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PARENTS: Just how much do huge loans suck?


Replies to: PARENTS: Just how much do huge loans suck?

  • ariesathenaariesathena Registered User Posts: 5,088 Senior Member
    Well, IDad, with inflation at historic lows right now... it's a bit different from the good ole days.... ;)

    I'm always a worst-case scenario person - I want to know if I could survive my loan repayment on what I earn when I graduate. Just me and my quirk. If I then earn more and loans eat up less of my paycheck - yay! If not, then I'm not expecting life to be miraculously easy several years down the road.
  • LakeWashingtonLakeWashington Registered User Posts: 9,315 Senior Member
    You've gotten good advice from nearly everyone in this post. For my two bits, I'll concur that if you go into teaching or a government (non-research) job, your pedigree may not be critical. That's not a knock on teachers or government employees, but truth is that many folks who are hired in those arenas don't come with whopping debts from elite graduate schools.

    I like the idea of choosing your local run-of-the-mill state Phd program if a top school does not offer your adequate funding. After admission, work your fingers to the bone. As was stated, admission to most Phd programs is quite competive and from your stated stats, premier programs will easily find the deficiencies in your preparation as justification for rejection or non-funding. More likely, you will face the former rather than the latter.
  • fullfreightyfullfreighty Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Wow. This thread exploded while I wasn't paying attention.
    poetsheart: How does one proceed to graduate school if one "never really finished" his undergraduate degree?
    I will have (I am heading into my senior year now). Are you asking because you thought I hadn't, or because you're wondering this for yourself? I don't think you can.
    "Middle to the bottom of the class" is not PHD. territory in sciences.
    I'm aware of that concern. On the other hand, I'd like to think that it's partially a small-fish, big-pond thing -- being in the middle to bottom of a highly selective school is different from being in the middle to bottom of a large and not-very-selective state school. Additionally, I have done quite well with the research experiences I have had, so I'm going to give it a shot. If a college doesn't think I'm PhD material, they can not admit me. I doubt I'll come out without any options. My question was about finances, not about whether or not I should go to grad school.
    You mentioned three years at a top law school
    Sorry, not interested in law for myself. I was just citing how some of my (mostly non-science) friends are thinking about their loan costs. As finaid for law is very limited, most of them are in the same financial situation I'd be if I got into a top grad school without funding. But thanks for the advice; it does apply to both.

    Thanks everyone for the excellent advice.
  • newmassdadnewmassdad Registered User Posts: 3,848 Senior Member

    You've gotten a lot of advice here. If you're at a top tier school like you imply, use the professional advising resources such schools offer. And, talk to department members in your area of interest. They will give you a far more realistic appraisal of your options than we can with so little information.

    Another hint: If your lab work was so great, the lab head will be willing to go to bat for you. Your best shot is to use that resources to the max. If you find the going difficult, there is a message to be heard.

    Keep in mind that many grad school slots in the sciences are filled through personal connections - someone at your undergrad school thinks enough of you to pick up the phone (or send a long email) to someone at another school. Since grad school admissions are in general departmentally based, this system can be powerful. If you cannot tap into it, you will know where you stand.
  • fullfreightyfullfreighty Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Of course I'm going to ask many more people than just CC, but I wanted to get a wide range of opinions fast, and put some options in the running that I hadn't thought of, and this thread did just that. Thanks again, everybody.
  • spikemomspikemom Registered User Posts: 685 Member
    People have given you a lot of good advice here about PhD programs, etc. But no one has answered your question - do college loans suck?? Yes, they really do. They can be a serious impediment to doing other things that will be important to you, such as buying a house, decent car and car insurance,marriage and kids, etc. ANd you need to pay for grad school (or some part of it).Unless you feel pretty certain you will make GOOD money when you finish school, be very careful about taking out too many loans. They can crush you.
  • aroundthecorneraroundthecorner Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    I just skimmed the responses, but I thought I'd like to say that some colleges have a "5th year free program." I know Clark University does, where after 4 years there, you can receive a Master's for free. :D It was named one of the Hottest Research schools too.

    There are programs like that, and combo programs too that you can look into to save some money. I'd also look into scholarships, like now. Local ones especially.
  • lkf725lkf725 Registered User Posts: 4,781 Senior Member
    Yes, they do suck. Big time. I think that the college loans were a big factor that kept us from getting off to a good start in adulthood, and ultimately from achieving our financial goals. Part of the problem is that you need to repay your loans just when you want to buy a home, buy a car, get married, have children, etc. And your first job income may not be enough to support all of these simultaneous needs. Behind the eight ball is definitely no place you want to be.
  • quiltguruquiltguru Registered User Posts: 1,476 Senior Member
    aroundthecorner, Wesleyan has a similar program in some of the sciences. 5th year free to get a master's.
  • TutuTaxiTutuTaxi Registered User Posts: 1,531 Senior Member
    fullfreighty - If I’m reading your original post correctly, you are only giving yourself 2 options: the “big name big bucks” grad school or the no name pay-as-you-go grad school. Would it be detrimental to your future career if you took one or two years off, got a job and saved your money? IMHO, I suggest you move back home and seek a science teaching position at a private middle or high school. I’m not sure a public school would allow you to teach without a teaching certificate. Taking a year or two off would give you time to show growth and maturity as well as save money for the prestigious high priced graduate school.
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