HELP.....Should I live off student loans?

  1. Hi,
    Anyone live off student loans while in nursing school?
    I am a single mom and currently working full-time in a cubicle job I hate, and I am completing my pre-req part-time.
    It would take me 3 years to finish my RN and I dont know how I would be able to get to clinicals by 4:00.
    I am considering a LPN program that would be completed in a year if I went full-time, and then bridging to RN once I begin working. Hopefully tuition asst. would be an option!!
    The only problem is how would I pay the bills? Are there good part-time jobs for LPN students in a hospital setting?
    I was thinking about student loans to compensate for the lost income during this time, has anyone gone this route?
    Please help!!!!
  2. Visit denise0815 profile page

    About denise0815

    Joined: May '08; Posts: 94; Likes: 13
    from US

    11 Comments

  3. by   icyounurse
    I dont know what kind of income you need, but its hard for many to get enough federal loans as an undergrad to pay all living expenses. They have Plus loans, but those are usually much higher interest I think. You should contact your school's financial aid office as it probably varies from state to state/school to school ect.
    Just FYI- after one semester of nursing school many hospitals will let you work as a Nurse Tech which is similar to CNA work.In my area it pays 10$ an hour and its set up to schedule around classes. This is what I did while going through school to supplement my loans as they weren't enough on their own for my situation.
  4. by   desert_MP
    Denise,
    Hopefully I can be of some help here. Im married and my wife is a homewife. She stays at home with the children and works part time as a dog obedience trainer. However, the small amount of money that brings in does not come close to covering the expenses of our four person family. Kids are expensive as you know! However, it ultimately all came down to a few things:
    1.) Do we have the control to not overspend when we see $9,000+ in the bank?
    2.) What is more important, spending time with my children or working and going to school everyday?
    3.) Am I truly committed?

    Just remember that nursing school is a very short period of your life. It's like a passing season. It was a no brainer for me to live off of student loans. My grades shot up when I left my job behind and my relationship with my family at home is also much better. Im sitting at a 3.5GPA.

    Again, remember that this is a short season of your life. You are paving for yourself a future with a solid career. You may have to take some risks. Stay the course, remember those who have gone before you, and Never give up.

    Hope this helped.
  5. by   leqwedz
    hi,I'm currently an LPN in Delaware state...in a new tech school.it's been on for two yrs now.i got to it because of it's high passing rate of NCLEX the first time.so i had to go and try.before that i was in a part time school in philadelphia and it would take me 2 yrs before i get done.so i droped out after one month and joined this other full time school.be carefull when you choose schools...the one that i droped off ater a month charged me 1700 for that month only...and the down payment for LPN school is always hefty..be sure and do reserch before you do anything..very good research.

    if you ask me..don't leave off the student loans..try another rout...get a room mate if you have to..and go your labour department in your state..they give you up to 5 k of free money...depending on your need..you know how that goes..heads up..you must have been paying your taxes and you don't owe uncle sum....

    good luck.
  6. by   BrnEyedGirl
    Denise,..I feel your pain. I went through Nursing school as a single Mom of two. I worked part time as a tech while I was in school and took out as much in student loans as they would give me. We made it. I finally graduated. I am now 42yrs old and one of those daughters is on her own and in college, the other in highschool. I just paid my loans off about 9 months ago. I paid over $700 a month plus they took every tax return,...but I'm now paid in full. Would I do it differently if I were to do it agian? I'm not sure I could have,....I wanted to be a nurse and I had a mortgage to pay and kids to feed. We never went hungry and I didn't loose my house and I became an RN and was able to support my family and pay back my loans. It sucked, but I think it was worth it. I will add that I also had great family support,..grandparents to watch the kids, to occasionally buy groceries, to get the oil changed in my car etc. I couldn't have done it without them!
  7. by   pers
    It may depend on where you live and what school you attend. I have a friend who is a single mom who went back to nursing school and didn't work. She found some apartments that base your rent off of your income so she could live there rent free (income was $0) and applied for grants and loans through the school (ADN) financial aid office which was enough to cover her living expenses. There weren't a lot of extras while she was in school but it was worth it to her to be able to focus on her education and her son without having to work.
  8. by   Jules A
    Quote from RN-Cardiac
    Denise,..I feel your pain. I went through Nursing school as a single Mom of two. I worked part time as a tech while I was in school and took out as much in student loans as they would give me. We made it. I finally graduated. I am now 42yrs old and one of those daughters is on her own and in college, the other in highschool. I just paid my loans off about 9 months ago. I paid over $700 a month plus they took every tax return,...but I'm now paid in full. Would I do it differently if I were to do it agian? I'm not sure I could have,....I wanted to be a nurse and I had a mortgage to pay and kids to feed. We never went hungry and I didn't loose my house and I became an RN and was able to support my family and pay back my loans. It sucked, but I think it was worth it. I will add that I also had great family support,..grandparents to watch the kids, to occasionally buy groceries, to get the oil changed in my car etc. I couldn't have done it without them!
    Good for you and imo working and not totally depending on loans was a smart, responsible thing to do. I'm not a fan of not working to "focus on school" even if its a luxury someone can financially afford. What is the point in having no income for several years? I worked a min of 30 hours through LPN school and the RN bridge program and made about $100,000 that I would never be able to make up if I had quit working to "focus on school".
  9. by   bananabubbletea
    Hi
    I totally understand where you are coming from and it is a hard decision to make. No one wants the burden of loans. I have to live off of loans because right now I am in my last year for my bachelors then plan on starting an lpn then bridge to rn. I also tried working fulltime/school FT/ and raising a baby full time. I flunked that semester. I have a daughter and my husband has 2 other kids to support so our income is pathetic. I choose to live off loans because looking into my long term future I have budgeted to the best of my abilities and plan on buying a HUD house with my savings so I won't ever have to carry a mortage. I do not carry car payments and will never take another c.c. if it were my last hope. So basically what I am saying is student loans works for my situation because I don't plan on carrying much other debt. Maybe some people might think this is unrealistic but I am constantly budgeting my future and accounting for everything to have the most realistic budget possible. Your education is the best thing you can invest in and your career is what enables you to take mortages and car payments. Just make sure you are aware of how much money you will get and realize you shouldn't 100% rely on it because financial aid does get messed up. Also, I prefer LPN to RN bridge because LPN can be acquired so quick and you can work and make $$$. One yr flies by really quick and the sacrifices are minimal. Good luck with everything.
  10. by   UnicornRN
    With the current job market being what it is, I would think twice about incurring a ton of debt for school. What if you can't get a job right out of nursing school? You'll be stuck with the debt and no way to pay it off. If there's any way for you to pay cash for school that's the way to go. There is a lot of money out there for nursing students (scholarships, etc.) and you may qualify for a grant. Otherwise I would pay as much cash as you can, even if it takes a little longer.
  11. by   AshiPanda
    Hey... I went through a one year LPN program. The first part of the program is the CNA portion, then you are eligible to take the board exam for a CNA certificate. This would allow you to get a job in the hospital setting as a CNA (in FL, hospitals start CNAs at like $12-13/hr.) Then the rest of the year was the LPN portion. How our schedule went was we were at school Monday-Thursday. Mon and Tues were theory, in the classroom from 7:25A-2P. Wednesday and Thursday were clinical days from 6:30A to 4:30P.

    And the whole tuition costs like $3,400 roughly (there is a online anatomy and physiology course you take for like 2 months before you actually get into the CNA and LPN portions and it costed like $400 (hence I added it to the $3,000)^^.

    Down here... single moms could definatley get financial aid to cover the whole course with the PELL grant! I'm not sure where you live... but I just wanted to tell you how my course went to give you maybe a comparison.

    There were a lot of single moms in my class that did it and graduated (though I know it was tough for them at times and I know they had some family support to help with kids at times). It's tough, but if you wanna get outta the job you have now (which was also my deal), you just gotta go and do it! Also, this LPN program is able to bridge into RN through a community college here.

    It was purely one year of HELL for me (I paid everything outta pocket). Between school and two jobs, my time spent outta the house was nearly 70hrs per week...

    But life is SO much better after nursing school, I love being a nurse and it's SO rewarding... I love the job and I can finally afford to live XD.

    Good luck and I hope you decide to do it! =)
  12. by   desert_MP
    A lot of good replies in here. Something I've noticed that nobody pointed out is dont forget your children! Yes, working is a responsible thing to do, however your children and your future should be your top two concerns in your life right now, in my opinion. It's a very short time in your life...if keeping your sanity, keeping a good relationship with your children, and keeping successful grades means that you live off of loans then do it! I guess I lean more towards this way because my mother was a workaholic. She believed that working two jobs and buying us kids what we wanted was how she would make us happy. She was dead wrong and regrets it to this day. She also was going to school at that time. Just remember your priorities. Is living off of only loans the BEST way? Probably not. Just that...when considering everything laid out before you, never forget the kids. I almost did.
  13. by   picurn10
    Sorry, I didn't read the replies, but I thought my experience may help:
    I'm also a single mom and I started LPN school in August. I had always planned on RN or BSN, but when I found out about the LPN to RN bridge option it seemed perfect for my situation. If the worst should happen and I failed out/had to quit at least I would be able to work as a nurse until I could go back and complete my RN.

    I was able to get a Pell Grant that covered 100% of my tuition and books! I worked (waiting tables nights and weekends) for the first few months of school and then I just couldn't handle it. My son was in daycare 60hrs/wk and I just had no time to study or take care of him. So we've lived off of my loans for the better part of a year. Personally, with no help at all from my sons father I just couldn't be a good mom and go to school and work. I just couldn't.

    Anyway, I graduate from LPN school in June and then start my two semesters to complete RN starting in August!!!! This past year has been really, really tough. I had no social life, no time for anything fun, but I know our lives will be so much better for it. There is another single mom in my class who is really having a tough time, barely passing, but I think the big difference between us is that I went in knowing it was going to be so hard and I was going to do whatever I had to in order to complete my nursing degree. I think she was sort of blindsided by the pace and load of it all. This site helped me immensely in terms of knowing what I was in for!

    I'm actually anticipating RN school being "easy" enough for me to work simply because my LPN year was 5 days per week, 8hrs a day, no month long break between semesters, and we graduate a full 6wks later than RN school. My RN program is two class days that are far shorter than my LPN's class days, and we only have 2 6hr clinicals vs. the 4 8hr clinicals we do for most of LPN. I do plan to work a couple shifts while in RN school, but even if I can't I'm willing to take on those loans because all the hospitals in my area offer sign on bonuses and tuition reimbursement/assistance.

    My thing is, do whatever it takes to get through nursing school and then worry about the rest later. My earning potential as an RN is so much higher than it was before, we didn't have insurance, etc... So no matter how you look at it, we're much better off in the end. I don't mind if that means I have to live in a small place and not take on car payment or whatever so I can pay things off once it's all done. But the priority to me was take care of my son (he's 4) and get through school, nothing else matters.

    Good luck to you! It is so tough, but will be so worth it in the end!!!

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