I am a junior in a 4 year BSN program in NC. This is a second bachelors degree for me, because I finally figured out what I want to be. I spoke with several nurses where my husband works before I applied to school, because the community college program seemed much quicker. They all agreed that the extra time spent in the BSN program would be worth it in the long run. Fortunately, for me, most of my previous classes transferred and I only had to take one year of pre-nursing courses. Now, I am very glad that I chose to go this route, because I see so many more opportunities. I have one year left after this semester, but I may go on to pursue an MSN after some work experience. Having a BSN will make this future option much easier.
As far as cost, there are scholarships
and work loans out there. In NC, there is the Nurse Scholars Program... you get $5,000 per year, but you have to sign that you will work in nursing within the state of NC for a year for each 5k you receive. This was my plan anyway, so I just applied for this. It takes some researching, but you can find the money, or take out education loans to go for it. I don't think you'll regret it. I sure don't. Good luck!