How did you finance your NP/DNP education

  1. For those of you who had student loan debt after obtaining your NP/DNP, was it worth it? Were you able to find programs and/or employers who offered good incentives such as student loan payback plans? Are you able to make monthly payments and still have a reasonable living income? How did you finance your education?

    Apologies if I'm being nosy, I'm just weighing my options on programs. Some are better than others, but they're also more expensive. Expense doesn't equate better but in my case the program(s) that I'm interested in, and are better suited for my familial needs, are somewhat expensive. Plus I'm trying to avoid for-profit at all costs.

    OK, enough rambling. Please share your insight, experiences, lessons learned, etc. Any information or constructive feedback will be helpful.

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  3. by   elkpark
    I am in a different advanced practice specialty, not NP, but, when I returned to grad school (MSN), I was able to get some funding from a student loan/scholarship program offered by my state (to increase the number of nurses and STEM professionals in the state) and from a national, competitive scholarship program. I worked part-time to cover my living costs during school, and I took out student loans (federal loans, not private) to cover the rest of the cost. I took out no more in loans than absolutely necessary, and I lived as cheaply as possible in school (embrace the "starving student" lifestyle! ).

    I didn't get any kind of employer assistance with repaying my loans, but I hadn't expected any and had no difficulty making my loan payments over the ten-year repayment period. I consider it money well spent and a worthwhile investment in my career. The scholarship from my state could be "worked off" by working in my state after I finished my degree, which I did; if I had not worked in the state, I would have had to pay back the money.

    I would encourage you, also to embrace the "starving student" lifestyle and not take out any more in loans that absolutely necessary. As the dean of the law school a former boyfriend of mine attended used to say to the law students, cautioning them about excessive spending while in school and student loans, "If you live like a lawyer while you're a student, you'll be living like a student when you're a lawyer."

    Best wishes for your journey!
  4. by   cmonlaf
    Good question! I'd like to know too. I am am working towards my DNP. I work 32 hours a week still so I can pay for tuition out if pocket- I am in a 5 year program. Once I start clinicals I will probably have to take some loans out, but I am trying to delay this as long as possible. I got a small scholarship through my work that I'll apply for annually, and there's another one through my state that I am currently applying for.

    Schools also usually offer small scholarships. This is my second time in graduate school and both have had scholarships. My current school offers a few annually that are approx a grand each. I didn't apply to any because I was overloaded with schoolwork last fall, but other students applied and were rewarded some. Any little bit helps.

    I also agree with tightening your budget. This can help immensely. I had a baby right before my program started, which didn't help the matter, but we greatly reduced our food spending which can lead to considerable savings. We used to eat out at least 2-3 times a week, and now it is maybe 2-3 times a month. We also shop at a different grocery store with lower prices.

    I would say look at state schools or other schools that offer affordable tuition. I am attending a state university, and when it's all said and done it will be about 50k. If I lived in the state where my school is and attended full time instead of part time I think it would be about 35k, which is not bad for a BSN to DNP program. I spent 30k getting my RN and paid it off in about 2-3 years, so I am thinking taking about the same out for my NP will be manageable. I do get a discount for reciprocity. There are cheaper ones out there.
  5. by   NurseBlaq
    I wholeheartedly agree on the living like a struggling student aspect. I'm trying to teach myself how to do extreme couponing and growing a garden to save on groceries.

    I have a child in college, a high school junior soon to go, and an elementary child. I also still have debt left from my other non-nursing masters but I want to go back for PMHNP. The debt is what has me afraid but I'm looking at the point of view of also earning more upon completion. I don't want cost to be a factor that keeps me from moving forward in my career because it will be well worth it in the end.

    My state also has a scholarship that you can "work off" and I'm looking into the Nurse Corps program. I've also considered the VA as an option because they're hurting for mental health professionals.

    Thanks for the ideas!