worth the debt? Im stuck on this decision...)

Posted
by kiki617 kiki617 Member

Perhaps some of you have some perspective and advice for me (ill try to make this not so long winded)...

Since 2008 I paid entirely out of pocket to take pre req classes toward an accelerated nursing program. During this time I got laid of twice. This last time has been the hardest although I did completed a surg tech program and have been a CST working at a hospital since Feb. Each time I was laid off it was for at least a year, this last time 2 years. I babysat and worked at a gym part time but had to pick and choose the bills i paid each month, my student loans have been in deferment and forbearnace. I couldnt afford to move and went through a break up of a long tern live in bf. I got a roomate but still had to afford at least 800 a month in rent. I also had to buy a cheap car to get to clinicals etc for the ST program. Its been a tough few years honestly, financially and emotionally.

After being waitlisted last year, I finally got into my dream program and they have given me a lot in financial aid... however, I still dont think I can afford it or am reconsidering that its worth it. I'm 30 with no savings and terrible credit, at what point could I afford a home or even a new car? Despite the material things I could get with better credit, its also the 'hanging over my head' feeling that is hard to swalllow.

My credit is now terrible between not paying certain cards and my debt to income ratio, all my savings is gone (the kicker is that most is on these prereq classes, talk about a catch 22) and after the first semester of this ABSN I can't work full time (and frankly shouldnt work much at all). So I would need to take out at minimum 35k for the program (2 yrs) as well as some living costs. I already have 45k from my first degree. I wish I went the ASN route, but was talked out of it due to long waitlists and everyone saying hospital jobs would be impossible to get (although majority of the RN's I work with in the OR do not have BSN).

My brother lives in Austin texas and he offered for me to stay with him out there since I always mention I love it out there (I currently live in the very expensive and health industry saturated Boston). I see Austin community college has a mobility ADN track for ST (only takes one yr to graduate) - although some prereqs will need to be redone and the waitlist I hear is a bit redic.

Should I try to make ABSN route work here despite the $ itll cost (if I can even get the loans I need, my mom will cosign)? Or should I go for a fresh start in Austin (where its much cheaper) and eventually go the community college route although it will take a few years?

Anyone out there in the same boat or have some advice from making a similiar decision?

I'm leaning toward going to austin, but I feel terrible on 'giving up' on the program ive worked so hard to just get to...

thank you all.

Anonymous666

Anonymous666

134 Posts

If you are in the program, go for it! It's not easy to get into those programs. You now have the opportunity to dig yourself out of the debt you have already accumulated and will accumulate. Forget about the debt for now. Just do the best you can at ace this program and live as frugally as possible. Once you have a BSN with your surgical tech certification (and the experience, relationships you've formed already in this field), you will be a damn hot commodity and will pick up a good paying OR job no problems.

That would be what I would do, and those are my reasons as to why.

tokebi

tokebi

Specializes in Hem/Onc/BMT. Has 11 years experience. 5 Articles; 404 Posts

If you are in the program, go for it! It's not easy to get into those programs. You now have the opportunity to dig yourself out of the debt you have already accumulated and will accumulate. Forget about the debt for now. Just do the best you can at ace this program and live as frugally as possible. Once you have a BSN with your surgical tech certification (and the experience, relationships you've formed already in this field), you will be a damn hot commodity and will pick up a good paying OR job no problems.

That would be what I would do, and those are my reasons as to why.

My opinion is complete opposite.

You already have a debt of $45k. You say the program will cost you additional $35k even after getting financial aid. And then you still need living costs. When you are done, you''l be left with $80k plus in debt with no job guarantee. It's impossible to work full time while pursuing ABSN. Not to mention you live in expensive city and already struggling paying your bills.

Your dream will still be there after a few years, so will the schools and nursing programs and opportunity. They're not going anywhere. They will still be there after you pull yourself out of the financial mess.

I think it's incredible that you have a brother who's offering you a place to stay. That'll will save you so much money already. Go there, work, reduce your debt, build up some emergency savings, bring up your credit score. And then go back to school.

You already know what the smart thing to do is. But I understand how hard it is.

Best of luck to you.

Delicate Flower

Delicate Flower

207 Posts

I agree with tokebi. I would seriously consider doing the ADN in Austin, from a cost/benefit perspective it makes the most sense IMHO.

Yes, many employers prefer a BSN, but when it comes down to it, at this point in your life, does that justify the added expense, emotionally, physically, financially?

About the debt and credit stuff, seriously, try not to let it weigh on you too much. The damage is done, so to speak. There is life after bad credit : )

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

Be really careful before you get yourself in more debt, or a parent into debt.

I would look into the programs in Texas. Speak to an academic advisor at whichever school you are thinking of. See what of your credits transfer, how much is needed to finish a nursing degree, and the exact cost and what they offer in financial aid.

Sometimes there are residency requirements to fufill. See if this is the case. If so, look for a job in Texas--as it can get your foot in the door of a facility, it can set you up for tuition reimbursement if they have it, and allow you to be "commuter status" at a local college so that the tuition is much less. At the same time, if Texas is not your be all/end all, see if you are able to get a license in another state and all that entails before you sign on.

If this program you are currently accepted for is giving you a lot of financial aid, does your facility that you currently work in have any tuition reimbursement?

Bottom line, if you don't believe you can afford to go ahead with this program, then I believe you. And there needs to be some sort of "plan B".

There is not a reason in the world that one has to go further into debt for the prestige of a program that gives a huge amount of financial aid, but still costs a huge amount of $$.

Finally, share your goals with your manager. See what it would take to be an OR nurse in your current facility. If it is a matter of getting an ADN, then within "X" amount of time getting a BSN....you can go from RN to BSN online even. Also your nurse educator of the facility is also a good reference.

Unfortunetely, forberance of a student loan means that often you can never again get federal financial aid. And it messes with a lot of your credit.

Best of luck in whatever your decision may be!

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience. 4,431 Posts

Austin.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education. 3,458 Posts

Paying back student loans can be a terrible burden. One person I know has debt of 27000. Her payments are 305 per month for ten years. Let's say you borrow a total of 80000. By the other person's debt to payment ratio, your payments could be over $900 per month. Can you handle that? Will you even earn enough to cover that, at least in the beginning, and still be able to have food and a roof over your head?

Please consider other schools. Many don't cost as much as the one you've chosen, and are very good schools...

sistrmoon

sistrmoon, BSN, RN

Specializes in Inpatient Oncology/Public Health. Has 15 years experience. 831 Posts

I got my ADN in Austin. It's a great program, and I came out of it with no student loans. I would consider that, especially with your brother's generous offer.

kiki617

kiki617

98 Posts

Thank you all for the advice. I really can't fathom that amount of debt. When I started the journey to nursing years ago, I never thought I would be in this position. Thank you recession.

I think Austin is the way to go. I can't stay with my brother for a long time, just a few months. But it will still give me some time to get it together and it's much cheaper to live out there.

My only other issue is that I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't want to be an OR nurse. I know being a ST sets me up nicely, but there just isn't enough patient time and the overall environment isn't something I love. But it is a foot in the door and for all the failures these few years, I did at least accomplish that.

@sistrmoon - I hear ACC takes many applications to get in. In doing their formula, although I would need the hesi as well as pharmacology, I had about a 34. Other posters said they still haven't gotten in with double that score. At least it's an option.

Thanks again everyone :)

nurseprnRN

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

If you have prerequisites done, be sure that Austin schools will accept them-- and watch out for expiration dates on that. And free housing is, well, free housing. Speaking as an easterner, I hear Austin is the most tolerable part of Texas :).

But I agree, BSN + surg tech experience will make you marketable in almost any hospital. Think day surgery, special procedures, interventional radiology, cardiac cath lab-- lots of opportunities to have patient contact, and they all leave at the end of the day, and so do you. :)

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 40 years experience. 1,368 Posts

Austin. Don't load it up with another 35 thousand at this point.

AOx1

AOx1

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education. Has 15 years experience. 3 Articles; 961 Posts

Austin. Use the time on the waitlist to work hard, save $, and repair your credit. Unless you are dead, it is never too late to continue your education.