Nursing school vs price? Which is more important?


hello. I am currently a junior in high school and I'm looking into all my options for nursing school. I have a 4.5 GPA and a 30 ACT score, so I'm more than qualified for many programs to get my prerequisites/ attend a direct entry program. there is a nursing program right down the road from where I live (Daytona state college), which is convenient because of its location and price. However, I'm not sure if I should focus on that, or focus on getting into a higher ranked, more competitive school. Is nursing the kind of degree that required a degree from a highly ranked school, or should I focus on price? thank you!

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

It honestly does not matter what school you go too to your future employer, as long as it is an accredited program! Go to the most low cost school!! Remember the more debt you have when you get out the lower your standard of living will be when you have to pay it all back!


Specializes in Women’s Health. Has 6 years experience.

I agree with the previous poster. Nursing is not like law school where the college you go to can make a big difference in your job offers upon graduation.

I'm in a new grad residency program right now and some of us have our BSN, some their ADN, and a couple have their MSN. A few went to some pretty well known and perstigous universities but in the end it doesn't matter. We're all RNs and we're all making the same wage per an hour. If I could go back, I probably would have just went to community college and then did a RN to BSN bridge program and saved thousands of dollars. But you live and you learn, good luck!


359 Posts

The prestige of the program isn't going to really matter much in getting a job. I've only really heard of the college you attending mattering if maybe the recruiter went to that school and feels some connection because of it--not something that would happen often enough that I'd let it affect what school I'd attend.

However, I don't think you should pick a school only based on cost and location. You want a quality school that will teach you what you need to know and that will teach you so you can pass the NCLEX. Because saving $5k or whatever on tution isn't going to matter much if you can't pass the NCLEX. There's a lot of quality, competitive schools that aren't massively expensive. Actually, they're generally competitive because of that.

So you want to check the cost, the NCLEX pass rates of new grads from their programs, the number of students who start the program and the number that finish it, and what former students have said about the program. If the Daytona State College program has a great reputation among former students and a good NCLEX pass rate along with being cheaper than other programs, then that's a good option. Though, it's always good to have multiple options and apply to multiple schools so you have a higher chance of at least one acceptance.


102 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics w/rehab, LTC, hospice patient. Has 1 years experience.

All nursing schools are competitive, to a certain extent. At the same time, the fact that one school costs more doesn't necessarily mean it is any better. I originally started at a private school that would have cost nearly $40k/year but ended up switching to a community college with a good reputation for its nursing program. Not only have I, or others who have graduated from the same college, been offered the same opportunities as those who went to the private college, but I also saved thousands of dollars. Still got a good, quality nursing education. Always research the NCLEX pass rates, employment rates upon graduation, etc, but know that you can go to a less prestigious school and become a great nurse. Good luck!

Has 7 years experience.

Nursing students all have to pass the same boards in the end. Doesn't matter who you paid the tuition to get there. I honestly feel bad seeing the University of Michigan nursing students at our hospital. 30k a year for the same opportunity community colleges and smaller state schools are getting access. I Graduated in 2009 and paid maybe 5k a semester to a local state college.

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

I certainly hope with a 4.5 GPA and an ACT score of 30, that you will get a good scholarship. I went to a private university, and if you had an ACT score of at least 27, your tuition was basically paid for. Look around.

FullGlass, BSN, MSN, NP

2 Articles; 1,403 Posts

Specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care. Has 5 years experience.

You should apply to a few schools, both public and private. If accepted, you will get a financial aid package, so a private school could be the same cost as a public school. As for whether a top-ranked school is worth it, it depends on your goals. If you want to become an NP or earn a PhD, then a more prestigious school will be a plus. In addition, if you want to work in an area other than where you currently live, a nationally-recognized school is an advantage.

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,022 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

A big name school isn't going to result in more job offers or an easier time getting a job offer. And student debt can be crushing. As long as your school is accredited and the NCLEX pass rate is competitive, I'd go for the less expensive option.

rleah, BSN, RN

1 Article; 129 Posts

Daytona state has a great reputation for its nursing program. One of my former professors, from a diffrent school actually recommended it! I was waitlisted there, and accepted a seat at another college. However I did take a few classes there. It was a fantastic experience. I would get your ADN at DSC and then transfer to a university for your BSN. That way you get the best of both worlds. Unless you are offered a full ride somewhere else.

I agree with quality. Try to find reviews about your school or talk to current students to get a feel for the program. I wish I would have done that....we lose half our class every semester. Additionally, your experience during the program is much more important when it comes to getting a job then I think going to a prestigious school would be. For example, I have already connected to the nurse manager in the unit I intend to work in when I graduate. I wouldn't have been able to do that if the NP I work with didn't previously work in that unit. It's all about connections!

Specializes in Neuro. Has 4 years experience.

Whatever school that has an accredited nursing program, high NCLEX pass rates & gives you a decent scholarship. With your academics it sounds like you are a strong candidate for scholarship. Milk that cash cow as long as you can.

If a scholarship does not happen, choose whatever school will put you in the least amount of debt.