I'll give you my thought process on the NP vs PA debate. I'm older and have a non-health care-related B.S. Originally, I wanted to do the PA route. It's two plus years and done. Perfect! I think but:
1. Most PAs require a fair amount of prerequisites. Often, I saw a 5 year time limit in them, so I had to take everything over. That was at least 3 semesters, likely more.
2. PA school is insanely expensive, as you mentioned.
3. PA school is insanely competitive. If you read enough posts on AN, you'll see that NP programs are everywhere. While that's not necessarily a good thing, for me it helped tip the scales because I was not a conscientious student back in my undergrad days.
4. PA schools require some type of hands on experience in health care. I'm older, so quitting my good paying job to work for $10/hr as a CNA didn't make sense. As a RN, I can make a good wage as I move up the educational ladder. I am in an ADN program now; I did not have the grades or money for an ABSN or ELMSN.
5. Typically, PAs are in a specialty of some sort whereas NP do more primary care. Primary care appeals more to me. (However, this is not universally true).
6. Nurses have more political clout. They push for more autonomy and rights to practice. I don't see that as much with PAs. In my state, NPs can practice independently, but PAs cannot.
Good luck. It's smart to think ahead. And, don't ever mention you want to be a NP again at school or work. :)