Direct Entry MSN at UCSF vs. MGH-IHP

  1. Hi,

    I have been accepted into the following two direct-entry MSN programs. I would like any advice possible on which program I should choose, based on these goals:

    -I have no money to contribute to graduate school, no savings, come from a low-income family and have ZERO financial support.
    -My goal is to live and work in CA immediately after graduation. Preferably, in southern CA (Santa Monica is my end-goal).
    -I want to work in primary care in a hospital or clinic setting, but don't know which yet.

    These are the programs I was admitted to:

    1. Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions
    -I have been offered a 90k scholarship, making the TOTAL cost of the program 40k.
    -According to US News World Report, the school ranks #63 in the US

    2. UCSF Master's Entry Program in Nursing
    -They will offer at max a 10k scholarship, and all other assistance must come from scholarships I apply for.
    -Total cost of the program is $100k (without any scholarship)
    -According to US News World Report, the school ranks #4 in the US
    -I went through an extremely rigorous application process, and am 1 of 18 admittedly into my specialty.
    -The housing situation in SF is very difficult, I will be lucky to find a room in a house for under $900/month.

    WHAT SHOULD I CHOOSE?
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    About ABfutureNP

    Joined: Aug '17; Posts: 5

    8 Comments

  3. by   rooseveltdunn
    Hi, first things first, NP school rankings are of little consequence in the real world; as long as you went to a good school that is not viewed as an online diploma mill you will be fine so if I were you I would not factor that in your decision that much. What employers want is certification and competence, other than a few ivy league places, the name of the school you went to is not a big deal.

    Cost of living in Boston can be high but nowhere near as bad as CA and the fact that they gave you a scholarship makes MGH quite compelling, if your over all debt after NP school is less than 50k then you should really consider MGH because those college loans are a pain to pay back afterwards even with an NP salary. Moreover I know several MGH students that worked part time or per diem after getting their RN license while finishing the rest of the program so that helps.

    Moving across the country for NP school is definitely a big step but you got a pretty sweet deal with that scholarship....in your shoes I would have a very hard time saying no to that but you have to do what you feel is best for you and be brutally honest about your financial situation because whatever choice you make you will have to live with it for three years until you are done.
  4. by   ABfutureNP
    Thank you very much, I appreciate your clarity and directness! So, the 60k difference would definitely push you in the direction of MGH?
  5. by   rooseveltdunn
    For me yes, 40K vs 100K debt would be a no brainer, even if you make a lot of money as a NP in CA having to pay off a 100k plus interest won't be fun. You would get to attend a respected program and pay less than half than most people. That is pretty compelling plus SF is brutally expensive to live in.
  6. by   umbdude
    Although ranking doesn't matter much and MGH IHP is a OK school, personally, I would choose UCSF hands down especially if you are relatively young (in your 20s or early 30s). The UCSF name will matter to some people or if you ever want to venture out into other areas (eg, administration, policy, research, academia).

    Full disclosure - I am biased and have a pretty negative view of MGH IHP. I applied & was accepted to 3 programs in MA (moving away isn't an option for me). Among the 3 schools, MGH IHP is the most disorganized and difficult to find information. I applied to the traditional NP program (I'm a working RN), and I was never able to find the director in my NP specialty at MGH to talk to despite reaching out several times. Unlike other schools, MGH accepted me without an interview so I didn't get a chance to ask specific questions. I went to an info session for the MSN program and it was the worst info session I've ever been to. It was a marketing scheme to get people to apply to the DNP program and when people asked about the MS program, the presenter said, "I'm the director of the DNP program and I'm not familiar with the MSN program. Email admissions." No, thanks. I also don't like the curriculum structure.

    You will build stronger networks in CA if you go to UCSF. That could make a huge difference if you plan to find a job in CA post graduation. If I were you, I would go with UCSF and find other scholarships or consider the Nurse Corps loan forgiveness program.
  7. by   rooseveltdunn
    Quote from umbdude
    Although ranking doesn't matter much and MGH IHP is a OK school, personally, I would choose UCSF hands down especially if you are relatively young (in your 20s or early 30s). The UCSF name will matter to some people or if you ever want to venture out into other areas (eg, administration, policy, research, academia).

    Full disclosure - I am biased and have a pretty negative view of MGH IHP. I applied & was accepted to 3 programs in MA (moving away isn't an option for me). Among the 3 schools, MGH IHP is the most disorganized and difficult to find information. I applied to the traditional NP program (I'm a working RN), and I was never able to find the director in my NP specialty at MGH to talk to despite reaching out several times. Unlike other schools, MGH accepted me without an interview so I didn't get a chance to ask specific questions. I went to an info session for the MSN program and it was the worst info session I've ever been to. It was a marketing scheme to get people to apply to the DNP program and when people asked about the MS program, the presenter said, "I'm the director of the DNP program and I'm not familiar with the MSN program. Email admissions." No, thanks. I also don't like the curriculum structure.

    You will build stronger networks in CA if you go to UCSF. That could make a huge difference if you plan to find a job in CA post graduation. If I were you, I would go with UCSF and find other scholarships or consider the Nurse Corps loan forgiveness program.
    These are all valid points...in the end it will be up to you and what you want. Just remember that you will have to pay that 100k back with interest and we will not be getting the kind of money MD's make. It is easy to dismiss school debt when graduation is far away but when the time comes you will feel it. That's why I would have a hard time saying no to a scholarship that big especially since you are not from a super wealthy background. You have to consider the debt you will be putting yourself in.
  8. by   elkpark
    A close friend of mine went through the MGH IHP program (years ago) and was very happy with it, felt she got an excellent education.

    The US News rankings really don't mean much.
  9. by   FullGlass
    I would go for UCSF. It is a top school and that will make a difference when applying for your first NP job. It is usually doctors that interview and make hiring decisions on NPs and they are very conscious of schools. In addition, if you want to work in California, UCSF will allow you to make local contacts and they will also have an alumni network with a strong presence in Calif. Most NP students get job offers from at least one of their clinical rotations, so you have that advantage going to UCSF - you could walk out of school with a job offer.

    There are additional scholarships you can apply for. Check out the Nurse Corps and NHSC scholarships. The State of California also has scholarships for state residents. It is up to you to find scholarships other than what the school provides.

    There are also federal and state programs for loan repayment and loan forgiveness. Some employers also have loan repayment benefits.
  10. by   rooseveltdunn
    Quote from FullGlass
    I would go for UCSF. It is a top school and that will make a difference when applying for your first NP job. It is usually doctors that interview and make hiring decisions on NPs and they are very conscious of schools. In addition, if you want to work in California, UCSF will allow you to make local contacts and they will also have an alumni network with a strong presence in Calif. Most NP students get job offers from at least one of their clinical rotations, so you have that advantage going to UCSF - you could walk out of school with a job offer.

    There are additional scholarships you can apply for. Check out the Nurse Corps and NHSC scholarships. The State of California also has scholarships for state residents. It is up to you to find scholarships other than what the school provides.

    There are also federal and state programs for loan repayment and loan forgiveness. Some employers also have loan repayment benefits.
    All of the people I know that graduated from MGH had a job offer before graduation...Moreover MGH is pretty respected. It is owned by Partners Healthcare which owns Mass General Hospital and Boston's Children hospital among others. At MGH the OP would get to do clinical rotations at some of the best hospitals in the country (MGH is one of the best hospitals in the world actually) as well as other sites such as McLean Hospital, Brigham and Boston's Children. Its not like she is going to a school in the middle of nowhere Louisiana. MGH would look good on any resume.

    But I digress....what you have to remember OP is that none of us in this forum will be on the hook for $100,000 when you finish. That will be just you and trust me, its not fun having to pay all that money back when you just want to focus on your life. You have the opportunity to attend one of the best NP programs in New England at a bargain price...In the end you do what you feel is best for you but passing up a $90k scholarship is something you might regret later on and trust me you are not going to find scholarships that could match that on your own.

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