Dear Nurse Beth,
I have gone through a long and tough road on the pathway to nursing. I never realized how difficult it was to get into a program in order to get my nursing career started.Unfortunately
, I've learned the hard way and at 26 I have finally been accepted into a program.
However, this program is an accelerated for-profit university and the prices are ridiculous! I have nearly maxed out all of my financial aid assistance, and will now have to rely on private loans. By the time I finish the program, I will be over $100k in debt and this will only be for my Bachelor's
degree. My question is although I've always wanted to become a nurse, is it worth being in serious debt?
The interests rate on these loans are unbelievable and I don't want to live my life with the burden of paying off this unreasonable amount of student debt. I've tried the ADN route but I was denied acceptance in those programs. My grades aren't horrible at all, but it seems that each year the required GPA of potential students are higher and higher. I don't feel like I deserve this but unfortunately, this is the cards that I'm dealt with.
My questions again are do you think I should or shouldn't attend this for profit program that will leave me with frightening debt? And should I consider a different career in the health care field? Since things are clearly not working out in Nursing. Thanks
Dear Is Nursing School Worth 100K in Debt,
That's a serious consideration and a lot of debt. It sounds like you are already in debt for schooling (you must have a Bachelor's degree to qualify for an accelerated program) and now you need to fund nursing school.
Depending where you live, and given your age (still young), you can make a good living as an RN. If, as you say, this program is your only option, then you could instead look at ways to pay off loans once you graduate. There are ways to pay back or forgive student loans. You could consider the military or the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment. Check out the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment NHSC Jobs Center
You might consider working for a time and putting your nursing career on the back burner while you re-evaluate your financial situation.
The variable we can't quantify here is how badly you want to be an RN. If it's your life dream, will you always have regrets if you don't go for it? Or is this life telling you to go a different direction? The answer does lie within you.
Best wishes on your decision.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
Nurses make pretty good money (in many areas), but we don't make AMAZING money. I wouldn't go $100K in debt for a BSN. It's not just the $100K you borrowed, but the interest on it. You'll be paying that off for decades. That's a mortgage payment.
I know it probably doesn't feel like it, but at 26 you really are quite young. You have other options. How much exploring have you done into other programs? Is there a community college that will allow you to get your RN inexpensively? You say the GPA seems to get higher each year for admission, but is your local CC the only one you've looked at? Can you relocate? Cast a wide net. I went through a state university, and my accelerated BSN program was under $30k. I was also admitted to a community college ADN program that would have been about $8k (total for two years). Alternately, I know some people who have retaken key prerequisite courses to boost their GPA (some schools only count the nursing prerequisites, so it's fairly easy to improve nursing GPA for admission).
Obviously, I don't know your whole situation, but taking another year or two to work, save, and possibly establish residency in another area with good public options for nursing school can pay off big time down the road.
Last edit by turtlesRcool on Mar 30
Are you sure this for-profit school is your only option? I went to a very expensive for-profit because it was my only option at the time. I don't regret it though I did not know what I was doing at the time. I wished I had researched other options. The education was sub-par and a one of the major health systems would not consider new grads from that program but I passed the NCLEX and did get a job, as did all of my friends.
WARNING: These private loans are usually NOT eligible for loan forgiveness under the programs you may hear about. I refinanced my high-interest loans after a year of working.
I know a family where multiple members went to our expensive for-profit. After they started working, they stayed at home and worked a ton of overtime and they all paid off a lot of the debt in a few years, but that was hard and exhausting.
I know another family where sisters moved to another state, where the programs were not as impacted.
I was not in a position to wait for a better program and I had some resources so it worked out, though I wish I had a better quality education.
Last edit by Alex_RN on Apr 3