For love or money: is my debt too much?

<p>Hey all! I'm currently attending an incredibly (we're talking top 5 here) expensive east coast university. However, my financial aid package is amazing. While I'll be maxing out my federal loan options (estimating a debt of around $30,000 upon completion), I'm curious - is this too much? I haven't pinpointed an exact major yet (rising sophomore leaning in the human services/psychology direction), but don't know if I should transfer over to the business school in order to offset the debt I'm going to inevitably incur, or choose a major that I love, but one that does not necessarily lead to a high starting salary. (And for those who might ask why I chose not to attend a state university and THEN choose a "softer" major - my Stafford loans would most likely be the same as said expensive U.)</p>

<p>Basics:</p>

<p>*Going to expensive school, $30k in Stafford loans upon completion
*Should I transfer to the Business school to offset this?
*Conversely, should I pursue a "softer" major that I would find more enjoyment in, however receive a lower starting salary?</p>

<p>What's the debt cut-off for choosing a major you would enjoy over one that would yield the best returns? :D</p>

<p>You don't have to major in business to apply for "business jobs."</p>

<p>A good rule of thumb is to take out no more than how much you estimate your yearly pay for your first year out in any field. Even in softer majors you will earn about 30k at least so I say you're covered. Government loans are much more forgiving than private ones. Also, what is life if you are not doing what you love. Go for love, the risk of 30k in government debts won't choke you. Get workstudy in your field to cut down on future debts and have a paid internship over the summers in that field to both gain experience and to get a little $.
In your case, you really can have both. You're facing a $245 a month loan payment for 10 years I estimate.</p>

<p>As for me, I'm facing 80k in potential loans...consider yourself very blessed. I envy your situation. Go for it!</p>

<p>My bad, it's a bit more like $330 a month for your stafford. I accidentally estimated my own!</p>

<p>Your loans are not that much for 4 years, esp if you're going to a really good school.</p>

<p>I agree that the Stafford loan limits are a good upper-range guide for undergrads. If possible, try to pay some/all of the interest accumulating on your unsubsidized Staffords on a monthly/quarterly basis (it's around $6/month/thousand borrowed) so they don't start snowballing before you graduate. If you are leaning toward fields like human services which generally have low starting salaries, you may want to look into the terms of federal repayment plans such as Income Based Repayment, Income Contingent Repayment, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. But psych majors can transition fairly easily into business settings (think HR/labor relations, particularly) and, with a few extra courses or a grad degree (hopefully on your employers dime) are sometimes preferred hires.</p>

<p>Here's a link for checking loan balances, interest, and making payments on Direct loans:
<a href="https://www.dl.ed.gov/borrower/BorrowerWelcomePage.jsp%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://www.dl.ed.gov/borrower/BorrowerWelcomePage.jsp&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Quick overview of repayment options and calculators:
<a href="http://www.direct.ed.gov/RepayCalc/dlindex2.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.direct.ed.gov/RepayCalc/dlindex2.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Please..major in something YOU want to do. Don't switch to business unless it's what YOU want to do.</p>

<p>I would also suggest sticking with what you really enjoy as your major, but can you look into a minor or double major in a field that you think is more lucrative?</p>

<p>Have you made a trip to the placement office at your college? Maybe if you look into potential jobs in your major and in areas where you might minor, that would help give you some direction.</p>

<p>I think you're wise to try and find a balance between what you really enjoy while still allowing yourself something to fall back on if you need it.</p>

<p>Best wishes.</p>

<p>Your loan amounts are reasonable.</p>

<p>eelrollsushi: As for me, I'm facing 80k in potential loans..</p>

<p>That is not a good idea. What are your other options? That kind of debt can ruin your life.</p>

<p>I agree that kind of debt will ruin my life. I am halfway through Carnegie Mellon with an excellent GPA. My idea was to take a leave of absence to work and apply to an excellent school in my field in the fall bringing me to 30k loans max as well. </p>

<p>I only have 11k in stafford loans as of this moment. I thought of taking a year or two off to make enough money to finish with more reasonable loans, but the idea of transferring is looking better and better. </p>

<p>Any suggestions? I would love to hear any advice.</p>

<p>I keep seeing numbers (and agreeing with them) that 10% of the total four-year costs in loan debt is reasonable. If that's what it takes to get a college degree, it should be well worth it in the long run. At least in normal economic times. :(</p>

<p>I still think the Stafford and Perkins max amounts (I think around $30k total for undergrad) is the MOST anyone should borrow for undergrad.</p>

<p>And, if your future profession is likely low-paying in the early years (like art, music, teaching, etc), then maybe only $20k at most. </p>

<p>*10% of the total four-year costs in loan debt is reasonable. *</p>

<p>While that might be a good guideline for those going to private schools, it's too low for those going to state schools.</p>

<p>Many instate COAs are about $15k per year....so about $60k for the entire undergrad. It's not enough for many kids to only borrow $6k total (about $1500 per year)</p>