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Is an Accelerated Nursing Program Worth It?

An accelerated nursing program allows students to start their nursing careers sooner.

When it comes to earning a second bachelor’s degree in nursing, you may find the cost of tuition a little daunting, leaving you to wonder: Is an accelerated nursing program worth it? It is if you enroll in the 16-month ABSN program at Loyola University Chicago.

Before we discuss the value of our ABSN program, it’s important to note that no matter what program you choose, paying for nursing school requires some financial planning. It helps if you think of nursing school as a wise investment in your future, rather than a short-term strain on your pocketbook. After all, given today’s nursing shortage, a nursing education can provide a sound return on investment.

As of May 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates our country’s registered nurse employment rate to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026. On the local front, the Bureau lists the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights metropolitan area as having one of the highest registered nurse employment levels in the country, with an annual mean wage of $75,630.

Did you know?

In January 2017, Crain’s Chicago Business, using data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, reported that nursing students in Illinois are being stymied by oversubscribed schools, with 78,000 applicants to undergraduate and graduate nursing programs being turned away due to a lack of faculty.

With the launch of our second ABSN program location in Downers Grove, we’re making an accelerated nursing education more accessible to qualified students.

We’d like to point out that by choosing our ABSN program, you’re investing in an accredited education with high NCLEX-RN® pass rates. Our 2016 ABSN program graduates achieved a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 93.98%. You’re also paying to acquire clinical skills that today’s health-care employers demand.

Invest and Prosper 

Overall, our accelerated nursing program is worth it because it allows you to:

  • Fast-track your nursing career. By building on your existing bachelor’s degree in another field of study, our ABSN program makes it possible for you to earn a highly respected BSN in 16 months.
  • Start your education sooner. With two start dates a year at both our Downers Grove and Maywood locations, our ABSN program’s enrollment capacity helps take some of the wait out of starting nursing school.
  • Choose your learning style. Our ABSN program gives you the option to complete your core nursing courses online (available in Downers Grove) or face-to-face in the classroom (available in Maywood).
  • Practice your skills without consequence. Our nursing skills labs provide a realistic, risk-free environment for you to practice your clinical skills, from taking patient vital signs to providing wound care, under the guidance of faculty.
  • Develop your skills at top health-care facilities. Our clinical placement sites across the Chicago metropolitan area expose students to a variety of clinical settings, health-care systems, and patient populations.
  • Have faith in your future. In keeping with our university’s Jesuit values, our ABSN curriculum combines faith and reason with intellectual rigor so that you graduate a compassionate nurse leader focused on the greater common good.

Once you graduate from our ABSN program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, you’ll be able to practice nursing in a wide variety of settings, from hospitals to nursing homes to school systems. More specifically, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Loyola University Chicago prepares you to:

  • Provide competent, compassionate care to diverse patient populations.
  • Navigate the unique religious and cultural needs of patients.
  • Incorporate ethics, values, and public policy into nursing practice.
  • Collaborate with other health-care professionals to increase the quality of patient care.

You’ll find that, on average, Loyola nursing school graduates who seek professional nursing positions find employment within two months of graduation.

BSN Value

While there are different paths you can take to become a registered nurse, not all of them are created equal in terms of career growth. Take, for example, an associate degree in nursing. This two-year education can lead you to RN status, but it won’t give you the same professional advancement opportunities as a bachelor’s degree in nursing. More specifically, having a BSN enables you to:

  • Earn a high starting salary with a good benefits package.
  • Pursue a wide variety of career paths, from critical care to administration.
  • Practice in diverse health-care settings, from hospitals to urgent care clinics.

Furthermore, the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing recognizes a BSN as the minimum education requirement for professional nursing practice, with research that shows the more BSN-prepared nurses a health-care facility employs, the better the patient outcomes. Perhaps this is why health-care facilities across the country are reducing the number of associate-prepared nurses they hire.

Financing Options

If your goal is to become a nurse, you shouldn’t let cost get in the way of your dream career, especially given the different financing options that may be available to you.

Federal student aid loan types

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Available to eligible undergraduates who demonstrate financial need. Loan amounts vary by student, and interest begins to accrue after a student graduates or leaves school.

 Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Available to eligible undergraduates regardless of financial need. Interest begins to accrue after the first loan disbursement.

Nursing Student Loan

Available to undergraduate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate financial need and meet priority filing deadlines.

Parent PLUS Loan

Available to eligible parents of dependent undergraduate students. Borrowing parent must have a good credit history and apply for the loan on a yearly basis.

While federal, state, and university grants/scholarships may be limited when you’re a Loyola ABSN student, you still might be able to finance your education via federal and/or private loans.

Given the various low interest loan options available through the U.S. Department of Education, we encourage you, no matter your income level, to first apply for financial aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—it’s the only way to know what type of loan you’re qualified to receive.

More times than not, however, Federal Student Aid will not cover the total cost of attending our ABSN program. Therefore, it’s a good idea to research private lenders, such as banks or credit unions, and try to borrow from an institution with low interest rates and good terms.

Our Financial Aid Office can help you identify the best options for financing your accelerated nursing education. You can contact them at 773.508.7704 or lufinaid@luc.edu. To learn more about the value of our 16-month ABSN program, contact our admissions team today at 866.891.0218.

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