I wonder if the high home prices translate to universally high rents. By way of comparison, I have a few friends who live on Oahu who have told me that to BUY a house like we have here in the Midwest (modest three bedroom ranch, one bath, 1200SQ FT, built in the 1950's worth about 100K here) would cost AT LEAST $250,000 and that's not anywhere NEAR the beech. On the other hand they say that you can rent a nice two bedroom for around $1,200/month or less in many areas of the island (compared to about $550.00 or so per month here) within a short walk from the surf. Thus, there is a disparity of housing costs (which exists for a plethora of reasons including the relatively high number of rentals built due to Hawai being a tourest destination. Also the high cost of land inflates the cost of single unit dwellings) between renting apartments and owning a home. Perhaps this situation exists to some degree in New Jersey.
The travel option doesn't seem optimal based on the opinions of many others in this forum who feel that it would detract from the best possible CRNA school preparation (Keep in mind we could definitely stay here and work in major city ICU's, however we MAY not be able to secure employment in one of the three preeminent local ICU's. Thus, moving would strictly be for the purpose of obtaining optimal experience rather than maximizing income, although income is always a consderation albeit in the context of overall cost of living.) In addition, a travel position would exclude the type of "student preceptorship" that we are looking for (in addition to requiring stong ICU skills "in hand" to be practical).
My point with schools recognizing "regional favorites" has more to do with the sort of intrinsic, bias inherent in ALL human endeavors than nefarious favoritism. Thus, if you asked me to name a GREAT state university, I am more likely to name Purdue or the University of Michigan because I am familiar with them, than say the University of Oregon which lies a great distance to my West. In fact, the University of Oregon may be equal to or even BETTER than Purdue or the school in Ann Arbor (obviously, the specific program in question would probably be determinitive in any such abjudication). In the same way CRNA school admission boards are probably subject to the same sort of intrinsic "bias". They are familiar with certain ICU's, and have established opinions as to their excellence or lack there of (it is not necessary that these notions be accurate only that they often exist). Building upon my state school analogy if I were on such a selection board and presented with two equal applicants, one from the University of Oregon and the other matriculating from Purdue, I very well might be inclined to give the nod to the Purdue applicant (cetaris paribus, understanding that we are talking about ICU's rather than schools in this case).