Advice on Grad Programs & Cost

  1. Hey, all!

    I'm currently trying to weigh the following options for my DNP-- knowing that a doctorate is going to be standard entry for NP's very soon, I figure I should get the terminal degree now but don't know how to choose the best for my future. Here's why:

    *Both programs are full-time, hence the accelerated rate*

    - State University (GSU) will require 2-3 years for the MSN and cost about $45k, then take an additional 2 years for the DNP and cost another $30k.
    Total: 5 years and ~$75k

    - Private school (Emory) has an accelerated direct BSN to DNP program that will take 2.5 years. It's much faster and skips the Masters and Emory is a renowned school, so the accelerated rate doesn't bother me in terms of quality. The problem is the tuition.
    Total: 2.5 years and ~$140k

    One last option is Emory's accelerated MSN which takes 1.5 years and will allow me to begin practicing and then work as an NP while finishing my DNP at the State School, but the cost is about the same if not a little bit more after accounting for both degrees.


    - is it better to get into the work force 2+ years sooner and start making money versus saving $50k but spending more time in school?

    - am I missing an option? I know there are repayment/forgiveness programs but that still means accruing debt with the hopes the programs accept me afterward.

    - I want this so badly but the burden of loans and debt are really stressing me out. Any honest advice is welcomed.

    Thank you!
  2. Visit Harkness profile page

    About Harkness, EMT-P

    Joined: Sep '17; Posts: 13; Likes: 6
    from GA , US
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience


  3. by   shibaowner
    I think you should apply to more than 2 schools, as there is no guarantee you are going to get into these programs. Or maybe I missed something - have you already been accepted?

    Personally, I would do the MSN and get working, then do the DNP part time. Your employer might pay for part of the DNP.

    As for loan forgiveness and repayment programs, there are a lot of them, so you won't have trouble getting one. HRSA, Nurse Corps and most states offer these in return for public service (working in underserved area). So does the Veterans Admin and the military if you work for them.

    Good luck.
  4. by   Miiki
    I'm in a DNP program, but it's a state school. With tuition assistance provided by the grad school, it will cost me less than 30k and take 3 years. I did have 2 years of RN experience before starting.
  5. by   shibaowner
    Also, DNP is not going to be standard for entry in the near future. You have plenty of time to get a DNP. DNPs do not make any more money than MSN NPs unless you work for the government. However, if you want to just get it over with, there are BSN to DNP programs at public schools and many other reputable private schools besides Emory.
  6. by   Harkness
    Thank you, Shiba! I've read mixed dates about the DNP being standard-- some say it's as soon as 2021.

    I'm in Atlanta. I've seen a few others but they either do not have the specialty I want or they are in Alabama or east Georgia. What is the consensus on some of these online programs such as Frontier? Are they good schools or will you spend the rest of your career defending your credentials?
  7. by   Harkness
    Thanks, Miiki. Which school are you attending? And is it a direct BSN to DNP?
  8. by   shibaowner
    Well, DNP was supposed to be required in 2015, I believe. We all know what happened with that! Also, even if they try to require DNP in the future, you would be grandfathered in.

    Frontier is an excellent school. USN&WR has online nursing school rankings as well as DNP rankings. Many top nursing schools have online DNPs now, such as Hopkins.

    Good luck.
  9. by   medic9872
    Hi, I'm in GA as well and I've applied to the FNP program at GSU for spring. I looked at a lot of programs and I liked GSU the best. (Doesn't hurt that my brother is in law school at GSU.) Emory has a good program and a great reputation but it's way expensive. I already have a heavy student loan debt due to going back to school multiple times (paramedic, RN, BSN, plus I changed my major several times when I was younger), so I went for the more affordable option. There are a couple more choices in Atlanta though. Kennesaw State seems to have a good program. There's also Mercer/GA Baptist and Brenau in Gainesville and several online programs such as Walden, South Univ, Frontier, Chamberlain, etc although that wasn't the route I wanted to take. Let me know what you decide. GSU extended the deadline for spring applications to mid October if you're wanting to apply.