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How to Afford School

SRNA   (456 Views | 6 Replies)
by JRoss JRoss (New) New Nurse

JRoss specializes in ICU/OR.

64 Profile Views; 4 Posts

I very much would like to attend CRNA school. I hate that finances are holding me back! I bought a house last year and my girlfriend is also in graduate school. I am not sure how I will afford to pay my bills (i.e., keep my house, lights/water on, eat food) while going to school. It seems like I can take the maximum student loans, as well as the GRAD PLUS loans. I might also look into additional private loans. I doubt there will be many Scholarship opportunities and those I have seen were miniscule.

Did anyone else face a similar circumstance while they wen't through school? Are there resources out there that I have overlooked or am unaware of? Share your stories with me. I am definitely open to advice.

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go_jets82 is a BSN, RN and specializes in CCRN, CMC, CRNI.

53 Posts; 1,160 Profile Views

I definitely agree with your feelings of indifference. I was accepted to CRNA school and am set to begin in June 2020. I also own a house, engaged and have 2 children. The finances seem unbearable but I have wanted this for as long as I can remember. We have a unique situation where my fiance's parents have offered to welcome us into their home while I am attending school, so we are in the process of selling our home. It feels like I am taking a huge step backwards but it will be for the best. We will make a decent amount on the house and add that to the amount I have saved for school. The loans/aid I get will also definitely help keep our heads above water for the next 2+ years. I am commuting by train 2hrs each way to the school I am attending, so things aren't ideal but where there is a will, there is a way. 

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

131 Posts; 2,128 Profile Views

I just started school, so keep that in mind. When I found out that I got accepted to school, I had mixed emotions. I was ecstatic to be in but also anxious about the finances. My wife and I have two kids. They are both in daycare. At the time we owned a home. When I got the acceptance call, we had about 5 months to get relocated. It was stressful to say the least. Luckily we had been working on improvements to our home and doubled down and finished a kitchen remodel and painted all the trim, exterior of the home, got a new roof put on, etc.. This allowed us to make a decent return on our home. Which is good because we will need that money while I am in school.

We had to move 2 states over, away from everything we knew. Luckily, my wife's job is allowing her to work from home. She is the first at her company to do this so it is not guaranteed to work out for the next three years. We are currently renting an apartment and paying for daycare. I am not able to work. There are a few students working part time this first semester. I'm not sure how long they will be able to, as the courses are demanding. If you don't have children you may be able to work some.  

We came into this with a decent savings account and I am so grateful that we did. Anesthesia school is stressful enough that having to stress everyday about finances would not be good for your mental health. This first year I borrowed the full cost of attendance (COA), which is set by the financial aid office. I went with the government direct unsubsidized for the first $20,500 of the year and borrowed the rest with a Discover Health Professions Loan. I am borrowing a total of $75k this first year. We decided to take out the max the first year just to be on the safe side. Hopefully, I won't have to that every year. 

The best advice I can give you is to save up as much as possible before school starts. Don't be afraid of the loans. We just decided not to worry about the money. There is so much else to worry about while in school. Some people will tell you use savings upfront to pay for school to save on interest. We decided to keep our savings as a sense of security. It is daunting to take on this much debt but many, many people before us have done it and are doing well today. 

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JRoss specializes in ICU/OR.

4 Posts; 64 Profile Views

17 minutes ago, Defibn' said:

I just started school, so keep that in mind. When I found out that I got accepted to school, I had mixed emotions. I was ecstatic to be in but also anxious about the finances. My wife and I have two kids. They are both in daycare. At the time we owned a home. When I got the acceptance call, we had about 5 months to get relocated. It was stressful to say the least. Luckily we had been working on improvements to our home and doubled down and finished a kitchen remodel and painted all the trim, exterior of the home, got a new roof put on, etc.. This allowed us to make a decent return on our home. Which is good because we will need that money while I am in school.

We had to move 2 states over, away from everything we knew. Luckily, my wife's job is allowing her to work from home. She is the first at her company to do this so it is not guaranteed to work out for the next three years. We are currently renting an apartment and paying for daycare. I am not able to work. There are a few students working part time this first semester. I'm not sure how long they will be able to, as the courses are demanding. If you don't have children you may be able to work some.  

We came into this with a decent savings account and I am so grateful that we did. Anesthesia school is stressful enough that having to stress everyday about finances would not be good for your mental health. This first year I borrowed the full cost of attendance (COA), which is set by the financial aid office. I went with the government direct unsubsidized for the first $20,500 of the year and borrowed the rest with a Discover Health Professions Loan. I am borrowing a total of $75k this first year. We decided to take out the max the first year just to be on the safe side. Hopefully, I won't have to that every year. 

The best advice I can give you is to save up as much as possible before school starts. Don't be afraid of the loans. We just decided not to worry about the money. There is so much else to worry about while in school. Some people will tell you use savings upfront to pay for school to save on interest. We decided to keep our savings as a sense of security. It is daunting to take on this much debt but many, many people before us have done it and are doing well today. 

Thanks for sharing! I may look into that Discover Health Professions Loan. I don't have any resources except myself until my gf can at least get into residency. I think I could probably get by if I could borrow $75k. Planning to really bust it this year to try and prepare for school. Ideally would like to get started in the August 2021 class. 

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

131 Posts; 2,128 Profile Views

The amount you can borrow is up to the school. Yes, you may be able to take out a personal loan on top of the COA but I would recommend that only as a last resort. Bust it now and save yourself from the extra stress and anxiety while in school. You can do it!

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77 Posts; 1,757 Profile Views

I was married with two kid, house, etc. when I went to CRNA school. People would always ask how I could afford to go to school. I would say “how can I afford NOT to go to school??”. I meant this both financially (even with maxed out loans, by decreasing your expenditures after school and making a great salary you can have a great financial future. Much better than as a RN) and also personally. If I had to continue to serve 2 to life in the ICU with no chance of parole I would have been miserable. Now I like my job, feel challenged and rewarded by it, and enjoy going to work (most days). The struggle of loans and, most importantly, decreasing lifestyle, to save money is well worth it. I would recommend listening to the White Coat Investor podcast as it delves into lots of these types of financial and lifestyle issues. Good luck. 

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FullGlass has 2 years experience as a BSN, MSN, NP and specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

6 Followers; 2 Articles; 993 Posts; 9,231 Profile Views

In addition to the other good suggestions posted, you can also apply for loan repayment programs.  Some employers. like large hospital chains and the VA, also offer loan repayment.

You might also consider doing AirBNB or getting a housemate to generate some income from your house.  You can also list a room for rent for traveling nurses.

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