Sometimes the best choice is apparent others times not so much. Moving from the jumble of options to a concrete action can be the most daunting step to take. The field of economics gives us some tools to help us narrow down our choices. By applying some basic tools, we can rank choices to arrive at an action. This will involve converting your options into dollar values. Let us consider a case study.
A student is deciding between attending NOVA or George Mason (GMU) Nursing Fall 2018. Thier goal is to earn a BSN eventually. This student has been accepted into both programs and has completed all general education courses so that they only need to take Nursing core classes.
If she decides to go to NOVA, she will complete an associate of applied science in nursing and become eligible to take the NCLEX exam, thus earning her Registered Nursing license (RN). The program will take 18 months or two school years to complete and cost her around $7,293.00 in tuition at the current Fall 2018 rate of $187 per credit hour. She will start a job as early as July 2020 earning approximately $60,000 starting.
Becuase she intends to continue her studies, she completes her BSN via the GMU RN to BSN program which adds approximately $15,000 and one school year.
So far the student has spent four semesters, for her ADN plus two for her RN to BSN or approximately 26 months. She will have paid $7,293.00 plus $15,000 for an approximate total of $22,293.
The student could have also opted to go to the GMU BSN program. Had she done so she would have spent four semesters completing her BSN/RN graduating May 2020. She will have paid approximately, $33,800* in tuition and fees, and started work as a BSN RN earning roughly $60,000 August of 2020.
In summary, her decision in the spring of 2018 between GMU and NOVA means completing her BSN one year sooner and paying around $11,507 extra Or finishing the BSN a year later and saving the $11,507.
If she chose NOVA and starts at $60,000** plus the $11,507 savings at the end of her first year of work as a nurse, she would have earned $71,507. In this case, the savings can be counted as earnings.
*Because of financial aid options and available scholarships, the total cost for either option can be significantly reduced.
*GMU tuition estimate based on completion of Nursing courses( 62 credits) only, and assumes all general education courses have been completed. tuition is based on current Summer 2018 tuition rates and fees
** Salary estimates based on O*Net Online and Salary.com estimate for nurses with 0-1 year of work experience. in the Washington DC metro area.