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Managing money and student loans

Posted

Hi everyone. This is my first post here. I'm going to graduate in December of this year and I'll be taking my state boards shortly after. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter! The time is fast approaching when I'll have to face the real world.

One of my concerns is managing my student debt. I will be graduating with my ASN, and my student loans will be approximately $65,000. I anticipate my first RN job will pay around $28/hour, and my student loan payment will be about $750/month for the foreseeable future. Even though my income will be higher than any job I've ever had, I won't be making much more than my previous profession when factoring in my monthly payments. It's frustrating because despite all the sacrifices I've made for nursing school, my income will only go up by a small amount. I was under the false impression that be becoming a RN would dramatically improve my quality of life.

My question is this. Has anyone found a way to effectively manage their student loans without being forced to make massive payments each month? Where can I turn to for relief?

-JF

I haven't graduated yet, but I am very familiar with managing money and being in debt from school. I worked part-time while in school which cut down on some of my expenses, but I still have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I can offer some advice based on that. Perhaps you can work per diem in addition to your job? The pay is higher and the job itself is flexible. You can pick up shifts when they're available or pass if you have other plans. Also, living frugally helps a lot. Cutting down expenses where they can be spared makes a HUGE difference. Cook at home instead of going out to eat, and postpone buying that amazing but expensive purse and instead buy a modestly/cheaply priced bag that will serve its purpose for the time being. Rather than paying for a gym membership, buy simple 10-lb weights and workout at home. Debt is no fun for anyone - at least we're not going to med school! Good luck. Financial struggles always seem to be one of the hardest things to overcome.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Yikes, you drank the Kool-Aid. We're continuously raising the warning flag here on AN... trying to convince students not to fall for the sales pitch that convinces you to 'buy' that humongously expensive program. I am so sorry you are caught up in this mess.

My only suggestion? Pick up as much OT as you can to start chipping away at that loan. Take advantage of any free training that is offered and work you way up the career ladder to snag higher paying gigs as soon as you can. BTW, new grads in my neck of the woods are not making anywhere near $28 an hour, so at least that's a plus for you.

There are some federal programs designed to provide student loan relief - but if you're making that much money, it's highly unlikely that you will qualify for any of them. If you have private loans, there is no help at all. And please be careful.. if you default, the consequences can be severe. In some states (including mine), you can't even renew your professional license if you are in default on student loans. Default will also crush your credit rating & effectively shut you out of financing any major purchase.

Working additional jobs and going to great lengths to cut cost weren't part of my envisioned post-graduate lifestyle. When I made the decision to go to school, I had the perception I would have extra money. I would save for a down payment on a house, I'd be able to go on vacation, go to nice restaurants once in a while, etc.. The reality is, I'll be just as broke as I've always been, but in a worse situation considering the potential consequences of default. There has to be a better way...

Dang. That's expensive for an associates. It's a bit late to advise to research your average salary in your area comparing to the cost of education. You ultimately accepted the responsibilities when you signed off on loans and schools.

I wish we could offer you comforting advice - it would be nice if I could recommend a secret benefactor who pays graduate nurses' loans off out of the goodness of his/her heart. However, I'm not try to come across as mean, but you are the one who enrolled in the school and should have evaluated how financially you would be supporting yourself throughout and after school to pay for your education. If you didn't, then now is a good time to do so and perhaps seek financial counseling. I agree that 65,000 is quite pricey for an Associate's!

duskyjewel

Specializes in hospice.

No. $65,000 is insane for an associate's! Why is it so expensive?!

Medic2BSN13, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care Transport. Has 8 years experience.

This is an extremely unfortunate position to be in as a new graduate, yet so many college grads, not just nurses, are borrowing way too much money in loans. I am a second degree nurse who attended a private university and had a very high amount of debt as well. I am no expert on finances, but I do know some ways of helping manage your student debt. You may think this is nonsense, but in the long term it will help significantly.

1.) If you have multiple loans, pay off the loan with the smallest balance first, by dumping any extra money you have into that specific monthly payment. Once that loan is payed off, carry that same monthly payment on to the next loan with the lowest balance basically making double payments on that loan. Continue until loan is payed off. See the pattern? (Also, ensure you are staying current on each loan by paying the minimum balance. If needed, apply for deferments/forbearance to focus on one/two loans initially.)

2.) Pay on each loan weekly or biweekly. Compounding interest is accrued on a schedule based on principal balance, and making smaller, more frequent payments reduces the overall interest you will pay over the course of a loan.

3.) As many others mentioned, pick up extra shifts and earn overtime pay, holiday pay, shift differentials, etc in addition to living a frugal life. Here is your extra money to begin the process.

4.) Once offered a professional position, ask about loan repayment or try to negotiate for loan reimbursement as part of your total compensation package. (Many employers no longer offer this, but if you already have a bachelors or aren't required to get one ask about replacing tuition reimbursement with loan reimbursement.)

As I said, I am no expert, but these tips are how I am currently repaying my debt. It seems like it is pointless, but I can attest that if you actually make an effort to reduce your debt, it will disappear quicker than you think. Good luck!

I haven't graduated yet, but I am very familiar with managing money and being in debt from school. I worked part-time while in school which cut down on some of my expenses, but I still have accumulated quite a bit of debt. I can offer some advice based on that. Perhaps you can work per diem in addition to your job? The pay is higher and the job itself is flexible. You can pick up shifts when they're available or pass if you have other plans. Also, living frugally helps a lot. Cutting down expenses where they can be spared makes a HUGE difference. Cook at home instead of going out to eat, and postpone buying that amazing but expensive purse and instead buy a modestly/cheaply priced bag that will serve its purpose for the time being. Rather than paying for a gym membership, buy simple 10-lb weights and workout at home. Debt is no fun for anyone - at least we're not going to med school! Good luck. Financial struggles always seem to be one of the hardest things to overcome.

THIS!!!! 65k is beyond expensive most places ask that you have a BSN and if you don't sign a contract stating you will complete within 5 years.

I have never heard of a graduate being paid 28hr let alone an ADN so your very lucky.

where are you located? Unless the school lied to you about that as well. In that case your about to get a big wake up call not with just school but life period.

The best thing I can think of is get a part time job at the hospital and start paying immediately. Do as a previously stated live frugally and once you graduate work OT

rob4546, ADN, BSN

Specializes in ICU. Has 7 years experience.

Look into student loan forgiveness programs if the loans are federally granted. Around my area they have programs for people that choose to work for a couple years in rural areas. I believe they also have programs for people that would want to work in the prison system. Wish I knew more, but I didn't have to contemplate this problem in my situation. Some of my fellow students talked about this around graduation.

Best of luck to you.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

"My question is this. Has anyone found a way to effectively manage their student loans without being forced to make massive payments each month? Where can I turn to for relief?"

The only way to 'manage' your loans is to make those 'massive payments' each and every month for a long, long time. The only place you can 'turn for relief' is facing your mirror. You signed up for this- you need to fulfill your obligations. Sorry, but that's the stone, cold truth.

Have you considered working for the Indian Health Service? They will pay 20K a year towards your loans? Also, the military will do loan repayment, and sometimes the VA will do loan repayment if you work for them. Some states (Florida is one) will repay some of your loans if you work in a facilty. Also, there is the HRSA loan repayment program (which is somewhat selective).

I plan on doing IHS or joining the military. I will have about 40K in loans when I am done with my BSN.

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

65k for an associates?!? The CRNAS program near my house is 15k leads than that and I know of quite a few NP programs that cost 20k and under. I'm sorry you are going through this, but you should have researched prior to taking on a debt for an Associate's (which is insane!).

Pick up a ton of OT. No new cars, no vacation or house, eat in. Live like you are a broke college student.

Best of luck!

Sounds like a very expensive life lesson! There is no easy way or short-cut to repaying your loans, just have to suck it up and do it. Try to focus on the positives though, you have your ADN degree, and I'm assuming your RN license? And you are only 18 years old so you have a lot of life and opportunities in front of you. I would say, despite the $65k in debt, you potentially have a great future and can definitely have the post-grad life you envisioned... once you pay off your debt! If this were my situation, I would do everything I could to pay that debt off as soon as humanly possible. The faster you pay down the principle, the less you will end up paying in the long run. Live at home if you can, or rent a room, and just work your tail off and pay off that debt. Once you achieve that, the world is your oyster.

Have you looked at loan consolidation? Depending on many different factors, you can lower your payment by extending the repayment period.

You will pay more (more interest over life of the loan) but the monthly payments may be more manageable.

ASN as in an ASSOCIATES?! I agree with previous posters, that is just an insane amount and I can't believe banks would even let you take out that much. I'm not allowed to go over 50,000 or so for my BSN, but I won't be taking out that much even. And as others have asked, where do you live? I'd like to move there to make that much money as a new grad. ;) I live in a very high cost of living city where nurses are paid more than average, but still not that high.

I recommend looking into Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I've been using that to pay down credit cards and whatnot, and can happily say I have $1,000 in my savings account and only school loans to eventually pay. I live a pretty 'poor' life, but it's worth it to not have to take out such high loans. I plan on living that way even after graduation so that I can pay of my $40,000 or so off in less than 3 years. Just put as much as you possibly can into your loans to try and get them down quickly!

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Why on earth did you not figure all of this out before enrolling in that school for an insane amount of money? Why would wait until near graduation? People seem to have it in their mind that becoming a nurse is the answer to all of their problems in life and here is the perfect example. I will have money to do whatever I want. They don't realize they have to pay that money back when school is done. Are you even going to be able to secure a job? Is this insanely expensive school a for profit non-accredited school by chance? I can't even say anymore. It is just crazy that you are coming to this realization now. Nursing does not make you magically rich.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

OP??????