BSN Students Graduate With Low Debt, High Incomes

Arvin Temkar, SMU News

Samuel Merritt University Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) alumni are among the best-prepared graduates to repay student loans and land jobs with higher salaries, according to rankings by Credible, a website that aims to help borrowers make good financial decisions. 

SMU ranked third in debt-to-income ratio (DTI) among 114 colleges and universities analyzed in California. 

SMU BSN graduates make a median income of $100,100 six years after graduation, according Credible, which used data collected by the U.S. Department of Education for the rankings. Their median federal debt upon graduation is $18,750. Their DTI, as measured by their debt divided by their income, calculates to 0.19 compared to the California average of 0.60. (The lower the DTI ratio, the better.)

“Our students enter the University with a health professions career in mind,” says Timothy Cranford, SMU’s acting vice president for student affairs. “Those careers are high paying, and they’re high paying immediately.” 

Not only do SMU graduates have the benefit of entering well-paid fields, but the university helps them avoid and reduce debt by prioritizing financial support for students—particularly students from marginalized backgrounds. One of SMU’s missions is to increase the diversity of the healthcare workforce.

“We devote a lot of institutional funds to students in the form of scholarships,” Cranford says. “Last academic year we gave just under $2.7 million in institutional aid. Of that, about 87 percent went to students of color.” 

About 92 percent of BSN student receive some form of financial aid, some as much as $16,000 a year based on need and other factors.

Stellar graduation rates

Cranford notes that most of the schools in Credible’s analysis are four-year institutions, while Samuel Merritt’s BSN in nursing is a two-year program—with students having already completed their initial requirements at another institution. This could be one reason that SMU has such a high graduation rate–91 percent. 

“These are students who have proven they can succeed in college,” Cranford says. “They are driven, committed students who know what they’re up for. Whenever we’re compared to other institutions, we have an advantage because of who our students are.”

SMU students aren’t left on their own though. The university offers student success coordinators and tutoring support to help students push to the finish line. 

“We’re lucky to have the students we do,” says Cranford. “They leave SMU as excellent representatives and ready to make a major difference in peoples’ lives.” 

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