Hmm. Okay, let's see. Let's clarify. (I was tired last night!)
According to the Sallie Mae information page regarding Stafford Loans:
-By submitting a FAFSA you may be eligible for Stafford Loans. Combining both subsidized (gov't pays interest while you're in school) and unsubsidized (you either pay interest while you're in school or it compounds and becomes part of your payment plan after graduation) loans together, the total maximum you are allowed to take out is:
All of these at a fixed 6.5% interest rate, with no credit check required.
These are loans, not grants, which means your income is NOT a consideration.
This means that despite your previous high salary, and despite your husband's income, you are still eligible for these loans at this interest rate.
I have no idea how this will affect your initial payments, considering school begins so soon and your fees are due, but this information will be pertinent once your FAFSA has been submitted and processed by the gov't.
You said you'd already submitted a FAFSA and the counselor said you weren't eligible for aid- you need to clarify whether or not she meant grants or free monies from the gov't. She's right- I didn't qualify for free aid either. No grants; no Perkins loans, etc. because my income was too high. However, these Stafford Loans are made for people just like us- people who are not considered "needy" by the gov't but still require money to pay for school.
Assuming you will attend school for 3 years in the traditional BSN program, you stated you will need about $60,000 in financial aid.
*You need to secure as much "easy" money as possible, i.e., Stafford Loans. You should be eligible for 3 years worth of Stafford Loans- revising what I said in a previous post, if you took out the max for your "Freshman", "Sophomore", and "Junior" year classifications, that would give you $24625, minus fees, at a 6.5% interest rate. There are fees that the school takes, which I have NEVER found fair, but alas, assume -10% goes to the school. That puts you at around $22000 in Stafford Loan money over the 3 years you will be in school. That's 1/3 of your expenses.
*You need to investigate the Care for Virginia plan. This is through Sallie Mae. As I understand it, you apply now. When your loans are approved through Sallie Mae, you pursue your degree. Upon graduation, you begin repayment with Sallie Mae. For the first 36 months as an RN, if you pay all payments on time, at the 37th month, you will receive a 10% loan credit (they pay off 10% of your loan) simply for being a resident of Va. and paying your payments in a timely fashion. This is like 10% free money. Check this out.
*The rest of the money you need may indeed have to come from private loans if you cannot get scholarship monies. However, do what you have to do to get in and get started, then re-evaluate. Do not take a 15% interest rate if you don't have to! If you must, find another lender, get a co-signer (your parents, your in-laws, someone with excellent or very good credit) and qualify for a lower interest rate on the remaining $30K or so.
*Once you've paid for school and graduated, you should investigate those repayment programs I linked to, both federally and through the state of VA. Find out which facilities count (more than you'd think! This time the healthcare shortage works in your favor!) and sign up for that. Let's say they pay up to 80% of your financial aid. This could mean that of that $60000 you took out over the course of 3 years, they could potentially pay up to $45000 of this back JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK IN A "NEEDY FACILITY", leaving you with only $15000 to pay back, plus interest.
Does that make sense?