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Nursing salary not that useful to pay back loans?!

I'm a prenursing student and I have been asking for advice regarding financial aid advice too.

And.......... i'm freaking out. ^^;

I am going in a second degree program and since I already have my first BA degree, I know that financial aid for me is most likely going to be loans and loans and more loans until I actually graduate.

However, I would like to work and go school at the same time halfway into the program so I have a salary to support myself (even though I know not being in school full time will result in waiting longer to graduate).

But with loans from my BA degree and now more loans from my second degree, someone told me that students make a big mistake taking out loans for nursing school and thinking that their RN job after graduation will help a lot in paying back their loans. She advised me to work hard and save up A LOT of money for school before hand since it will be a nightmare paying it back after graduation even if I do land an RN job.

After hearing this, I'm scared thinking that whatever job I get after graduation won't be sufficient enough to pay back my loans.

I know I will be paying back the loans for a while but I know that upfront already and I don't mind as long as I have a decent salary to support myself and my family first.

But to have someone say that ANY RN job I get will be very minimal in helping pay back my loans shook my confidence making me think that I will drown in debt or something.

So sorry for the long rant but may I please ask you to share your own financial advice and you guys are doing to manage and control your loans as well?

Thanks!

mrsboots87

Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry.

Whoever told you that doesnt know what they are talking about. The general rule of thumb is to not take out more in loans than you can reasonably make in one year. I am in a community college program. I have had to take out a little more in loans than I would like to help pay for daycare and regular bills since I dont work. My husband makes pretty good money, but its still tight. So far, if I had to start payments tomorrow I would have a $300 payment. By the time I graduate I will have about a $400 payment. That will definitely cut into my wages each month, but it is not going to make it not worth it to become a nurse. You wont be rich as a nurse, but you should make a comfortable wage. New grads make between 26-33 in my area not including any incentive pay. So $400 isnt the end of the world. I plan to just make huge chuck payments for about 6-8 months and love like we do now to just pay it all off quickly so we can enjoy my wages without a bill over out head.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

It all depends on how you budget your money. It also depends on how much you borrow. If you go to an expensive school that is not accredited so it would be difficult to find a job, then yes you will not be able to pay back the loans. If you go to a reasonably priced school, live within your means, and go to a respected school, you should make enough money to pay it back. Many people are drowning in debt. So lay off the credit cards and don't accrue any extra debt. Nursing will not make you wealthy. That is a common misconception. But it is not horrible pay either. Plus, do you have kids that you have to pay for? My point is, the only one who can answer this question is you. We have no idea about your life and financial situation. If you are worried, speak to a financial advisor. I work with one.

klone, MSN, RN

Has 14 years experience. Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

You need to consider that you may not find a nursing job for 6-12 months. So yeah, it's hard to pay off student loans if you're making minimum wage while trying to get your first gig.

A lot of it depends on how much you currently have in debt from your previous degree, and how much your nursing school tuition is going to cost.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Has 25 years experience. Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

It also depends on where you will love. Pay rates vary quite a lot. New grad jobs are very hard to find.

If you already have a lot of school debt and are talking about adding another 40k or something that will be hard to pay back. More like a house payment than a car payment.

You are smart to think about this. Maybe spend a little now to consult a financial advisor.... also, how old you are matters as that translates into how many working years you will have to pay the loans back.

Could you work using the degree you have and start saving up money for another degree. If you saved even half that would be a huge deal.

cayenne06, MSN, CNM

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Reproductive & Public Health.

You can put your federal loans in deferment until you get a job, and if you are not making a lot of money, you can do an income-based repayment schedule. Of course it ends up being more in the long run, but you can always make extra payments.

I'm going to have probably 70K+ when I finish my CNM certification program. 40K is from my undergrad. It's scary, but totally doable on an RN salary.

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

You could also do what I did, although I didn't do it on purpose, I just couldn't decide what I wanted to be when I grew up...

Take general non-nursing classes over a period of a couple of years or longer at a pace that allows you to pay as you go. I ended up with some loans because I had two back to back associate degrees, but I am down to 3500.00 left to pay them. I took classes over a long period so when I actually did my degree programs I only had the core classes to deal with and take out loans on. I have been paying my loans since 2007 and started off with about 14000.00 , which isn't bad for two degrees. I pay 171.00 a month for my student loans combined. I am now doing RN-BSN and paying as I go and on top of it all the money I pay for my current loans is going towards principle, since the government is paying the interest while I attend school part time, gotta love that! I also have the option of not paying them at all until I am done, but my work schedule hasn't changed so I don't need that.

HPRN

Just like everything else, there are so many variables here that we cannot give you the exact answer. But we can help give you ideas from which you can form your own opinions.

First, use Google to find out how much RNs make in your area. Understand that you'll be a new grad, so you'll likely earn a bit less than the average salary. Then look at the tuition and fees for the schools you might attend. Make sure the programs are accredited. Then check out the schools' NCLEX pass rates (again, using Google).

MrsBoots already said it and I'll repeat it: don't take out more loans than you can reasonably expect to earn in your first year as an RN.

llg, PhD, RN

Has 43 years experience. Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

No one here can answer the question for you -- because you haven't given us enough information. It really all comes down to the numbers. You have to do put the numbers down on paper and take a good hard, honest look at them.

How much total loan debt will you have at graduation? As a previous poster said, it should NOT be more than you can reasonably expect your annual salary to be in the first few years of your career. So ... how much TOTAL loans will you have? What will the monthly payments be? What are the salaries for new grads in your area? (And be sure to be realistic about what type of job you will be able to get with the degree you are actually going to have. I have seen lots of people be overly optimistic about what they will be making in the first few years of their career.)

Loan deferment, etc. are generally not good ideas -- as the loan grows while you are not paying it back, making it more difficult to pay back later. Sometimes, that sort of thing is necessary when people find themselves in trouble -- but it is never a good thing. So don't build anything like that into your plans on purpose.

Few (if any) employers will pay the debt for you. You will have to make those monthly payments out of your paycheck. So find out how big that paycheck will be ... and how big the loan payments will be. Then add in your living expenses to determine whether or not your paycheck will be big enough to cover them all.

Most people who add big 2nd degree loans on top of big 1st degree loans end up trying to stretch those paychecks too far. But it can be done if the amount of the loans is small. So to answer your question, get the numbers, write them down all on the same piece of paper, and see if they had up to a lifestyle you can live with.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

I went to community college for ADN,

I would research around other schools if your nursing school is that expensive. I know the private schools cost almost 100k total but there is no wait list, anyone can get in, whereas I'm going to a two year ADN program with a point system (the higher the grades, the better chance of getting in) and it costs around 6 thousand total for 2 years.

Also for my pre-nursing classes, I took one class a semester since I was working full time and paying back another loan at the same time. It did take a while but I'm not in debt.

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for responding to share your advice with me. Below are the reasons why I'm probably facing more loans:

1) I'm pursuing nursing as a second degree since I already have BA in biology. that alone gives me less grants and more loans

2) Still have some loans on my BA in biology (but I can manage it)

3) ....................... my program is in a private university (there are several reasons for this: program details, location, leave of absence granted halfway through to work to earn money etc)

I am working and saving up as much as I can right now to pay as much as I can to go along the way.

One thing that reassures me the most is that my program allows a leave of absence for student to work. This takes place halfway through the program (and a good portion of the students do!) and that leave can be granted for several months up to a year!!! So I will take out say..... about 1 year or so ish worth of loans before requesting to go on leave. then I can either work fulltime or work part time and school part time.

So at that time, I will have about a year or so worth of loans.......... and can focus on finding a RN job or really, any job to earn more to pay back that 1st year and my future years to come.

So with that said....... I have some savings I earned from work for the past few years, my lifestyle is kept to a minimum (no extravagant spendings), and I am relying on that leave of absence halfway through to work to first pay off the 1 year of school first and save more to pay off future years.

But of course, this is all wishful thinking and my plans might not go to plan (i'm praying it will).

May I ask your opinions on this?

Thank you for calming down my fears, everyone. I hope everything will turn out not as bad as I think. :)

klone, MSN, RN

Has 14 years experience. Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

How much is tuition at this private university compared to tuition at a local public university, or even an ADN program at a community college? How much would you realistically be able to earn during this LOA, and would it be offset by lower tuition somewhere else, that would allow you to be able to be working as an RN that much sooner by not needing to take a LOA.

Are there any ABSN programs available in your area, where you can jam through and get your BSN in 12-15 months?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in OR, education.

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for responding to share your advice with me. Below are the reasons why I'm probably facing more loans:

1) I'm pursuing nursing as a second degree since I already have BA in biology. that alone gives me less grants and more loans

2) Still have some loans on my BA in biology (but I can manage it)

3) ....................... my program is in a private university (there are several reasons for this: program details, location, leave of absence granted halfway through to work to earn money etc)

I am working and saving up as much as I can right now to pay as much as I can to go along the way.

One thing that reassures me the most is that my program allows a leave of absence for student to work. This takes place halfway through the program (and a good portion of the students do!) and that leave can be granted for several months up to a year!!! So I will take out say..... about 1 year or so ish worth of loans before requesting to go on leave. then I can either work fulltime or work part time and school part time.

So at that time, I will have about a year or so worth of loans.......... and can focus on finding a RN job or really, any job to earn more to pay back that 1st year and my future years to come.

So with that said....... I have some savings I earned from work for the past few years, my lifestyle is kept to a minimum (no extravagant spendings), and I am relying on that leave of absence halfway through to work to first pay off the 1 year of school first and save more to pay off future years.

But of course, this is all wishful thinking and my plans might not go to plan (i'm praying it will).

May I ask your opinions on this?

Thank you for calming down my fears, everyone. I hope everything will turn out not as bad as I think. :)

Be aware that if you are not in school a set minimum amount of time, you will be required to make payments on the loans that you have taken out for the first part of the program. If you take the full year off, you will be beyond the standard grace period. Something else to consider about the costs.

ParkerBC,MSN,RN

Specializes in Medical Surgical/Addiction/Mental Health.

I'll trade you- 215K for 70K. Cayenne is correct. There are a multitude of repayment options along with loan forgiveness. Here is a link worth looking into: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans I hope this is enough information to help you make an informed decision.

You can put your federal loans in deferment until you get a job, and if you are not making a lot of money, you can do an income-based repayment schedule. Of course it ends up being more in the long run, but you can always make extra payments.

I'm going to have probably 70K+ when I finish my CNM certification program. 40K is from my undergrad. It's scary, but totally doable on an RN salary.

SoaringOwl

Specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

You're getting a second bachelor's in nursing that costs $90,000? I'm stunned. Have you researched all other possibilities? There's no way I would take out $90,000 in loans for a nursing degree.

Edited by SoaringOwl

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 12 years experience. Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

In my opinion, the smart options are: do an ADN/RN program at a community college and don't lose an arm and a leg doing it, then bridge to BSN later while working (this is assuming your area has jobs for ADN-prepared nurses, some research of your local market would be good). Second option: accelerated BSN program, at least it'll be over quickly! But putting yourself further into big big debt? Never a good thing. Don't drown yourself. If there is another way, even if it takes longer (such as waiting for a spot in a community college nursing program), that would be a wise option.

Dear ParkerBC,

Thank you for your reply to advise me. I will look into your link for more information. I wish you the best in your career and life after nursing school! :)

A good deal of the reason that people caution about loans for nursing school is the fact that new grads have a hard time getting a nursing job at all. In some places, at some points in time, new grads have gone as long as two years or more before getting their first RN job. And that is not even taking into account that a job in a local retail outlet may be hard to find either. Just something to seriously consider and plan for, not something to freak out about.

Dear caliotter3,

Thank you for your reply. Yes, the hard job market is one of the main reasons why new grads need to have their loans deferred time and time again. But I hope to take a break/LoA half way through to work (really anything I can find to earn money) so I can pay off more of my previous debt as well as earning for future schooling.

I hope it goes well.

Thank you again for your reply. :)

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