How much do you owe in student loans?

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by MJB2010 MJB2010 (Guide) Guide Expert Nurse

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I want to go back to school but I can't justify the cost since I am still paying on my loans. But, if I wait, the degree won't have much of a return on investment.

beeker

beeker

411 Posts

I owe 47K and I am strongly considering going back for NP. Honestly my only hesitation is more loans. I've been paying at my loans for many years and will be more many to come. 

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

I probably wouldn't have gone back to school if I have to take out loans.  When I started my MSN, I found that I could budget for it with my salary while taking advantage of tuition reimbursement and funding from HRSA grants which were easily available at the time.  Nowadays, graduate school price has skyrocketed and there's very little sources of funding.  That's part of my hesitation for not advancing to a DNP which would cost so much for not having any appreciable salary increase.  It's easy to get funding for PhD in my area but again, return of investment-wise it doesn't seem attractive and I'm not sure I want to be in academia anyway.

Lunah, MSN, RN

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 14 years experience. 33 Articles; 13,694 Posts

Zero, nada, zilch. Four nursing-related degrees (ASN, BSN, MSN x 2). Do not put yourself into a hole you can't get out of, it's not worth it. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

21 minutes ago, juan de la cruz said:

I probably wouldn't have gone back to school if I have to take out loans.  When I started my MSN, I found that I could budget for it with my salary while taking advantage of tuition reimbursement and funding from HRSA grants which were easily available at the time.  Nowadays, graduate school price has skyrocketed and there's very little sources of funding.  That's part of my hesitation for not advancing to a DNP which would cost so much for not having any appreciable salary increase.  It's easy to get funding for PhD in my area but again, return of investment-wise it doesn't seem attractive and I'm not sure I want to be in academia anyway.

If you did end up going the DNP route, what would the "added value" be to your practice?

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

17 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

If you did end up going the DNP route, what would the "added value" be to your practice?

It depends.  There is a capstone project in the program and I think whatever that involves can potentially open doors for networking and promotion to leadership roles.  Having said that, I could already apply for leadership roles with my years of experience now -- it's just something I'm not interested in.  Many schools are recognizing DNP for faculty promotion and tenure but that would not add to my earning potential (may even lower it).  I am projecting another 10 years before retirement and at this stage, I can handle being a clinician until then.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

4 minutes ago, juan de la cruz said:

It depends.  There is a capstone project in the program and I think whatever that involves can potentially open doors for networking and promotion to leadership roles.  Having said that, I could already apply for leadership roles with my years of experience now -- it's just something I'm not interested in.  Many schools are recognizing DNP for faculty promotion and tenure but that would not add to my earning potential (may even lower it).  I am projecting another 10 years before retirement and at this stage, I can handle being a clinician until then.

Thanks. I was under the impression that it wouldn't add too much to clinical acumen- I assume experience and keeping up with continuing ED takes care of that. Sounds like you're better off without the debt. Now if you lucked into a free ride from a university would you do it?

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 30 years experience. 9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

12 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

Thanks. I was under the impression that it wouldn't add too much to clinical acumen- I assume experience and keeping up with continuing ED takes care of that. Sounds like you're better off without the debt. Now if you lucked into a free ride from a university would you do it?

I personally think it won't add anything to my clinical knowledge because the way the programs are set up, I will only need the DNP completion courses which center around health program implementation, epidemiology, public health, health policy, etc.  They are good courses to learn about but a deep dive into them is not necessary to function as a good NP.  Research utilization was already part of the MSN program we had. 

The university we're affiliated with offers us full time employees a 2/3 reduction in tuition for all their graduate programs except the DNP (and the Master's Entry program for non-nurses).  It seems worth it for getting a PhD but then the field of academia with all the associated pyramid scheme and productivity requirements of achieving tenure doesn't seem appealing to me. FWIW, another Northern California university an hour away is offering free tuition for all their PhD in Nursing students from a philanthropic grant.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 10 years experience. 962 Posts

About 23k now... Finished school in 2010....... (2nd degree), and had a handful of loans from my old degree (2002)... Guess it could have been down to about 21k but half of my loans are delayed with zero interest.. And... zero interest is zero interest.. ?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,078 Posts

I still owed about $11,000 on my undergrad degree when I went back for an MSN. I took out $16,000 in loans for my MSN. Currently owe about $16,000 on both combined. 

I maximized employer tuition reimbursement and didn’t go to an expensive school. 

Crookshanks24

Crookshanks24

12 Posts

I owe around 87K. The bulk is from my first Bachelor's Degree right out of high school, I did not realize at the time what a mistake I was making. I then got my ADN and paid in full as I went, later a BSN sing tuition assistance and paying as I went, later an MSN, where I paid some and borrowed some. Student loans give me so much stress. 

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 11 years experience. 2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

I owe zero. Please investigate every possible way to do this without going into debt and, if you can't, really REALLY investigate if it is worth it to be shackled in such a way.