Dealing with student loans - examples? Help?

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    Apr 07, 2009 2:26 PM GMT
    I'm at a cross roads: Got into a masters program ... but I didn't get the Teacher's Assistantship I desperately wanted. That would've paid for my tuition plus a $16,000 stipend. Now? $6500 a year to work part-time for the school.

    I'm a bit scared: School is in DC, which will make everything more expensive. If I work about 20-25 hours a week? I'll still exit with $20k debt after two years.

    So the question: How have you guys dealt with student-loan debt? Success? Failure? I was lucky enough not to have to worry about this with undergrad, I have great credit and just got debt free, but I don't have a ton of cash to take with to school.

    Any advice would help. Thanks all!
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    Apr 07, 2009 3:08 PM GMT
    why don't you work first, save some (or try some other schools/fellowships/etc) then go back to school?
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    Apr 07, 2009 3:18 PM GMT
    well, you have to know what your goals are. Do you want to hold off of school for a few years or just get your degree right now? Well either way, tuition usually increases more than inflation does. My advice is that if you do go to school right now, dont take out any private loans. I had a friend who was force to take out a private loan and is paying it back on 13% interest. Make sure you get a federal student aid. I went to college and got two bachelors and one masters, My total student loans came out to $40,000, but it was worth it. I was lucky and got my students loans financed at a low rate, I only pay 2% on them now. I make more than $8,000 more in my current job with my masters than i would if i just had my bachelors. In the long run, its worth getting a higher degree. Good Luck on whatever you decide to do.
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    Apr 07, 2009 3:23 PM GMT
    Is this for an education Master's degree? If so, are you currently certified to teach and have you done it a while?

    If this is for some other degree, will this help further your career or is it an MFA in performance art (I made Key Lime Pie with LEMONS! Don't you get it?)? 20k is not a lot of debt if this will make you more money down the road. In a job market saturated with BA's a MA could easily tack on extra cash in the short term and better opportunities in the long term.

    And I don't think you should defer education. You are young and relatively unfettered I am guessing. Imagine how impossible doing this will be with a full time career, a mortgage, a dozen babies, or what ever you want to do with your life. Now is the time.
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    Apr 07, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    Hey all --

    Thanks for the input. This is for my masters in media and public affairs. Helps put me on a track to eventually teach. I really don't want to wait any longer - like Munching said, this is the time: I've got no mortgage, no debt (currently), no car payment, no family, nothing. Tuition went up about a $1k this last year, and I'm sure it will continue in the future.

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    Apr 07, 2009 3:53 PM GMT
    Education debt is 'healthy' debt. As long as you don't default it will help your FICO and your credit profile down the road (this is from my accountant, not something I just made up) School rules!
  • boilerup_82

    Posts: 188

    Apr 07, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    if really want this MA, just do it and don't worry about being (ending up) in debt. It's easier said than done but do not let money stop you from your goals.

    I'm assuming the loans you will get for this will be students loans, if so, students loans are the best loans out there, i think. they are so flexible when it comes to repayment and their interest rates are lower than one you'd get through a bank or lender.

    lastly, i'm sure you have done this but you should try looking for other grants that apply to you. You'll be surprised how much free money is out there. Or how about talking to professors in your program about possibly funding your studies and in turn you do research with them. Or talk/email your advisor and tell him/her that you are looking for funding and they could help you out. When I applied for my masters, I found out had no funding, and being out of state, it meant i'd had to pay 10K per semester. I emailed my advisor and within days he nominated me for a fellowship, unfortunately I did not get it, but a few days letter he offered me a TA fellowship which took care of my tuition (all of it) and it gave me a stipend.

    so yeah, i hope this advice helps.


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    Apr 07, 2009 4:21 PM GMT
    I'm in the same shitty situation turtle. I have racked up a whopping $50,000 debt in graduate studies costs. I'm working on a way to pay it off but haven't come up with anything yet. Maybe I'll invest and in 10 years will have a fortune when the market bounces back.
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    Apr 07, 2009 4:32 PM GMT
    My school bill is over $20,000. I really don't see how I can pay it off in my lifetime.
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    Apr 07, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
    Undergrad and law school 140K in debt. welcome to the real world.
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    Apr 07, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    Hey Boiler --

    Been trying to find alternative scholarship/funding opportunities. Problem I've found is, because I'm 31 and a grad student, so many opportunities that would normally be available now aren't. That's the most frustrating part about this whole search - all the lost opportunties.

    Yes, the loans will all be student loans - will take out the maximum for both subsidized and unsubsidized.



    boilerup_82 saidif really want this MA, just do it and don't worry about being (ending up) in debt. It's easier said than done but do not let money stop you from your goals.

    I'm assuming the loans you will get for this will be students loans, if so, students loans are the best loans out there, i think. they are so flexible when it comes to repayment and their interest rates are lower than one you'd get through a bank or lender.

    lastly, i'm sure you have done this but you should try looking for other grants that apply to you. You'll be surprised how much free money is out there. Or how about talking to professors in your program about possibly funding your studies and in turn you do research with them. Or talk/email your advisor and tell him/her that you are looking for funding and they could help you out. When I applied for my masters, I found out had no funding, and being out of state, it meant i'd had to pay 10K per semester. I emailed my advisor and within days he nominated me for a fellowship, unfortunately I did not get it, but a few days letter he offered me a TA fellowship which took care of my tuition (all of it) and it gave me a stipend.

    so yeah, i hope this advice helps.


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    Apr 07, 2009 7:05 PM GMT
    turtlesarecool saidI'm at a cross roads: Got into a masters program ... but I didn't get the Teacher's Assistantship I desperately wanted. That would've paid for my tuition plus a $16,000 stipend. Now? $6500 a year to work part-time for the school.

    I'm a bit scared: School is in DC, which will make everything more expensive. If I work about 20-25 hours a week? I'll still exit with $20k debt after two years.

    So the question: How have you guys dealt with student-loan debt? Success? Failure? I was lucky enough not to have to worry about this with undergrad, I have great credit and just got debt free, but I don't have a ton of cash to take with to school.

    Any advice would help. Thanks all!


    20K really is a light educational debt, by most folks standards, I think.

    With the economy soft, staying in academia may be a smoother ride than out in the real world.

    However, sometimes a MA matters not. It depends on the field you're in and how that occupation is headed.

    I've seen MBAs park cars for a living, and love it.

    I've seen high school drop outs make millions, repeatedly.

    Education has a point of diminishing returns with regard to employment.

    Education can open doors.

    You have to decide what YOU want and just plunge ahead. Walk into, through, and beyond your comfort levels.
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    Apr 07, 2009 7:08 PM GMT
    growingbig saidMy school bill is over $20,000. I really don't see how I can pay it off in my lifetime.


    Heh, I wish mine were that low. I've been digging a huge hole of debt for school, it's pretty far above that, and I've got another year left.

    I've decided to stick to my undergraduate degree and start a career first. I'll let another company pay for my master's. At that point, I feel it benefits them just as much (if not more) than it does me, so why not let them take the bill?
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    Apr 07, 2009 7:13 PM GMT
    turtlesarecool saidI
    I'm a bit scared: School is in DC, which will make everything more expensive. If I work about 20-25 hours a week? I'll still exit with $20k debt after two years.


    How much will this advance your career short-term? Would you be able to pick up a teaching job full-time, and take classes part-time? Do you have any type of offers that will guarantee you a better pay rate after graduation, or will you still have to start out on an entry-level pay scale?

    If you work out the budget and will be able to pay off your loans in 4 years ($5k / year isn't asking much) much easier after getting your master's, I think you should go for it.
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Apr 07, 2009 7:17 PM GMT
    Go for it! $20k is really not that much.I worked my way through school without any debt but I'm sure my situation was different. It is people that end up with over $100k in loans with an arts degree that I wonder about. ;)
  • metta

    Posts: 39107

    Apr 07, 2009 7:19 PM GMT
    growingbig saidMy school bill is over $20,000. I really don't see how I can pay it off in my lifetime.


    That is less than the average price of a car. Look at it as an extra car payment for 4 or 5 years wihtout any insurance or upkeep costs and your done.
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    Apr 07, 2009 7:30 PM GMT
    ask to combine as many loans as possible.

    Pay extra on the ones with the highest interest

    Ask for decreased payments per month
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    Apr 07, 2009 8:38 PM GMT
    I took out almost nothing for my bachelor's degree ( in education/teaching). Pretty much worked through college to pay off that education. I went back for my grad degree in a non-teaching field (linguistics) that would open up my job prospects. ( I went to school and lived in DC and understand the high cost of the city). I worked part time as you said you did. I did the college loan thing for my grad because I did not have to do it for my bachelors. So it depends on the total end cost you will owe between your ba and ma degrees.

    That( along with leaving the teaching field) increased my salary by about 10,000 a year and it allowed me to finally afford a home. Now no matter what happens in a bad recession etc. I have about 3 or 4 different careers I can tap into at a moment's notice. In addition, the master's degree( along with certifications I attained along the way) , allows me to do freelance work alongside my fulltime ,benefits job. So whenever I chose I can get extra income.

    It depends on what you are going to do and what the degree will allow you to do after you finish it.

    For me, It opened many doors incomewise and careerwise.

  • cesarin03

    Posts: 38

    Apr 07, 2009 9:26 PM GMT
    depending if you have school debt from your undergrad. I only had about 15K in debt from undergrad getting a BS in mechanical engineering. after a year of work, i got my masters in civil engineering, and ended up doubling my debt.

    The government has lots of repayment options, and out of all the creditors out there. they are lenient on forebearance, and payment options. I'm on graduated, which is based on income. Make sure the loans you take out are actually through the government even if they are stafford unsubsidized, none of this sally mae crap.

    Good luck!!!
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    Apr 07, 2009 10:42 PM GMT
    That's interesting you say Sallie Mae - a lot of schools recommend it. What's the story there?
  • cesarin03

    Posts: 38

    Apr 08, 2009 3:45 AM GMT
    turtlesarecool saidThat's interesting you say Sallie Mae - a lot of schools recommend it. What's the story there?


    alot of the sally mae loans require you to pay back loans while you are in school. which is pointless, you are poor when you are in school mostly (at least i was). Government loans are good cause you pay back about 6 or 9 months (Depending on loan) after you graduate.

    a cousin of mine did it and it was tough.
  • boilerup_82

    Posts: 188

    Apr 08, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    turtlesarecool saidThat's interesting you say Sallie Mae - a lot of schools recommend it. What's the story there?


    I would not get Sallie Mae. Try to get only Federal Student Loans.
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    Apr 09, 2009 2:21 PM GMT
    boilerup_82 said
    turtlesarecool saidThat's interesting you say Sallie Mae - a lot of schools recommend it. What's the story there?


    I would not get Sallie Mae. Try to get only Federal Student Loans.


    Hmm. That's something i'll have to investigate further.
  • torontoguy222...

    Posts: 410

    Apr 09, 2009 2:31 PM GMT
    I'm using OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) to pay for my undergrad degree. The fact that I'm eligible for assistance in the first place tells you how broke I am, but in some other ways I've been very fortunate. I managed to secure various bursaries through OSAP in first year, along with a $3500 scholarship from the government, which I've had renewed for 3 years (and hopefully my 4th year as well!) based on good marks. I also was awarded a few high school graduation awards and some in-course awards at the U of T, which really helped a lot. On top of that, I've been working part time over the years, earning under 10K, with a big chunk of that being earned over the summer. I'll be entering my 4th and final year of undergrad next year and I, miraculously, I don't think I'll be in any severe debt. I've also been a frugal spender, and have invested any surplus money in ING. In the end, it looks like I might break even in the end.

    That's how my story goes. I'll hopefully be pursuing a Masters next year, which could be a much more dire situation, haha.

    I wish you all the best! Work work work!
    Tony
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    Apr 09, 2009 2:36 PM GMT
    20k may seem like a lot, but for some people, that is one year of school. When all is said and done I'll be about 80k in debt for my undergrad, masters, and doctorate combined. That is with assistantships, while working full time, and only taking out loans for tuition, not housing or any of the other expenses. I share this to say that an education can be pricey, and the amount intimidating, but you are actually getting a really good discount. I have friends that paid 80k just for their masters, so yeah, you got a deal.