Nursing school students, we know you’re looking for ways to pay off those student loans that are a drain on your pocketbook every month. Some students even go on to become a History tutor in Singapore to make ends meet for themselves and clear their loans. Because nurses are so in demand these days, employers are coming up with numerous incentives to encourage you to work for them – and one of those incentives is an offer to repay some or all of your tuition.
This is a very tempting offer, of course. And it may turn out to be worth your while to accept this offer. However, here are some things that you need to consider before you make your final decision.
There are state-sponsored “loan forgiveness” programs, and there are employer “tuition repayment” programs. They both offer essentially the same thing: they will repay a portion of your student loan every year for a certain number of years, in exchange for a signed agreement to work for them for a certain period of time.
In the case of the “loan forgiveness” programs, the state is seeking to find nurses who will work in underserved areas – prisons, certain hospitals, schools, detention centers. You need to investigate the facility where you are considering working to make sure that it is a place that you want to be for the next couple of years. Is it safe? Are the working conditions good? Is there a high turnover? If so, there’s usually a reason. And what about the salary? Does it pay as well as other similar facilities that you are considering?
The same thing goes for “tuition repayment” agreements. Check out the hospital/nursing home/clinic etc. where you are considering working. How long will you have to work there? What happens if you leave after 10 or 11 months instead of staying the full year? Is there any kind of penalty that you will have to pay? Do people enjoy working there? And are you locked in at a low salary in exchange for the tuition repayment? If you are being repaid, say, $3000 to $4000 a year, which is about the standard amount currently, but you could make $6000-$8000 more per year working somewhere else, you’re not really saving any money, are you? When you get paid more per hour, you make that much more for every hour that you work – say, for 10 or 11 or 12 months. But if you sign an agreement saying you only get tuition reimbursement if you stay for a full year, and then you leave before that year is up, you may have given up thousands of dollars in a higher salary that you could have earned elsewhere.