Pay Back Loans On A Nurse’s Salary?

by Judge Josh on November 11, 2014

Okay so im a high school student in the 11th grade. Money is really tight. My mom is a correction officer, which means she should be able to afford a $214,000 tuition for all four years, but shes very selfish. Which means im on my own when it comes to college.

WHOA – hold it right there!  I understand that you are young and may not be aware of a lot of “financial stuff,” but if your mother makes the national average salary for a corrections officer, it would take her 5 and a half years to pay off a student loan debt of that magnitude – and that would be if she spent EVERY SINGLE PENNY she made on your tuition.  No home, no car, no eating, no nothing else.

I don’t know your Mom, so I can’t say she’s not selfish.  But if she is, it’s not because she has a bunch of money laying around to spend on $214,000 worth of college tuition.

My plan was to apply for financial aid which probably would be much because of the job my mom has. right?

I think you’re asking if you would be denied financial aid because your Mom has a job?  If so – no, that’s not necessarily true at all.  There are many factors that go into whether or not you are eligible for financial aid.

after applying i would subtract that from the tuition and take out a student loan for the rest. which basically means my whole college tuition will be paid by student loans.

Welcome to the club!  This is how the vast majority of people pay for school in this day & age.

im planning on getting a BSN (Bachelor in Science of Nursing) in order to become a registered nurse.  I just wanted to know, is this alot of money to take out for a student loan?

Yes.  A ton.  In fact, a little research tells me that $214,000 is about twice the average cost someone should expect to pay to get a nursing degree.  I’m not sure where you plan on going to school, but you may want to rethink going to a place that will cost you this much, unless you win the lottery between now & graduation.

will i be able to make payments sucessfully with the type of salary i will have coming in, plus other expenses?

Probably not, if you go the $214,000 tuition route.  The average salary for an RN is about $65,000 per year.  That’s about $4,200 per month take home pay.  A monthly payment on a loan of that size is estimated to be about $2,500 per month.  Add in a home, car, utilities, food, entertainment, clothes, etc. – and you’re probably not gonna make it.

The good news is, however, that either your number of $214,000 is wrong, or you can become a nurse for a LOT less money than that.  So go get ’em!

What say you folks?  Got any advice for this young person?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kassie November 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

Wow; that conversation was skewed… $214,000 for a RN!

Now I know college can be expensive, but that is on the verge of a scam– i don’t know who is doing the scamming the school or that future student!

But I have a related question; a friend of mine is debating on if it would be beneficial to go back to school (already having a BA) for the hope of a better future in nursing… she is weighing the ability to pay off the debt of undergrad and the new accumulation of debt if she gets her RN… would it be worth it and is it a safe career path with this economy?

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Turilynn November 11, 2014 at 11:50 am

Honestly, there is no “safe” career path nor is there any guarantee that your college degree will do anything for you in the world of employment. I am not saying that a college degree does not have value. It is one of the most valuable things you can get in life, but our thinking must be on balance here. Education is not all about employment, and a person should not study nursing if they do not love the idea of being in a fast-paced, demanding environment where having a desire to help people is vital.

On the other hand, after people follow the advice to study what they love, frustration sets in because it looks like everyone out there is making more money than they are, and they begin to think that they should have studied nursing or engineering instead of philosophy or anthropology. This is really not true. What you can do with your degree has much to do with what you actually do once you get your degree. Get out and meet people, travel whenever possible, volunteer, use your resources.

So, to bring this full circle, $214,000 for a nursing degree is ridiculous. Go research state schools and look at their tuition for the same degree. And, Kassie, if your friend is totally stoked about being a nurse, I am sure she can find the right school at the right price to reach her dream.

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Jo November 11, 2014 at 11:55 am

Unfortunately, it seems like this person knows very little about finance. They’re either mistaken in how much the tuition will cost, or how much their mother makes, or more. Yes, there are plenty of ways that they can score financial aid but the truth is that if their mother makes any kind of decent wage, federal grants will be very low and won’t even make a nick in the amount, if it’s correct, of 214K. I originally signed up for emails from this site because of Josh’s wealth of knowledge of scholarship opportunities and tips on how to better your chances. I highly suggest she begin looking into every scholarship possible!!

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Kim November 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Check into state schools. Many have very highly ranked nursing programs and cost FAR less than $214K. Start with the financial aid offered through the school. Some scholarships are automatic if you have certain GPA’s and test scores. Also, as an RN I can tell you you’re starting salary out of school will probably be more than your mom makes now with a family (including one very demanding daughter) to support. Do your homework. Get a job. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you.

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Steph RN November 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm

I *am* an RN.

I have two college aged children; one looked at nursing before deciding school is not for him right now, the other wants to be a physical therapist. I told them both I would pay for an associate’s degree (that’s about 3,000 per year) x 3 years assuming a 3.0 GPA. I will not pay for any class twice – so if you fail it or drop it, it’s your problem.

So now that we’ve established how selfish I am, here’s how you get a degree you can use and afford: Go for an associate’s degree in nursing at a public college. Your total cost, books and tuition, will be less than 10 grand. You should get that in Pell grants, but if not – your student loan payment would be about $100 per month. Assuming that you drive an old car and live in a cheap apartment, you could pay it all back in less than your first year working as an RN and be debt free.

THEN – you do an online RN-BSN (I like UT Arlington, but I’m biased – I went there for the RN-BSN).. that’s another 10K, but you can pay cash as you go because you’re making big shot RN money at that point… about 3,000 a month, take home, for me.

Then – if you’re still feeling school minded, go for an NP. In Texas, that will double my salary, for about another 30K in tuition and books… and another 3 years of my life.

And if, in 25 or 30 years, your kid looks at you like you owe them a free ride, you can tell them they must be out of their mind – but that you will pay for an associates. :)

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Dan November 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

WTF!? I have my BSN from a reputable uni and I graduated with about 13,000 in debt. Granted I worked through school but even an expensive program was in the 60,000 range. I PROMISE you, no job or salary will care that you went to an expensive school. Programs are state and nationally mandated to cover the same information needed to be a good nurse, and we all take the same national boards. Also, I’ve been a nurse for 3 years and made 75k on the books last year. Hope this helps your terribly misinformed post’s readers…

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Eric November 12, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Having been an ICU nurse at a teaching hospital for over 4 years the answer is no, you will not make enough money as a nurse to repay your student loans in a timely manner and be able to live any sort of desirable life. I finished my BSN with ~$52,000 in student loans and after graduating put myself on a strict budget only allowing myself such luxuries as a newer car (used) and an increase in my food budget (no more ramen!!). The abbreviated part of the story is that I was getting nowhere fast paying on the loans and trying to save anything towards retirement and to have a small cushion just in-case I were injured and unable to work until disability kicked in. After meeting my significant other and figuring out that there was no way I was going to be able to afford a wedding, buying a house, and raising kids on this kind of pay I applied for and began grad school … good luck!

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