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Do you have a game plan for paying off your loans (especially if you're at an expensive school)?


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I know that the best advice is to go with the cheapest school, which is UW-Milwaukee in my case. I also got accepted to Northwestern. I probably would have accepted at Northwestern already, if it weren't for the fact that tuition is so high. I'm leaning towards UWM right now. My only hesitation is that I grew up in Milwaukee. I'd like to return to southeastern Wisconsin after graduate school, since my family and longtime friends (and my sports teams) live in the area. Being near Chicago at Northwestern sounds like a great experience. It also seems like they also have a lot of interesting clinical and research opportunities. I'm still strongly considering Northwestern because of this.

For those of you who have chosen more expensive programs, how do you plan on paying back loans? Are you working during your programs? Moving back home after graduation to save money? I'd go to Northwestern in a heartbeat, but I don't want to be under a huge amount of debt for 10+ years. How are those of you attending expensive programs swinging it?

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My plan is to choose the income-based repayment plan, pray that Public Service Loan Forgiveness isn't abolished like Trump and Betsy DeVos want, and get jobs in schools so that hopefully the remainder of the debt can be forgiven in 10 years! Or that someone truly enlightened will become president and forgive student loan debt. I can dream, right? Seriously, everyone, YOUR VOTE MATTERS!

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Hi so I’m actually a current AuD student so I thought I could shed a bit of light onto paying loans off and figuring out maybe how expensive could be too expensive/crippling debt. 
The first thing to consider I think is your undergrad debt. When thinking of paying off loans you NEED to consider how much you have taken out in undergrad loans. I personally, risked it for cost for my AuD program and I have lucked out with not taking out too much. But I also have undergrad debt. I have heard a rule of thumb is don’t take out more than your starting salary. 
My significant other currently makes a tad less then the average starting salary for an AuD or SLP and he pays $1000/month in loans (by choice) and we are still able to go out to dinner/do things for fun. So I think the real question with loans is what is your lifestyle like? Can you live like a grad student years after you’ve graduated to pay off those loans. 
I too hope for PSLF or total student loans repayment BUT I also took out loans in an amount that will be manageable to pay back in 5-10 years just in case those programs disappear or don’t pass. 

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Make sure that you have federal loans from the government and not just private loans (Sallie Mae). Private loans cannot be forgiven and typically don't have the option for income based repayment. 

If you have private loans like me, I'd suggest refinancing with a low interest rate and then paying the highest monthly payment you can afford once you graduate grad school.

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I am in the same boat. I also was accepted to Northwestern and would go there in a heartbeat if tuition wasn't so ridiculous. I've reached out to several SLPs who've attended other cheaper but still top-ranked schools (IU, Wisconsin-Madison, etc.) to hear what they have to say. One of them actually works at a hospital and her job is to hire recently graduated SLP students for their CF. She said that she would never hire someone just because they went to Northwestern over someone who went to another reputable program that's ranked a little lower. She also said that she knows several people who attended Northwestern and are now regretting it because they have such a ridiculous amount of debt to pay off. I've also heard people say that Northwestern has a bit colder/more intense of a feel than some other programs, and that it is very rigorous and much more fast-paced because of the quarter system. It's always good to take everything with a grain of salt though - I personally think Northwestern's program seems absolutely amazing! Talking to all these people in the field made me feel so much better about possibly choosing another cheaper program over Northwestern. I will likely decline my offer unless I were to by some chance receive a scholarship, and I feel like that's the best choice for me.

That being being said, paying off debt is of course possible and lots of people do it. If you are sure that going to Northwestern and getting to experience Chicago would definitely make you that much happier than attending another school, then maybe it's worth it for you! You just have to weigh how much that all matters to you I guess. I just don't think it's a good idea for people to go into that much debt just because they think they will automatically get a better job from attending a program with such a good name. From everyone I've talked to, that's simply not true. Remember that at the end of the day it's really what you make of it and you will be so successful regardless of which program you choose! :) 

Regardless of where I go, I'm planning on babysitting on the weekends or finding some other part-time work on the side to off-set at least some of the costs. Also I second what was said above -- federal loans from the gov are a must!!

Edited by SLPfall2020
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I am glad you started this topic because i am between schools too. one is more expensive than the other but i prefer the location of the second school. I will most likely choose the cheaper school because i have grown up with a family who does not have much and i want to be able to pay off my loans quickly and enjoy life after school. I went to a good undergrad for my area so i know sometimes a "name" can help get jobs, but i also know the way you interview matters a lot too. you should see if any companies near Northwestern have an association with them so you get discounted tuition or get a job that pays for some of your tuition. when i was going to do ABA i found a company that had a partnership with a college in boston (can't remember which one) and the tuition was very discounted and admissions was a bit easier because of that partnership. I've been looking for scholarships too and you should see if your state has any. I',m reading through studentaid.gov right now and they have scholarship information. I'm looking to work while in school and live off campus after my first semester to save money. after school i'll probably live with roommates since i'm not looking to stay in my old town with my parents.

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, SLPfall2020 said:

I am in the same boat. I also was accepted to Northwestern and would go there in a heartbeat if tuition wasn't so ridiculous. I've reached out to several SLPs who've attended other cheaper but still top-ranked schools (IU, Wisconsin-Madison, etc.) to hear what they have to say. One of them actually works at a hospital and her job is to hire recently graduated SLP students for their CF. She said that she would never hire someone just because they went to Northwestern over someone who went to another reputable program that's ranked a little lower. She also said that she knows several people who attended Northwestern and are now regretting it because they have such a ridiculous amount of debt to pay off. I've also heard people say that Northwestern has a bit colder/more intense of a feel than some other programs, and that it is very rigorous and much more fast-paced because of the quarter system. It's always good to take everything with a grain of salt though - I personally think Northwestern's program seems absolutely amazing! Talking to all these people in the field made me feel so much better about possibly choosing another cheaper program over Northwestern. I will likely decline my offer unless I were to by some chance receive a scholarship, and I feel like that's the best choice for me.

That being being said, paying off debt is of course possible and lots of people do it. If you are sure that going to Northwestern and getting to experience Chicago would definitely make you that much happier than attending another school, then maybe it's worth it for you! You just have to weigh how much that all matters to you I guess. I just don't think it's a good idea for people to go into that much debt just because they think they will automatically get a better job from attending a program with such a good name. From everyone I've talked to, that's simply not true. Remember that at the end of the day it's really what you make of it and you will be so successful regardless of which program you choose! :) 

Regardless of where I go, I'm planning on babysitting on the weekends or finding some other part-time work on the side to off-set at least some of the costs. Also I second what was said above -- federal loans from the gov are a must!!

Hi, thanks for your insight! I agree that Northwestern seems amazing! One thing I like is all the electives they have to offer, and being near a major city seems like it could provide some really interesting settings for externships. The other school I was accepted to was UW-Milwaukee, which is still a good sized city and could provide me with some great opportunities. I attended an open house in November and really liked what I saw from the faculty and the clinic. I guess I just feel like I'll miss out on something if I don't go to Northwestern. I attended a Big 10 school for my undergrad (UW-Madison), and I really liked the environment there. I'm just not sure if I liked the environment enough to go $100,000 in debt. 😅

Edited by heyheyhey42
missed a word
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On 3/31/2020 at 1:25 PM, heyheyhey42 said:

Hi, thanks for your insight! I agree that Northwestern seems amazing! One thing I like is all the electives they have to offer, and being near a major city seems like it could provide some really interesting settings for externships. The other school I was accepted to was UW-Milwaukee, which is still a good sized city and could provide me with some great opportunities. I attended an open house in November and really liked what I saw from the faculty and the clinic. I guess I just feel like I'll miss out on something if I don't go to Northwestern. I attended a Big 10 school for my undergrad (UW-Madison), and I really liked the environment there. I'm just not sure if I liked the environment enough to go $100,000 in debt. 😅

Right, I feel the same way! I love their electives, and since I really want to work in a medical setting, I think their externship opportunities would be amazing. I also attended a big 10 school for undergrad, so I'm in your same position! It's so hard!!! Including cost of living/amenities the total amount I will have to take out in loans for NU will be around ~140k which I just can't figure out how to justify, especially when we won't even ever make that much as SLPs. 😕It might be helpful for you to reach out to some of those students they provided contact info for and ask them if they think the cost is worth it/if they have ever regretted turning down any cheaper options? 

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I plan on taking out the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans (~20k) for graduate school. I am getting a 3/4 tuition grant so I should be able to pay off my tuition without loans. However, housing is another beast and my parents are not rich. What is your advice for budgeting the $20k and making it last throughout grad school? 

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On 4/2/2020 at 1:14 PM, MadisonMachelle said:

I plan on taking out the Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans (~20k) for graduate school. I am getting a 3/4 tuition grant so I should be able to pay off my tuition without loans. However, housing is another beast and my parents are not rich. What is your advice for budgeting the $20k and making it last throughout grad school? 

Off campus housing is usually cheaper so 20k might be enough for both years. I’m not sure about the housing situation for your school but for mine it was like $2,500 per semester. I did pick on campus housing for at least the first year just to find my footing and less distractions. Also I’d say a small part time job should help out with minor expenses if you can. I’m hoping to work just to pay off as much as I can but with clinical hours who knows. 

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