Commute vs. Tuition savings



I'm in Philly and am a very much a non-trad student. Married with 5 young children. I have to be practical and while the "best" local schools are great, they are much too expensive, so I am considering commuting to some that are a little farther away.

I'm considering a 20 mile commute to Eastern Univ. I already have a B.S. degree but it is non-science.

Eastern has the "2nd degree BSN" program that I need. Their most recent nclex pass rates were 88% which I wasn't thrilled about.

What do you think? Experiences? Suggestions for other schools?


I believe UPenn gives a good amount of financial aid from what I have heard...

BeachsideRN, ASN

1,722 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 9 years experience.

20 miles doesn't seem bad to me (I'm contemplating 20 mile one way to a private school vs 60 miles to a public school) however the 87% is a little concerning.


238 Posts

An 88% NCLEX pass rate is above the national average. Look on your state's BON website for in-state and out-of-state comparisons.


238 Posts

2013 NCLEX statistics: PA 85.02%, total USA 83.04%

Specializes in Emergency. Has 13 years experience.

Sold my truck...bought a little 35/40 mpg Honda and commute at least 3X week 39 miles each way to go to class...Do what you have to do!

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

What schools are you looking at???

I went to an accelerated traditional program at La Salle that was part time; I did my pre-req's at CCP, which cut down on cost, and the nursing courses at the university for two years which included summer semesters.

Also, what is your GPA like? Depending on the schools, you may be eligible for more aid to offset the cost; you have to find out what the schools are offering.

I wouldn't travel so far when there are children involved, but that's my opinion, especially when there are too many programs that are excellent in the traditional time, or provide the acceleration that can be done over time.

I would look not for the ones with higher price tags (Thinking Jefferson, Penn, and Drexel-I wanted to go Drexel but chose La Salle due to cost; the program fit for me and took ALL of my pre req's) and look into the other programs in the area as well, like Holy Family (in the city, has a part time schedule) to Widener (has various programs) for example.

From my experience, most programs are very similar in hours and requirements; depending on the schools, the networking of having clinicals in the area hospitals and facilities that you may be interested in is a plus and for potential marketing. Going to an school in Philly gives reputation credibility; most of the facilities have worked with area universities and local colleges to help produce nurses prepared to have skill sets to contribute in the clinical ladder programs.

Unfortunately, the surplus of experienced and new grads for over 10 years (when the area hospitals closed or restructured, thus eliminating at least 40-50% of nursing positions in acute care) have even nurses in stellar programs having to get experience outside the acute setting if they desire the acute care setting, or casting the net wider due to less positions and many nurses to choose from in the desired acute setting.

I don't know your situation, however, as a nurse who has worked in Philly for 8 years and has been able to network effectively with area hospitals and did extensive research before I chose a program, feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.

Best Wishes.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.
I'm considering a 20 mile commute to Eastern Univ.
I commuted 95 miles each way, 190 miles round trip, to school five days per week while living in California. And when I attended the LPN-to-RN completion program in Oklahoma City, my commute was 225 miles one way (450 miles round trip) several times per week.

20 miles doesn't even sound significant enough to be called a true commute.


3 Posts

Stunned at all the commuting you all did!! I thought *I* liked to drive, but you all have me beat! :o)

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your advice.

I currently have a non-science B.S. and am actually thinking of Aria Health School of Nursing under Penn Abington. Here's why. It's a competitive in price, has great NCLEX pass rates and is only 6 miles from me. (Spoiled, I know).

Plus, after only 26 months (to earn my R.N.) I'd only be about 6-12 months from my B.S.N. but I'd be employable FIRST which is really important since my family will be needing my income asap.

You all are so helpful. Thank you so much.


16 Posts

I have 6 kids (6-15) and commute 65 minutes each way to an after degree program. Its tough, but it can be done.


244 Posts

Always check about traffic when considering choosing a school. It could be very stressful. I lived in Philly for 18 yrs and graduated from CCP, and you have plenty of choices when it comes to nursing schools. I would recommend a BSN program because many hospitals in Philly are hiring only BSN students.