Over the long term since you mention an interest in specialized paths such as community health or research I can see a small benefit to a program like Penn - this will give you access to e.g., world class researchers and community health leaders. Getting into Penn alone is not enough of course - you'd have to step up to the plate, make your interest known and do what you have to do to get the attention of busy people, etc., so you can get your foot in the door. If you want a more typical entry into the field through hospital nursing then paying for a top ranked school is not necessary at all - you stand the same chance of getting hired as any other applicant with a new nursing license. A year is not a long time. If you're seriously considering community health then take this opportunity to volunteer with an organization in your community that deals with these kinds of issues. This will help you firm up your career interests, it will look good on applications, and maybe even help you find some scholarship/fellowship money.