Is this at a private, for-profit vocational institute? If so, please be very wary of those schools. I started out at one like that and it was a huge scam. A lot of the for-profit schools have complaints lodged against them and a lot of those complaints have to do with money, among other things. Most of those types of schools (for-profit trade schools/colleges) penalize you if you have to withdraw early for any reason (the one I was at tried to penalize me for that by "prorating" my tuition and I've read and heard about the same thing from many others). I'm not saying all private for-profit schools are bad, but please just be cautious. Especially if they want you to have the entire cost of tuition covered up front, before you start, and pressure you to get a pricey alternative loan. I feel like some of those schools are taking advantage of people that don't have time to wait on a waitlist, to do a mile long list of pre-reqs or to get a perfect GPA for admission.
Again, I'm not saying all private for-profit schools are scams. I just want to warn others about what happened to me and to be wary. And yes, I personally think $40,000 is too much for an associate's degree RN program.
Good luck on whatever you decide and I hope you find the right school for you!