are student loans worth a nursing education

Posted
by kjj007 Member

I am excited about starting prerequisites next semester, but I still have this fear in the pit of my stomach regarding the student loans I am about to take on. I am finishing my masters in public affairs in May, but have decided that that degree really holds no job prospects at this time and to pursue a career in nursing. I have always loved science and problem solving and thought that nursing would fulfill all my best attributes. I will have some debt with my masters degree and my nursing degree will add an additional $60,000 for my ABSN. My husband has a great job as an engineer, but we want to have a strong income for our household in the future to save for our sons future and our future children's future. I have talked to many people and they have said the debt is a lot but that it is an investment into yourself and that it will be worth it long-term. It just scares me to think about the grand total of debt that will be accumulated. I'm also worried about my ability to work a night shift. It seems tough on the body. When I take out these items the thought of pursuing a nursing degree is so exciting and I cannot wait. I am excited about all the classes and I think I will do really well. Any advice from any nurses, pre-nurses or others that have just entered into the workforce?

elkpark

14,633 Posts

Holy moley, that's a lot of debt (whatever you already have plus $60k). I would think long and hard about that, esp. when nursing graduates are having a hard time finding employment these days. It's one thing to say "Oh, don't worry about the debt, it's an investment" in a thriving economy, but times are really hard right now, and not likely to change any time terribly soon.

Would it be possible to do a less expensive nursing program, like a community college ADN? Or a traditional BSN at a state school? That would get you the same license, and you can always complete additional degrees in nursing later. I'm shocked at how much some schools charge for basic nursing education.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

A lot of financial experts recommend that the amount of your student loans should total no more than your yearly salary for the first year or two of your career. I suggest either working for a while with your old degree and living very frugally for a while to pay down your old loans before you start adding more debt.

Another possibility is to look at state schools and community colleges for a very inexpensive nursing program. No, a nursing degree is not worth a huge debt that can ruin your financial future. My advice is to "be responsible" and avoid the huge debt that will criple you and your family for decades to come.

llg, PhD, RN-BC (55 years old)

mangopeach

916 Posts

I guess it depends on how much you really want to be a nurse to determine if its worth taking on loans. I have loans,but nowhere near that amount. I'm attending a CC to get my ADN and will get an advanced degree, hopefully paid for by my future employer later on. I would look into public colleges before taking on massive debts with private colleges.

kjj007

48 Posts

Honestly, I have looked into public colleges and it would take me 3 years instead of 16 months and it totals the same amount in the end. We are meeting with our financial advisor and are going to discuss with her pursuing the accelerated bachelors in nursing.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

Be sure you financial advisor has up-to-date information on nursing career prospects. A lot of non-nurses still think that nursing is recession proof and that finding good jobs is easy.

kjj007

48 Posts

Yeah, she has a lot of clients that are nurses as well as friends in the nursing field so she has given me some advice so far. It's tough because there are no fields right now that are sure fire ways of getting a job. Luckily my husband has a great job that is very stable that is the only way we are able to have me go to school full-time. He is also very supportive which takes some of the stress away.

Saysfaa

905 Posts

No. You will have a lot more security and flexibility if you wait until you can save up enough for your schooling.

In the meantime, you can learn on your own or gain experience through a nurse aide job and/or concentrate on all the little things that stretch your husband's income (cooking at home more, mending clothes, watching for sales, etc, etc, etc) - and you don't have to pay income tax on the "income" that comes from not paying out as much.

You don't have to wait until you have it all saved. You can put part toward nursing school and part toward prereqs and start doing the prereqs when you have enough saved for a class (or classes).

kjj007

48 Posts

I'm going for my accelerated BSN and would be done in 16 months. We are planning on putting any money I make straight into paying off the loans. If for some reason I got done with school and didn't have job right away there are many things I could do to make money in the meantime.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

You seem to have it all decided and worked out.

mangopeach

916 Posts

Have you completed the pre-reqs for the program you are interested in yet? If not then I would at least suggest taking those at a CC. I don't see the point in paying a ginormous sum to do pre-reqs if you can do them for a fraction of the cost.

Good luck

KareBear0609

359 Posts

What about federal grant money? I am almost done with my pre-reqs for a BSN program and have never paid one dime of my own nor have taken out any loans.