My stats were average. 3.5 GPA for BSN, 3.2 for sciences. I goofed off alot before I went to nursing school and my grades showed it. I had to retake several classes and get As and pay for it myself. I had a 310 GRE. I had 10 years of ICU.
My stats got me an interview, because I met minimum requirements. The interview is what gets you your place in a program typically.
As for living, I'm living off my husband and getting health insurance from him, and taking out loans for tuition, and taking out living loans for the amount that is left over after my husband's paycheck. CRNA is something I evolved to wanting to do after being in the ICU for 10 years and just wanted more, so I did not have a savings account going in like those that plan for it and apply after 1-2 years in ICU. It just is what it is, and we can be disciplined when I'm out and pay it back in 3-4 years. I take out what I need, with a little cushion in case the car breaks down, or the dog eats the sofa and I focus on school.
Practically speaking, it helps that we are not attached to one area so when I'm out I can both follow the money and take my time finding a good job fit both financially and practice wise--I don't want to be highly restricted, I didn't pay all this money to not do what I'm trained to do. I'd worry more about my loans if I was tied to a geographical area and didn't want to move so had to take whatever pay was offered.