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How much debt is worth it?

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Replies to: How much debt is worth it?

  • cougar23cougar23 Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    My parents are paying $100,000 for my education between savings and loans. They are fiscally responsible people and are handling that separately from me. I personally would owe Brown $55,000-60,000. If I were to go into IB, would this be reasonable?

    Most responses have been about my parents but they have their end under control.
  • BrownAlumParentBrownAlumParent Registered User Posts: 661 Member
    I think this is actually reasonable if this is the loan that you will be assuming, and are:
    1. not expecting to get out and live high on the hog. If you are prudent, loan payments should be manageable.
    2. qualify for a relatively low interest loan.
    3. Work hard. I know that sounds obvious, but too many students think they are going to end up in some fab job, and then don't apply themselves etc. and downslide into less productive futures. (not to disparage wonderful careers such as teaching etc, but teaching middle school PE somewhere is not going to make those loans reasonable. Unless you structure your goals to qualify for a loan forgiveness program, which even if planning to go into IB is not necessarily a bad option)
    4. Work hard also in terms of finding jobs in summer, and reasonable hours of ones during the school year, hopefully at good pay rates. The more you can earn now, the less loan money you will need. Back long ago, I was fortunate to be an "ahead of the curve computer nerd" and leveraged that into summer jobs that paid 5-10x per hour what my friends made. I would trade payment of plane tickets home for holidays for babysitting for rich families for their vacations. And I actually liked my easy Brown jobs. My total personal college debt was about that amount (not adjusted for inflation but in real 1980's $ ) (including grad school) and it was very manageable. By living frugally (no credit card debt, cheap very old cars etc.) I actually paid it off early.
    But, it all comes down to what is important to you, and this is just my opinion. If you are still very conflicted, maybe you and your parents could figure out if you have a close family friend, relative who is financially savvy who you can get some words of personal wisdom from, with knowing the family and personal situation better.
    One other thought: each year is just that. If this feels like the wrong decision after a year, etc, I would imagine it would be easier to transfer back to state school, or take a year off to work etc. from Brown, than have regrets the other direction.
  • fireandrainfireandrain Registered User Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    I personally would owe Brown $55,000-60,000. If I were to go into IB, would this be reasonable?

    Did you do the exercise I suggested in post #11? If not, you are going into debt with your eyes shut -- which is incredibly stupid and foolish. Anyone who can get into Brown should be able to do the research to figure this out.

    What if you hate economics/IB banking? What if you fall in love with art history (trust me, this happens). What if you don't get that IB job (and yes, this happens too).

    And YOU can't take out $60,000 in loans. You can take out the federal maximum, which is around $25,000. Your parents have to cosign for the rest. They are ultimately responsible if you can't pay.

    ETA: I usually agree with BrownAlumParent, but on this issue I don't. I think $60,000+ is too much debt for a 22-year-old to shoulder. Do a google search and read up on all the stories of college graduates drowning in debt and how it's ruined their lives.
  • cougar23cougar23 Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    Thank you for all of the responses.

    Today, my family received news on our Financial Aid appeal. As it turns out, I'll graduate with (at most) $44,000. That was our worst-case estimate, so I'm hoping we can find ways to bring the total down to the mid-30s. Would you consider is this a more reasonable amount?

    Also, @BrownAlumParent: Thankfully my freshman year will be debt-free. If I find out that Brown isn't worth what I thought it was, I can always transfer to Michigan. Year one will be a "test-drive" of sorts.
  • Nature64Nature64 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    If you plan on earning a Masters or PhD, I say it's not worth it. One should only go into so much debt if they do not plan on going to Graduate school, Law School, Med school, etc. However, if you do not plan on doing anything that I have mention above, go for it.
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