I was accepted to UPenn and UMichgan. Everyone told me to have a backup school, but no one ever told me to consider a cheap school. After grants, UPenn will cost me around 28k a year, UMich 25k, just for tuition. Therefore up front I am looking at $60,000 in loans. With room and board (500 a month rent, 800 a month other expenses), health care (2,200 a year), and other costs, I am looking at a loan of $100,000!!!
They recommend that you not take out a loan greater than your annual income (so your loan is around 10% of your income over ten years). But at $100,000, even if I landed an ideal planning job making 50k a year, my debt would still be twice my annual income. If I made the typical $35k a year, my debt would be three times my income.
This is crippling. Debt would dock $13,000 from my after tax salary every year, turning a $35,000 salary into roughly $22,000, or $10 an hour!
And what if, God forbid, I go to planning school, get out, and either can't get a job, or get fired or layed-off from my job, thus ending my planning career? What would I do if I had to pay off my student loans worth five times my annual income, where half my income was going into debt? Then I would only have a net income of $9,000 a year, below even the minimum wage!
This is absolutely terrifying. After all this effort and education I spent to get accepted to the best planning schools in the country, to pursue a career in a field I love, these numbers makes me want to abort my planning career before it begins. It appears that a planning degree, like a culinary degree, may get you far, but is not economically justifiable. It makes me think that being a barista and debt-free would be a more satisfying career than being a planner crushed by debt.