The Facts about Debt & Nursing School
Let’s face the cold, hard facts: nursing school costs money. Often, it costs big money. In fact, in today’s commercial world, it is not unheard of for some RN graduates to owe hefty sums of money to student loans. I personally know nurses with student loans totaling over $100,000!
If we break down this logic even further, we must also consider the opportunity cost of attending school. I think that it is safe to say the majority of nursing students in one way or another additionally sacrifice potential income while attending classes, clinicals, or completing homework. In all honesty, we should include that loss in the total outstanding debt.
Okay, that is kind of a depressing way of looking at it, but I like to say it exactly how it is. I am not known for beating around the bush. As I have stated in previous articles, I always try to be a practical person, and as such, I try to examine all the facts before deciding on a course of action.
My Personal Experience with Student Loans
I personally completed both my BSN and MSN at private universities, and let me tell you, the tuition was not cheap. Not that I am “complaining” per say, I understand as with any business the ultimate goal of these institutions is to make a profit, but in line with my higher education, I do have student loans with considerable balances. If I had the opportunity to complete the nursing program at a more affordable institution, win the lottery, or have a rich relative pay my tuition, I certainly would done that instead. But at the same time, should you ask me if I regret my decision to take out student loans, the honest answer would be no.
Let me clarify further by saying I enjoy my job, I find pride in my professional status within the community, and I feel proud that I can earn a fairly descent living for my family. As a nurse, I have unlimited job opportunities across the 50 states, and across different healthcare settings. So yes, I would take out the loans again if I had to.
Selling You Soul to the Bank
I am not trying to scare you, but you should mindfully consider all aspects of student loans before taking them out to pay for nursing school. First, you should estimate how much you think you might need to take out in order to complete the entire nursing program. In your estimation, include any living expenses you might incur in the process. Secondly, you should investigate what your earning potential will be where you live. Are you willing to relocate for that higher paying job if need be? You need to consider all questions such as these while deciding if you can comfortably repay your student loans.
Ultimately, Be Smart
Although there is no clear-cut yes or no answer to the question of whether or not you should take out a student loan in order to complete nursing school, clearly it goes without saying that it would be better if you were able to complete the program without one (or many). I personally was interested in writing this article because debt is something I have always worried about, whether it be credit card debit or student loan debit. The number one rule at my house, almost without exception, is if we cannot pay for it with cash we do not buy it.
That said, I want to emphasize that if you do need to take out a loan, it is okay to do so. I have heard student loan debt termed good debt, and although I do not think any debt is good in the long run, I do feel that it is totally appropriate to use a student loan in order to finance your education. I have personally heard so many students bring up concerns about student loan repayment, and although I appreciate that there are still some responsible adults out there, I do not think that this is a sufficient excuse to keep you from doing so.
That said, you must be smart about it. Only take out the amount that you absolutely must in order to make it through the program. Additionally, borrow only that which you can feasibly repay once you become a responsible, tax paying citizen. By completing your education, you will not only become a professional contributing member of society, you will eventually accomplish your goal of entering the medical field and becoming a Registered Nurse.