Can You Afford an Accelerated Nursing Degree?

Ever since I posted the FAQ on NYU’s Second Degree Accelerated Nursing Program in 2011, I have received many emails asking if they can afford going to NYU (considering that it is expensive). Now that I switched to, I would like to start with my very first video on this very question.

The reason that I became so concerned about being able to afford a second degree accelerated nursing program is simply because I got a request from a NYU nursing student on raising awareness on his needs to raise tuition funds. It never occurred to me that you could go halfway through school and then get cut from it because you simply don’t have enough funds to pay for it. So let’s make sure you can pay for it.

The biggest issue is that you are still considered an undergraduate. And most people don’t know that there’s a new federal maximum of borrowing up to 1.5 times the total tuition that started recently.

Let’s go over an example:

At NYU, the total tuition is about $80,000 (or $80k where k = thousand). 80k x 1.5 = $120k, which is the maximum amount of loan that you can take out, including all of your earlier loans.


So let’s go over two scenarios depending on your previous student loan situation.

1. Where you owe too much
Let’s say you still owe $50k, then you can take out a maximum of 120k-50k = 70k. Since this loan amount less than the total tuition ($80k), you have a few options:

  • you can pay the difference out-of-pocket,
  • consider another nursing school,
  • pay off more of your first student loan before applying, or
  • get a scholarship or grant. Always apply to every school scholarship that you’re qualified for because you may get it! You won’t get it if you don’t try.

2. Where you owe less
Maybe you owe $30k on your previous loan, then you can take out a maximum of 120k-30k = 90k. Since this is more than the total tuition, your loans can cover your entire tuition.

Without using an example, do the following: find out the total tuition, multiple that by 1.5, then subtract that by your current student loan. Or (Total Tuition x 1.5) – Current Student Loan.

  • If this is equal to or greater than your total tuition amount, then you can afford to go with only loans.
  • If this amount is less, then you have a few choices:
    • you can pay the difference out-of-pocket,
    • consider another nursing school,
    • pay off more of your first student loan before applying, or
    • get a scholarship or grant.

Now, there are two major types of loans – federal and private.

You want to use all the federal loans first before applying for private loans because you will have a smaller interest rate, meaning that you won’t owe as much when it’s time to pay back (which typically starts 6 months after you finish school).


There are 3 types of federal loans

Stafford, Perkins, and Parent PLUS. I won’t discuss the Parent PLUS loan or the Perkins loan (although for the Perkins loan the maximum is $5.5k annually or $27.5k cumulatively).


Let’s focus on the Stafford loan.

There are 2 types.

  1. Subsidized – Always max out the subsidized loans first because these loans are the best possible: No interest is accrued while you’re in school. There’s a maximum of $5.5k per year or $23k cumulative.
  2. Unsubsidized – These are also good but interest accrues as soon as the loan is disbursed to the school. You can receive up to $7.5k per year.

As a combined total of both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loan, you can receive different maximums depending on the type of student you are.

  1. As an independent student (or parents don’t help pay): you can receive $12.5k per year and a maximum of $57.5k
  2. As a dependent student (or parents do help pay): you can receive $7.5k per year and a maximum of $31K , which includes your loans you took out from your first student loan.


So even if you got the maximum of federal loans, you probably still need additional aid. You can do the following:

  1. You can apply for scholarships,
  2. have your parents can cover the rest of the tuition, or
  3. pay the rest with private loans.


Private Loans

The top 3 private loans are Wells Fargo, Discover, and Sallie Mae. Typically with these, it is easier to get approved for a loan and to have a smaller interest rate if you have a co-signer such as your parents. However, it is not an absolute necessity. Many of these companies have ‘Health Professions’ loans, but unfortunately getting an accelerated second degree nursing is still considered a bachelor of nursing or an undergraduate degree so you may not get this benefit (although I have heard that some people get it).

Other Kinds of Loans


There are other kinds of loans, such as peer-to-peer lending (P2P), but they typically don’t allow for student loans (Prosper, the Lending Club) and often have a higher interest rate.


I hoped that helped! Comment below, share this video and post.

nurse jess

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