Is NYU Nursing worth it? How I paid off my student loan

Hi my lovely readers,

I’ve thought a lot about my impact on you, directly or indirectly. For me, one of my everyday joys is to view my blog stats and watch it grow every week. It’s the thing that cheers me up when I feel down, knowing that I’ve helped another soul gain insight into something that they didn’t know before. So thank you for reading my blog.

One of the most common questions I get through email is the following:

Is NYU Nursing worth it?

I think that by the time that you ask this question, you’ve already decided that a nursing career is for you. Now you’re deciding on which school to attend. Of course, with NYU as a top ranking school, you want to know if the tuition is worth it. Right now for the school year 2013-14, here is the tuition cost:

NYU Nursing Tuition

It’s about $21k for tuition. Plus fees and health insurance, it’ll cost about $24k per semester. As for a scholarship, I’ve heard they typically give students about $3-4k in “College of Nursing Scholarship” (that’s what I got). Let’s just say you have to pay about $20k for 4 semesters.

That’s about $80k, or approximately your first year’s salary as a nurse.

What?! Really? Yes, it’s really that great. According to Forbes, NYU Nursing graduates ranked #3 for the College Diplomas with the highest salaries in 2013.

NYU Nursing BSN Salary

It’s quite possible that this is because many students stay in NYC area and the average starting salary as a brand new nurse is about $75k. Or graduates go back home to California and hot spots command an even higher salary (with a mandated lower patient-to-nurse ratio. That means less patients per nurse = more time with patients and less time running around making sure everyone’s safe. Because safety is always #1. That’s AMAZING!!).

This is even more than any business school. Only one engineering school and one computer science school beats NYU Nursing.

Just remember, sometimes it’s more about the LOCATION of the school rather than just the name. In NYC, private top hospitals command a higher salary compared to other locations.

Also remember that nurses run the hospitals. And yes, doctors go in and out, deciding on treatment plans, performing surgeries, etc. But a lot of time, nursing input is CRUCIAL and nurses are there 24/7 with the patients. So yes, while nurses do some ‘dirty work’, they are the ones performing much of the care. I remember during a code, a PA said that he knows WHAT to DO, but he needs to the nurse to DO it because he doesn’t know HOW. So I’m proud of that. And a lot of times nurses know what to do too… it’s just not ‘official’ until you have an order (that you may have suggested).

And as a nurse, from any school, you will be a vital part of the health care team.

But it still comes down to this. After you graduate from ANY nursing school, you will still have to pass the NCLEX and you will be a registered nurse.

A RN. And a RN is a RN.

On your badge, it’ll say that you are a RN. It doesn’t say which school. The only way for someone to know which school you went to is if you tell them. And yes, as a new nurse, a lot of people will ask you. Over and over again. And yes, patients will notice that you, as a new nurse, are just not as fast, or do things with grace, or seemed to be always crunched for time. But don’t worry. They will still appreciate what you do and you just keep going.

As for a pay differential, hospitals don’t look at which school you went to (or maybe they do unknowingly as do many companies, since they typically have feeder schools too). Hospitals nowadays do not hire new associate degree nurses. This happened because of many study that compared associate and bachelor of nursing graduates (ASN vs BSN) perform. It showed that patients were safer and had a lower mortality rate when taken care by BSN graduates. Anyway, there’s usually a BSN pay differential at hospitals because they want to ‘encourage’ those who were already hired as a ASN to get their BSN.

If you’re questioning if you should get a ASN or BSN, always go for the BSN, especially as a second degree student. You’d be in school for the same amount of time anyway and a BSN is standard now. Don’t waste your money and time on a ASN. I heard that most ASN are hired mostly by nursing homes now. And maybe that is the route you want to go but I say if you want to keep your nursing career options wide open, go for the BSN. Don’t limit yourself.

So let’s get back to the question:

Is NYU Nursing worth it?

There are two typical paths people take while going down the road of nursing.

If you wish to be a bedside nurse forever (and trust me, a lot of my colleagues have been. And they love what they do and they are amazing people!!!), then I think getting a BSN anywhere is ok.

BUT

If you wish to keep your options open, and you have that flaming desire to do more than bedside nursing such as management, informatics, research, global work, etc, then I think NYU Nursing is worth it.

Maybe it’s the characteristics of the students who go there have similar taste as you. Because they want the same things too. The same drive and ambition. The chances you take to learn something new and to overcome challenges. To not give up when it gets tough and to push forward. To help other coworkers and patients who aren’t assigned to you. To still have a smile on your face and still want more.

Maybe it’s the extra-edge of a ‘brand name’ school that gives you –or your future employer– the confidence. You’ll know you received a top level education and it doesn’t get much better than this (although as a student you’ll still think of ways to improve it because you can’t help it). You’ll know that whatever you don’t know, you’ll pick it up fast anyway and be able to perform at a top level.

Your future employer will know this school and not question its validity. Maybe not initially but down the road it becomes more significant. As you may or may not know, many of the top hospitals in NYC have Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) who are NYU Nursing graduates. Know that with pride.

Honestly though, you can still have all these desires to go on a winding nursing career and not go to NYU Nursing. It’s still an individual who decides her own path.

Here’s the second question:

How did I pay for my student loan?

Personally, I hate owing money. Especially at an interest rate of 6.8%. As soon as I started making money, I put everything I could into paying off my loan. Yes, you could pay the minimum payments for 10 years but I can’t do that.

For me, I had parents who were able to help me financially and I thank them for that.

I owed about $20k in student loans. After taxes, I received about $4k/month. Less than half went toward rent, transportation, and food. The other ‘more than half’ went to paying off the student loan as quickly as possible. In 6 months from December 2012 to May 2013, I paid out $15k, or about $2.5k per month.

In May 2013, I received a credit card offer for a balance transfer. Normally I ignored these but this one was offered at 1% fee. That meant instead of paying 6.8%, I could pay only 1% to borrow the money as long as I paid it off by the deadline of March 2014 (and also not use that credit card for regular purchases so credit card companies can’t confuse you with the different APR for balance transfer vs purchases).

I wrote the check to myself and cashed it at an ATM. I saw $5000 in my checking account. On the credit card, they deducted $5000 plus the 1% fee of $50. I paid off the rest of the student loan with that $5000 and that account was closed in May 2013. Then I spent the next 8 months from June 2013-February 2014 slowly paying it off about $650/month.

The good thing about this balance transfer is that I only had to pay $50 to borrow $5000. If I had left that amount in the student loan, then I would’ve had to pay $5000 * 6.8% = $340 to borrow that same amount.

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Anyway, I hope this helped you. Please let me know if it did and if you have any additional questions, comment below or send me an email. Thanks.

And go team! 🙂

Posted in Nursing, NYU, Personal Finance and tagged , , , .
  • While I’m not going into nursing, this applies to other majors as well. Going to a more prestigious university will be helpful in your career, to get you ‘in the door’ when submitting a resume. Although, if you are not particularly ambitious, then you could go to any university with basically the same result.

  • Hi Jess! I just wanted to thank you for your encouraging words. I am currently facing the decision of taking a loan and moving to the city, pursuing my dream of becoming a nurse in NYC. I just received my acceptance letter from NYU and was skeptical at first but now am encouraged from this blog! THANK YOU!
    Do you have any suggestions about living arrangements during school?

  • Anne

    Hi Jess, like Miranda I am facing this decision as well. I have never really lived in a big city, but I was accepted to the NYU Accelerated program and I am so excited yet nervous. Your blog is really helping me make a decision.

    • Hi Anne,
      I’m glad to help. Let me know if there’s any additional questions that you may have!
      Jessica

  • Pingback: Top 5 Posts in 2014 | Life With Jess()

  • Shannon

    I AM SO HAPPY I FOUND YOUR BLOG. While you were at NYU, did you know any students who commuted? Like, say… from Connecticut? If you don’t mind, what are your thoughts – do you think an 1hr10min train ride each morning and evening is impractical when considering what the schedule is like for the Accelerated BSN? I think I could get into the program, but I definitely won’t be living in the city during it. I’m still paying loans from my first degree. Thank you, Jess! Adding your blog to my favorites.

    • Hi Shannon! I’m glad that you found my blog helpful! A lot of students commuted. I didn’t know anyone traveling from Connecticut, but I did know people who traveled from Westchester, New Jersey, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, and Long Island. It won’t be too bad for getting to class two days a week (I think they still have a bus from Penn Station that will take you to campus) but you’ll definitely have to travel a little earlier for those clinical days (also twice a week) that start at 7am. If you can make that happen, then it’s ok! I’d recommend studying during your commute time. Then it won’t be nearly as bad. Hoped that helped. Good luck!