February 19, 2024
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The Hefty Cost of Delaying NP Graduation

When you decide to become a Nurse Practitioner, you choose a meaningful career path of growth and specialized expertise. However, you also choose sleepless nights studying after long shifts while juggling other responsibilities.

Now, after finishing your coursework, your clinical rotations are all that’s left before that coveted NP title. Securing those vital experiences motivates you until you realize finding a preceptor is much harder than expected. No matter how hard you try, preceptors rarely respond, if at all.

The thought of finally putting your specialized expertise into practice and earning a salary worthy of your efforts motivates you. It’s time you start looking for your preceptors and get the hands-on experience you need to become a confident NP.

Yet as soon as you start contacting hospitals and clinics, your excitement sinks as you realize finding a preceptor and securing your clinicals will be much harder than you thought.

No matter how hard you try, you always get negative responses from preceptors if they even respond.

As your deadline approaches, you start to consider sitting out a term and keep looking for the next semester. However, this decision will bring a ton of consequences if you decide to take it and keep looking on your own.

We’re talking about…

  • The stress and anxiety of seeing your plans crushed because of this preceptor shortage.
  • The frustration of delaying your graduation and missing out on all the career growth opportunities.
  • The uncertainty of not knowing for how long you’ll be looking out.
  • The disappointment of delaying your certification exams.

It’s demoralizing to stall this close to the finish line for reasons outside your control. By postponing graduation, you also take a toll on your career, mental health, and finances. However, one overlooked aspect that compounds the anxiety even further is the harsh financial reality of graduation delays.

The goal of this blog post is to bring more awareness to the financial costs NP students face when they delay graduation. We want you to fully understand what’s on the line.

The Costs of Delaying NP Graduation

The financial costs of failing to secure a preceptor in time to complete clinical rotations fall into three categories:

  1. Paying for additional semesters of tuition
  2. Delaying career progression and higher NP salary levels
  3. Accumulating further interest on student loans

To provide some perspective and estimates, we averaged the fees of 10 popular NP programs. Of course, different programs will vary depending on your specific coursework and the university.

Tuition Fees

The average credit per hour an NP student has to pay for their NP program is $866.72, whether actively participating in clinicals or not.

If an NP student defers rotations due to preceptor shortages, they must extend overall program enrollment to complete those hours later. This feeds more tuition dollars into the university.

Based on average part-time enrollment of 4 credit hours per semester, tuition expenses accumulate as follows:

4 credits x $866.72 per credit = $3,467 per semester

1-semester delay = $3,467 in tuition

2-semester delay = $6,934 in total tuition

3-semester delay = $10,401 in total tuition

These projections reveal how easily tuition costs multiply if students pause rotations while seeking preceptors.

More semesters = more tuition fees that hold back financially NP students

Missing Out on Career Progression

The national average NP salary is $125,000 annually. Once you get your title as NP, you’ll get a $40,000 raise. By delaying graduation timelines, students also push back access to full NP wages:

1 semester delay = $13,333 lost

2 semester delay = $26,667 lost

3 semester delay = $40,000 lost

Academic semesters span 3-4 months. By delaying graduation to seek preceptors, NP students directly defer full NP wages for those same months.

One lost semester denies graduates 3 to 4 months of income. Extending the delay to two or three semesters could result in losing 8 to 12 months of earnings, equating to $40,000+ of forfeited paychecks.

And students who must delay all three clinical rotations lose an entire year of accrued salary by graduation because they didn’t secure their preceptors in time. These lost wages then compound annually over their careers.

Interest on Student Loans

The average student loan APR is 5.8%. Interest compounds monthly on outstanding loan balances.

By deferring graduation to continue seeking preceptors, students pay extra months of interest without yet earning full NP-level income. These costs add up:

1 Semester Delay

$3,467 tuition financed by loans

4 months of interest on this balance = $67.02

2 Semesters Delay

$6,934 tuition financed by loans

8 months of interest on this balance = $134.05

3 Semesters Delay

$10,401 tuition financed by loans

12 months of interest on this balance = $201.08

With a 5.8% APR, an extra $3,000 to $10,000 in unpaid tuition balances accrues $60 – $200 worth of interest fees for each delayed semester.

Soaring interest as students have to keep paying tuition

Conclusion

After pouring your sweat and tears into NP school, it’s frustrating finding yourself stuck in this preceptor shortage and, on top of it, having to pay hefty costs:

1 Semester Delay = $16,866.02

2 Semesters Delay = $33,735.05

3 Semesters Delay = $50,602.08

As an NP student, you feel that exponential financial burden deeply. The uncertainty and stress of having to take on more financial responsibility is not fair.

Yet, there are alternatives like NPHub! We instantly connect students with vetted preceptors in minutes and handle all the heavy lifting so you can secure and book your clinicals within weeks, not months.

Be part of the 8,000+ students who have graduated on time by finding their preceptors with us! Secure your clinicals today.

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