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Thread: How much debt are you going into next year?

  1. #1

    How much debt are you going into next year?

    Last fall, I posted a thread about how much debt is "worth it" for a masters in planning, which seemed to depend for most people on several factors, ranging from career goals to more personal reasons. Now that nearly everyone has heard back from their schools and (hopefully) knows where they are headed, I thought this would be an interesting thread to bring up at the end of the admission cycle.

    Did you end up choosing a pricier option? Or, did you decide to opt for a less expensive school? Maybe you lucked out and received a large scholarship?

    I ended up choosing a program that matched my interests very well and will not cost too much either. While I will be taking out a few loans (likely around 10k next year), I received a nice offer that will help offset some of those costs, so I feel fairly comfortable with my decision. The struggling economy definitely played a role in my thinking at least.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Unfortunately, I didn't didn't receive any aid other than the offer of a $20K unsubsidized loan. Fortunately, I've worked that past several years and have saved up a decent amount. So, for year 1 I've decided to forgo the loan and pay the entire tuition amount.

    I'm hoping that year 2 I'll qualify for a tier 1 grant, which is $15K. If I get that then I'll probably pay the balance and not have any debt from grad school. Of course, I won't have much in the way of savings either, which really hurts because I hadn't been savings specifically for grad school; this is a career change that wasn't in the original plan.

    If I don't get the grant then I'll probably need to take the loan for year 2.

  3. #3
    Member
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    A cautionary tale for those considering going into debt

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/yo...9money.html?hp

    Moderator note:
    C'mon mon-el, put a least a little effort into it. In future, don't simply post a link, or the post may be deleted as violating our rules.

  4. #4
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    What's more is that student loan debt sticks to you like sand in your shoe. Even if you file for bankruptcy, God forbid, it doesn't go away like credit card debt.

    What you can do to protect yourself is to make sure you are a genius. Failing that, go to a state school where tuition is cheaper. Try community college for the first two years. It's the same nonsense. It also helps to not major in philosophy or ethnic studies, unless you are a genius of course. Most of us are not.

    This generation is really screwed, though. The Baby Boomers are really the last group that could make a living with a high school diploma. Today, people with bachelor's degrees, even if their GPA is high, are applying to $10-$12 an hour jobs. And the Baby Boomers didn't have student loan debt. And if they did go to college, it was a lot less expensive.

    I admit that the current economic climate has caused myself and many others to become more cynical and hopeless for the future, and that there are better days ahead, but we may be in for some real structural changes. The 20-somethings today may actually be the first generation to not do better than the generation that came before it.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I've been hearing stuff recently about public sector employees having their student loan debt forgiven after 10 years assuming you make 120 payments. If I'm understanding it correctly, it essentially sounds like what school teachers had before but it has now has been extended to all public sector employees. The big caveat is that you must remain employed in the public sector or at an NPO for the entirety of those 10 years. To me, this sounds like a reasonable price to pay to not have to worry about student loan debt.

    As for the topic at hand. I picked the lesser known school that had excellent financial aid through plentiful departmental and public service assistantships that completely cover tuition. The program is on the smaller side and takes a more generalist practitioner oriented approach to planning but I feel I'm getting a well rounded education. It doesn't have the name that some of the other schools I got accepted to do but I didn't feel a name was worth an extra 10-15k a year.

    As for the cost, I'll be getting through graduate school with just under $30,000 in debt.

  6. #6
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    Student loan debt is the absolute best kind of debt to have. First, assuming you don't dick around and get a shit degree from a shit university, it pays for itself over and over in your lifetime. Secondly, while you may not be able to clear it in bankruptcy except under extreme conditions (yes, it is actually possible to have it cleared under certain terms), it is extremely flexible. Lose your job? File for economic hardship. Go back to school? File for deferment. Lastly, something most people don't know about the health care bill that was recently passed, student loan legislation was also passed with it. The most notable piece of legislation caps maximum monthly payments at 10% of disposable income starting in 2014, and cancels any balance remaining after 20 years of repayment.

    People buy $5,000 televisions, $40,000 cars, etc., but flinch at a $50,000 education that gives back time and time again after its completion. Perspective is a virtue.

    With that said, the interest being charged on unsubsidized federal loans is absurd. You can obtain a cheaper mortgage than you can a federal student loan, and that's just not right. Everyone benefits from an educated society, and the United States needs to fix the rising cost of education before it gets out of control.

  7. #7
    Debt is a serious issue for many students, but articles like these don't elaborate on other important details - that actually seem to be more the fault of the students themselves and not necessarily the schools or lenders. I mean, I feel bad for this student, but what did she think would happen after majoring in religious/women's studies and taking on $100K+ in loans? You don't blindly take on that much debt without researching how much of a return you can reasonably expect on such an expensive investment.

    For the most part, I feel posters on these boards have spent time weighing the costs and benefits of pursuing a masters in planning while finding ways to avoid (or minimize) a crippling level of debt upon graduation. Unfortunately, loans are a necessary evil for a lot of us to continue our education, and as it stands now, the whole system for obtaining/paying back these student loans is pretty much broken in my opinion. Soaring tuition (beyond inflation), of course, is only one part of this problem; a high cost of living can easily run you into the ground as well. Lenders are obviously an easy target to blame (and rightfully so in many cases), but I can't really imagine what goes through some students' heads when they choose to attend an expensive school in an expensive area without understanding the full costs of their decision.

    Thanks for your replies everyone.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ZDG View post
    The 20-somethings today may actually be the first generation to not do better than the generation that came before it.
    That's already the case for Generation X (the Boomers being the preceding - but not parental - generation). The statistics are a bit dizzying when looking at things like wage stagnation, zero job growth for the last decade, etc., but here is a tasty morsel to whet the appetite:

    The share of family income devoted to fixed expenses like rent has increased from 53 to 75 percent in the past two decades. Housing prices in most major metropolitan areas have risen six times faster than household incomes, and household debt has ballooned to over 130 percent of disposable income.
    20-somethings are entering an even less stable job market with fewer opportunities and a shifting set of skill sets (which we Xers also experienced when we got out of college, but it seems even worse now). The upswing for some is that their parents - Boomers - amassed the greatest amount of financial savings of any previous generation and some of that will be available to help those folks out. But obviously not everyone is in this situation. Not every Boomer made it big. And folks still need to make a living.

    But overall, this trend of shrinking income, higher living expenses and few opportunities has been happening since the mid to late 1980s and continues to pick up steam. 20 somethings will not do as well as the Boomers, but if you look at the Xers just ahead of you, you will find that we are doing much better, either. We're in the same boat, I fear, only with some seniority, the younger generation may have a harder time getting their foot in the door. But few of us will make it big and most of us will live a more frugal life than we grew up with. I know I do.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I just got my financial aid package from Ohio StateŚlooks like all loans this coming year, unless they do end up providing stipends for internship program participants. Yikes! I'm kind of terrified, but at the same time I have ~15k in loans from undergrad (all federal, all subsidized except one), and then I can begin the residency process as soon as I move so at least my second year I can hopefully obtain in-state tuition and fees.

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