Is moving an option for you? Not all the way to California, but maybe somewhere closer by where the cost of living isn't as high as NYC and where you might have an easier time finding a job. Upstate NY (where I live) isn't *inexpensive*, but is a heck of a lot more affordable than NYC, and there are plenty of nursing programs around. You may have to go with an alternate route, so you won't be snowed under with debt at the end of it all, and it might take you longer, but that's what I would do (and in fact am doing; I'm in a very similar situation). Tough choices, I know!