loans, but they will only be unsubsidized - meaning that interest will accrue from day 1 while you are in school - and you are also going to have to borrow from private student loans if you will need 150k and those loans don't have the same protections and repayment plans as federal loans do.

Thanks. I was mostly thinking of folks who aren't fortunate enough to have the Gi bill and how they could make it work when I do have that and I'm still uncertain. I doubt I could GET 150k in student loans, haha, but I don't need that much. I'm hoping someone with some experience at the school will chime in and share what their experiences were.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

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

I made my situation work by relocating out of southern California to attend school. In middle America, many reputable schools with affordable tuition will admit you into their nursing programs immediately.

I advise anyone against attending WCU.

I made my situation work by relocating out of southern California to attend school. In middle America, many reputable schools with affordable tuition will admit you into their nursing programs immediately.

I advise anyone against attending WCU.

Makes sense; however, relocating is not an option.

If you take out $150,000 in loans, you are looking at a loan repayment of $1,700 per month for ten years.

If you are disabled and can't work, can't find a job, or flunk out (no one ever expects to, but people do), you still have to pay it back. It is extremely difficult to discharge student loans in bankruptcy.

To be clear, talking about $150k in loans was exaggerated. Assuming no other aid, I'd need more like $50k for tuition, and then I'd have to figure out living expenses, which are defrayed quite a bit by the GI Bill, thankfully.

babeinboots, BSN, RN

Specializes in Labor and Delivery. Has 2 years experience.

First off, thank you for your service! Second, try and avoid spending so much for a BSN. You don't want to spend more on a BSN than what you'll make in a year as an RN.

There are other nursing programs in California besides Cal states and UCs that offer a BSN that are way cheaper than WCU; National University and Western Governor's University are a couple. Also community colleges like LACC and LA Trade Tech do not use lottery systems. Also, try enrolling in more than one CC to complete your pre-reqs. I went to about 3 different CC for pre-reqs and finished much faster than I would have if I only attended one. The LA community college district alone has about 11 campuses.

In the end, it's your decision but I haven't heard of people NOT struggling or getting help from parents while attending/graduating from WCU. Good luck.

Edited by babeinboots
oops

Thank you. WGU wants all the prerequisites done first, but National it looks like bakes them in AND has a post-bacc format. They're still expensive, but less so than WCU by a large margin (GI Bill will probably cover it). I went ahead and set myself up for their sales pitch, so I'll see what I find out...

babeinboots, I saw elsewhere that you're an NU LA student? What can you tell me about that, as I'd be applying for the same?

Edited by cjsiege

babeinboots, BSN, RN

Specializes in Labor and Delivery. Has 2 years experience.

Thank you. WGU wants all the prerequisites done first, but National it looks like bakes them in AND has a post-bacc format. They're still expensive, but less so than WCU by a large margin (GI Bill will probably cover it). I went ahead and set myself up for their sales pitch, so I'll see what I find out...

babeinboots, I saw elsewhere that you're an NU LA student? What can you tell me about that, as I'd be applying for the same?

Sure, NU's BSN program is 22 months and about 43 grand. Each class is either one or two months long and you take one class at a time. Acceptance is based on a point system that includes pre-req GPA, TEAS V score, and an essay. 20 students are excepted twice a year. NU's program is accelerated whether you have a previous degree or not; about half my cohort has a previous bachelors degree, I do not.

NU is still expensive but luckily I still qualify for grants that will cover half. Also, on a side note, from my research, some Cal states end up being just as much as NU ( CSULA is about 20 grand a year for 2-2.5 years). I did meet a nurse during one of my clinical rotations who took all her classes at NU, pre-reqs included and she said it cost her 90 grand. I really suggest attending multiple CC and getting as many pre-reqs done as you can before transferring to any university.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

first off, i would say get concrete numbers, or at least close to them so you know what your looking at in terms of loans, and other things. include extra every semester, because tuition does go up sometimes, even if by a few hundred dollars which can make a difference, and also for nursing school supplies, textbooks, a stolen stethoscope, etc

i would not recommend taking a loan out that is greater than your first years expected income.

from my understanding, cali is over saturated with nursing students and graduate nurses who can not find jobs for 6 months-1 year after graduation. keep your location in mind.

how are you supporting yourself during nursing school? thats also an important factor

im also a second degree student. i get federal loans and a private loan. and a tiny ( mean tiny, and it makes a dent, a helpful but tiny dent) scholarship. im lucky to have my husband support me through this all, because it becomes a lot of money. especially private schools. but the money does pile up and you feel like drowning all the time. im attempting to make payments on my loans prior to their due date, so its not all piling on extra interest. but the fact that my husband is working, paying the rent, bills, etc, is something i don't worry about.

scholarship websites are everywhere.... but you won't qualify for every scholarship out there, plus there are hundreds of students applying.

the majority of scholarships come through the school.... talk to your school, what kind of scholarships will they offer you or ones you might qualify for, based on their current student history.

relocation may not sound fun, but consider it. it might be cheaper in comparison to a 50k loan.

ive seen people pay 10-15k for their adn, get jobs, and have their employers pay for their rn-bsn program. something to consider.

another fun thing. it was nearly impossible for me to get private loans until about 1 week ago. I couldn't qualify on my own (lack of job), my husband didn't qualify, my parents didn't all due to other financial burdens/loans/mortgages in their name. i lucked out with a distant family member.

do you have good credit? do you have enough saved up incase scholarships/free money/private loans don't come through?

there are plenty of schools, which will be covered under that 20k a year from the GI Bill.

We are all in a rush, I know I was, but honestly.... there is NO nursing shortage.

hospitals NEED more nurses, but they WILL NOT hire more nurses, not unless patient ratios become set in stone to something they should be, and not what they are now.

also good to point out... my school offers students options just as full time or part time options, for working moms/dads, and other adult/working students. does your school have that option? day time/night time track, etc. very flexible in that sense.

a lot of schools do recommend not to work, but a lot of students also manage to pull it off. its all about time managment, and making everything work in your favor.... not as easy task, but I see it get done.

if you do work, try and find a job where they give you tuition reimbursement!

and....

I'm most likely not going to receive Pell Grants or anything like that (it's a possibility, but I have to apply for the timeline extension and all that - not guaranteed).

odd question, what do you mean by that?