School: Loans Are The Only Way To Go? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-04-2011, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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a bit of a background:

i have a bachelors degree. however, i obtained my degree in eastern europe where i was born and grew up, so when i moved to the united states and started looking for work, my bachelors degree didnt really count as one with most of potential employers (at a few places they actually told me so). so finally after trying and failing to find a decent job for a few years now and working at a job that im not particularly fond of, i decided to go back to school and earn a degree that will be a US degree and therefore will not prevent me from employment. I chose nursing because it opens a huge scope of opportunities for different things, also because i work at a hospital that has a scholarship once you are in the program and employment for you upon graduation. 

however i do have to complete some prerequisites and i dont think i have a way to afford it without taking out a loan...

i applied for fin aid and was told that because i have another bachelors, even though it is not from this country, i dont qualify. moreover, i was told that even without my degree, i probably still wouldnt qualify because of how much money my husband and me both make. and that part completely bewildered me. we barely made 40 k between two of us las year, plus we have a child ... 

i am so upset and disappointed. they basically told me loans is the only way. 

i just completed the application for the federal loans and it makes me want to cry. we are struggling as it is and have cut a lot of our expenses in the past year, and now more debt. 

if i were a single mother on unemployment and food stamps, i would have qualified for everything out there (im sorry if this will offend someone, im just really really upset), but doing my best to support my family, apparently means nothing. shouldnt school aid be based on merit / grades / knowledge, etc? 

im  trying to think of other ways to come up with the money, but i just cant... i could take one class a semester and pay for it out of pocket, but i cant stand the idea of stretching out my school from 3 years to 10 or so... 

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#2 of 15 Old 01-04-2011, 09:44 PM
 
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nak

 

First ((((hugs))))

 

Second--scour the web for grants and scholarships. Some are not well known and others have 'weird' requirements. Since you are from Eastern Europe, there are probably scholarships out there for just that 'difference'.

 

Third, don't despair. Nursing, in general is high paying. What will your loan balance be compared to earning potential? Loans are 'on hold' in terms of payments until you are out of school, so most likely payments won't start until after you graduate. Debt is not always bad, and in you case, a good use of loans.

 

Ami


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#3 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 07:23 AM
 
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I agree with the PP about the loans.  I am entering a program to track towards an associate's degree in nursing and would rather incur the debt and pay it with a well paying nursing job than scrape and scrounge in the meantime to take one class a semester.

 

Now, I don't know that borrowing 100k in loans for an art history degree or whatnot would be a good investment.  But I don't think you can go wrong with a health field.

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#4 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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Student loans aren't the end of the world.  Don't go crazy and take out a bunch but if all you need the loans for are the pre-req's until you get accepted into the program it shouldn't be too bad.

 

I also noticed your location, you should be able to find grants and scholarships here in NM, there are also programs that pay off your student loans if you go into nursing and dedicate x number of years to a low income area.

 

Also a bit OT but sometimes the system just sucks.  My father up and left after 23 years of marriage, my mom had been a SAH for 17 years.  She went back to school but they told her no aid because she had a bacholors, didn't matter that is was almost 30 years old.  They also told her no food stamps, even though she had no income because she owned her home.  It didn't matter that a rental would have been 3 times what the mortgage was, they said she clearly wasn't desperate enough because she wouldn't sell the house.  


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#5 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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I agree with pp's -- I'd be very, very judicious with how you take them out, but I don't think student loans are always bad. My dh worked through school, his parents helped him pay for a alot, he whent to a community college before transfering to a four year state school... did everything to reduce the amount he took out in loans, but graduated with 8k in loans. 8k seemed like a gargantuan amount when he was working part time and paying for school, but after graduating and getting a professional job, he was able to pay it quickly. If he had taken out 50k... that would be another story.

 

Also-- it totally is crummy that you have to re-do your degree. Is it possible that you could get a masters (I don't know what it is for nurses) instead of another bachelor's degree? More bang for your buck, if you can.


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#6 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the support, i know, student loans are not the end of the world, its just so unfair not to get a scholarship just because of a degree you cant even use. and yes, there are plenty of grants around, but only once you are in actual nursing program, theres not much (or anything at all) for when you are just doing your prereqs. i was very conservative with how much money i asked for, just enough to cover the classes and maybe a little left for books. i will still be working, so we'll have a little money to help pay for living expenses. 

there is a big part of me that doesnt really want to go to school. i have done this. i have worried about grades and exams, pulled all nighters and so on. i dont mind education and would love to take classes that would be just for fun or help with work...  but it feels like im starting from scratch and that all the years i put into my previous education were just waste of time. hammer.gif

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#7 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 01:02 PM
 
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what was your previous degree in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaNova View Post

 

thanks for the support, i know, student loans are not the end of the world, its just so unfair not to get a scholarship just because of a degree you cant even use. and yes, there are plenty of grants around, but only once you are in actual nursing program, theres not much (or anything at all) for when you are just doing your prereqs. i was very conservative with how much money i asked for, just enough to cover the classes and maybe a little left for books. i will still be working, so we'll have a little money to help pay for living expenses. 

there is a big part of me that doesnt really want to go to school. i have done this. i have worried about grades and exams, pulled all nighters and so on. i dont mind education and would love to take classes that would be just for fun or help with work...  but it feels like im starting from scratch and that all the years i put into my previous education were just waste of time. hammer.gif




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#8 of 15 Old 01-05-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I know a lot of people who went back for a nursing degree with a previous bachelors degree. Some of them had jobs but that didn't pay great and others never found a job in their field, even with a US earned bachelors degree. Your income should go up enough to warrant taking out some loans. If your still working than that should really help limit the amount you need. I know my best friend who is currently an RN, is working 3 years at her current employment because they are paying back part of her tuition if she does. She still has quite a bit in student loans but that is because she lived off a lot of her loans and took out more than just for tuition.

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#9 of 15 Old 01-06-2011, 10:58 PM
 
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I have a bac degree in English and in Nursing.  I got the nursing one when I realized that I really did not want to teach.  I finished with $10 thou in loans but got accepted into a program that paid my loans for me because I was working in a low income area.  I have never regreted going back to school but I hated nursing school. However,  I love being a nurse.  Only you can decide if it is worth it for you to go back but if you do there are lots of ways to get nursing school paid for.  HTH Sarah  Feel free to PM me if youi have questions

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#10 of 15 Old 01-07-2011, 02:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaNova View Post

 

and yes, there are plenty of grants around, but only once you are in actual nursing program, theres not much (or anything at all) for when you are just doing your prereqs.



You're not looking hard enough.  Seriously.  One of the hats that I wear where I work is Development Coordinator.  My job is to search for grants and apply for them.  There are millions of dollars in grants and scholarships that are lost every year because people don't even bother applying.  Sometimes the requirements are nothing more than "If you are from X County and have blue eyes, write an essay about your favorite author".  I'm not kidding.  There are some ridiculously EASY scholarships/grants.  Others take a little more work.  The fact is, though, that they ARE out there.  You don't find these things online.  The money won't land in your lap, you have to spend some time doing the searching manually... go to your library and sit down with the funding books (many of them have CDs that you can use to search the criteria) and apply for every single one that you are qualified for.  Most of them are going to be local grants... not national ones.

 

It's been more than 2 decades since I was in college, but I did not get any financial aid (my parents made too much, but decided to not pay anything for my education).  I applied for every tiny thing I could... some awards were just $50/semester.  But with working and these scholarships I was able to get through without loans.  Plus... I always took summer classes and it was easier to get scholarships for summers.  I still worked (had the same job most of the way through college), but didn't have to work as much during the summer because I had more scholarship money.  I finished in 3.5 years due to going those summers and maxing my class credits each semester (paid the same for 12 credit hours as you did for 18... might as well take as many as you can).  Good luck!

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#11 of 15 Old 01-08-2011, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaNova View Post

 

and yes, there are plenty of grants around, but only once you are in actual nursing program, theres not much (or anything at all) for when you are just doing your prereqs.



You're not looking hard enough.  Seriously.  One of the hats that I wear where I work is Development Coordinator.  My job is to search for grants and apply for them.  There are millions of dollars in grants and scholarships that are lost every year because people don't even bother applying.  Sometimes the requirements are nothing more than "If you are from X County and have blue eyes, write an essay about your favorite author".  I'm not kidding.  There are some ridiculously EASY scholarships/grants.  Others take a little more work.  The fact is, though, that they ARE out there.  You don't find these things online.  The money won't land in your lap, you have to spend some time doing the searching manually... go to your library and sit down with the funding books (many of them have CDs that you can use to search the criteria) and apply for every single one that you are qualified for.  Most of them are going to be local grants... not national ones.

 

It's been more than 2 decades since I was in college, but I did not get any financial aid (my parents made too much, but decided to not pay anything for my education).  I applied for every tiny thing I could... some awards were just $50/semester.  But with working and these scholarships I was able to get through without loans.  Plus... I always took summer classes and it was easier to get scholarships for summers.  I still worked (had the same job most of the way through college), but didn't have to work as much during the summer because I had more scholarship money.  I finished in 3.5 years due to going those summers and maxing my class credits each semester (paid the same for 12 credit hours as you did for 18... might as well take as many as you can).  Good luck!


thank you for  posting this. i really thought online was the only way to look for this stuff... i will definetely do the library search, thanks again.

 

p.s. my degree is in applied linguistics and where i used to live, i had several jobs that i absolutely loved, so it was heartbreaking after i moved here to know you can do something and not get a chance
 

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#12 of 15 Old 01-08-2011, 01:16 PM
 
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Depending on where you apply, your studies & degree may not be wasted... especially in linguistics.  Some of the bigger tech companies (and even some of the smaller ones) may look at what you can do and your experience in the field rather than where you earned your degree.

 

Just offering a little hope. candle.gif


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#13 of 15 Old 01-09-2011, 06:32 AM
 
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Have you had your foreign degree validated?  I know many people who've had that done and it might help potential employers feel more confident about your education.

 

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#14 of 15 Old 01-09-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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There are some new loan forgiveness programs for federal direct stafford loans now, too. If you go to work for a non-profit (many hospitals are nonprofits) after x amount of payments the balance is forgiven. So, there may be some options to lower your debt at the payoff end, too. Nursing, from what I understand, is a solid, high paying career field. The difference in salary might equate to your loan amount in just a few years.

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#15 of 15 Old 01-09-2011, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

Have you had your foreign degree validated?  I know many people who've had that done and it might help potential employers feel more confident about your education.

 


i did. it actually is a higher degree here in the states than it was at home. i had evaluated and have the paperwork. noone cares. on my resume it says in bold:

certified us equivalent under my degree.

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