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I Just Graduated From Nursing School Without a Diploma. How Do I Get a Job? – Noname

“Dear Steve,

I just graduated from Nursing school and I owe the school $40,000 (not student loans). They were nice enough to allow me enroll in classes so I can graduate but now I do not have a transcript or diploma.

I would like to pay back the debt as soon as I get a job but how do I go about applying for/ and securing a job without official documents from the school supporting my claim.


Dear Noname,

Beats me. The transcript and diploma are the collateral of the school and they won’t release them until you pay for the services rendered. You could go out and get a loan for $40,000 to pay the school and then you’d get what you want.

Unless you come up with the money to payoff the school they were simply nice enough to let you waste your time earning a diploma and credentials you will never receive.

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Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • A few thoughts if you’re unable to get loans to pay the school:

    1) My college had a way for people who were enrolled to visit their unofficial transcript–a list of classes + grades. It was a way to help you plan your track to graduation. If you can still access this, print it. It may not be official, but it’s something.

    2) Contact a few professors you got good grades from and whom you’ve talked with outside class. Explain your difficulty and that you’d like to use them as references.

    Contact the school itself and ask whether or not the registrar will be willing to verify the specifics of your situation, that you have a) completed all your courses and earned a diploma but b) you owe the school money and the school is not releasing the actual paperwork.

    3) When applying to jobs, explain your situation, give the professors as references along with a copy of the unofficial transcript. Give them the registrar’s contact info if you can get them to vouch. Explain that the issue is not academic, but financial.

    Since most young nurses have student loans, your debt will not be unusual–though owing the school directly will be. And since the employer shouldn’t see the debt as a mark against you because it’s pretty much universal in new nurses, they may be willing to work with you.

    I don’t know how many hospitals or other places will be on board with this (it may be more likely to work in a smaller office), but it’s worth a shot since you’ve got $40k to repay.

    Best of luck!

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