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hejduk

Let's compare student debt! How much do you have?

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I have no debt from completing my undergrad or Masters. Every summer I worked on a drill rig for 8-12 weeks and earned enough money after taxes to support myself each year while working part time during the school year.

I have a herniated disc and bad knees from the work though, and no relevant work experience in my field (except RAships). Just a tradeoff.

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I'm at about 36K after my Masters. I was at nearly 40K after my undergrad but then worked for three years and payed off as much as I could because I hate having debts. Am taking out a student loan again during my Masters (which I have now placed in GICs) since I won't have to repay it for at least 4 years (I'm starting a PhD in the fall) or more. I plan to take student loans during my PhD if possible and also invest them so I have some extra savings when I'm done and have to pay off the huge chunk. I wish I did that with portions of my student loan in undergrad, something I am now helping my brother do. This way, a little bit of interest accrues and you didn't spend ALL the loan money. I came from a poor family so in 1st year when I got all that money even though I was working a good job, I blew it all, because they make it seem like magic money - I had never seen so much money until that point. It's so unfortunate, but much of my cohort did the same.

There's not enough financial education for students in high school and during undergrad that could help alleviate some of these problems. I bet if I was just a tiny bit more clever I wouldn't have had my loans as high as I did. Not to mention in Canada, student loans accrue DAILY once you've graduated. Not sure how it is in the USA.

Edited by raise cain

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I had about $11K from undergrad; I picked up another ~$12.5K from my PhD program, and I don't anticipate borrowing any more (I have a fellowship now and a variety of positions that should preclude that). So total I have a little less than $25K. It's all federal; the undergrad debt is unsubsidized and the grad debt is subsidized.

The money I borrowed at this PhD program was, like hejduk, to pay for moving costs and partially to subsidize my fellowship in a high COL place (although the fellowship I got for years 3-5 is more prestigious it's actually less money and is taxed higher).

As a note, the income-contingent repayment plan is actually over 25 years (10 years for public service) and the percentage of your income is based upon how much you make. It's not always a flat 15%; it can be as high as 20%. Same with income-based repayment; it's over 25 years and the percentage can range from 0% to 12.5%. And these programs are only for federal debt.

Also, this

A word of advice: If you need a loan co-signer, have it be someone who will die soon after you leave college. I'm totally serious - private loans often require a co-signer and if that co-signer dies in repayment, those loans will get forgiven.

Is not true at all. Co-signers are merely the guarantor on your loan; as the borrower, YOU are the holder of the loan and you are responsible for paying off the loan fully even if your co-signer dies.

Edited by juilletmercredi

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I hear a lot about taking public service jobs to pay off debts (teaching, I assume). The thing is that those jobs are becoming scarcer as well. In one town alone in my area, 17 teachers are getting laid off. Teachers used to be untouchable as far as being terminated, but now they no longer have that security because everyone's cutting corners to save on costs. Even if for some reason, I did change my mind and decide to teach, there is nowhere around here where I could actually work as a teacher.

Also, I'm just going by what my private loan contract and the conditions under which loan debt can be forgiven told me. One of the ways in which my private loans can be discharged is if my co-signer passes away. That may just be specific to my lender.

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Lucky for me I didn't have any student loan. My mom was clever enough to save money for my college education that paid most of my tuition fee. The only expenses I had was for my boarding house, school expenses, food, and other items I also needed while studying. My mom paid for all of it as I am so grateful for all the effort she had made in investing on my future ahead of time.

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I have no debt currently (other than a few hundred dollars on a credit card which I pay off in full), due to a number of factors. First, I live in Canada, where school is significantly cheaper than some of the schools in the States. Second, I lived at home during university, therefore saving thousands of dollars in living expenses. Third, I received an abundance of scholarships due to my academic and extra curricular performance in high school and throughout university.

Heading into my Master's I also don't plan on going into debt. I am funded and am living with my partner who works full-time and is partially subsidizing my rent. If I were to need money I think my parents would be more than happy to help me out given that they haven't had to pay a cent towards my education so far.

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I'm still an undergraduate, but I expect my total debt after my BA to be somewhere around 20k, hopefully a little less.

Assuming that I get into an acceptably funded PhD program (and that is quite a lot to assume, lol), I don't expect to accrue much more debt.

Then again, I'm seriously considering studying abroad next summer, so my debt may skyrocket in the process! wink.gif

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I was around $21k in debt after undergrad, but I've just about paid it all off after a year of working full-time post-graduation. Hopefully by Fall, I'll be close to $0, but since I quit my job so that I could enjoy my summer, I'm not sure if it's wise to try and pay off that extra $5k right now before I start seeing my monthly stipends (I have a good amount of savings and a few CDs about to mature, but I'm also expecting moving and furnishing costs in my new city to claim a lot of my cash, so I might just slowly pay off the $5k+interest throughout the first few years of my Ph.D.).

I'm expecting to have $0 debt accrued through my doctoral studies. I'm single, get free health insurance, cook for myself most of the time (though I do love eating out), and (besides first year where I'm living as close to campus as possible) housing costs are fairly reasonable if I'm flexible about where I live. If I ever end up taking money out, it'd have to be for some emergency since I've been accustomed to handling finances pretty well (even when I splurge and spoil myself with clothes, gadgets, or food, I make sure I'm living well within my means and have adequate income to justify my purchases).

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I was around $21k in debt after undergrad, but I've just about paid it all off after a year of working full-time post-graduation. Hopefully by Fall, I'll be close to $0, but since I quit my job so that I could enjoy my summer, I'm not sure if it's wise to try and pay off that extra $5k right now before I start seeing my monthly stipends (I have a good amount of savings and a few CDs about to mature, but I'm also expecting moving and furnishing costs in my new city to claim a lot of my cash, so I might just slowly pay off the $5k+interest throughout the first few years of my Ph.D.).

I'm expecting to have $0 debt accrued through my doctoral studies. I'm single, get free health insurance, cook for myself most of the time (though I do love eating out), and (besides first year where I'm living as close to campus as possible) housing costs are fairly reasonable if I'm flexible about where I live. If I ever end up taking money out, it'd have to be for some emergency since I've been accustomed to handling finances pretty well (even when I splurge and spoil myself with clothes, gadgets, or food, I make sure I'm living well within my means and have adequate income to justify my purchases).

I'm extremely impressed with your ability to pay off almost $21k in debt in a single year. You must have had a fairly decent job, and I might guess you lived with your parents? If not, even more impressive.

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I'm extremely impressed with your ability to pay off almost $21k in debt in a single year. You must have had a fairly decent job, and I might guess you lived with your parents? If not, even more impressive.

Thanks; really appreciate it! And yeah -- actually balanced two jobs: worked FT as a branding consultant and worked per-diem (which turned out to be on average 12-15 hours/week) as a research statistician that I did from home or at the office on flex-schedule (including weekends), which paid a nice wage. Also, I've been a PT professional photographer for a couple years now and last year I photographed about a wedding a month--I made anywhere from $1500-$3200 per wedding, and given my relatively fast workflow, I could process an entire shoot and design an album in 8-12 hours. Needless to say, I had a lot on my plate this past year, but it's all worked itself out.

I actually lived with a roommate (first time since freshman dorms), which helped a lot with living costs (I was used to paying around $900-$950/month for rent/utilities for a single bedroom in a shared apartment, and it was more like $500 total with a roommate).

And besides that, I was getting quite a bit of money as an undergraduate my last two years (FAFSA with very low EFC + public tuition + a couple of extraneous research grants + working 25 hours/week + photographing weddings on the side), which helped me save some money, which I then dumped towards my loans around the end of my grace period right before I started accruing interest.

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Sounds like 3 jobs to me. Impressive. I feel like rugby could be a job for me, except I don't get paid. Darn. I'm trying to pick up some tutoring, which can pay quite well. I once had a kid whose dad paid me $50/hour.

I keep wondering where all my scholarship money from undergrad went. And then I remember that I bought a car, went on a few trips, paid all my tuition and most of my extra living costs (rent, food, car insurance, car repairs were luckily covered by my parents who were oh so grateful that I won scholarships). I still have almost $10k saved away, hope I can hold onto it for a down payment for a house or something like that.

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Sounds like 3 jobs to me. Impressive. I feel like rugby could be a job for me, except I don't get paid. Darn. I'm trying to pick up some tutoring, which can pay quite well. I once had a kid whose dad paid me $50/hour.

I keep wondering where all my scholarship money from undergrad went. And then I remember that I bought a car, went on a few trips, paid all my tuition and most of my extra living costs (rent, food, car insurance, car repairs were luckily covered by my parents who were oh so grateful that I won scholarships). I still have almost $10k saved away, hope I can hold onto it for a down payment for a house or something like that.

That sounds great! $10K is a good start on a house and you still have time since the housing market is still bottoming out. I'm still unsure as to whether I'm going to try to buy a house (to rent out) during grad school or not, or if it's a little too risky a position to be in; we might never have this type of opportunity to buy houses at these mortgage rates, but at the same time, only having our stipend to cover months where we might not have tenants is extremely risky.

Anyway, yeah. Best of luck at becoming a tutor. There was a former doctoral student that is making (I believe the university newspaper calculated it a few years back) over $100k after overhead tutoring UCSD undergrads. If you can fill a high-demand service for a niche market, you can be extremely successful. You can check out Erik Kyner here: http://www.theecontutor.com/

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I'll probably need closer to $50k for a decent down payment on a house in Toronto. If I get some more external funding next year I might be able to come out of my Master's with another $10k. I would love to buy a house ASAP but realistically will probably have to wait 5 years or so.

I am listed on my university's tutor registry and got e-mailed yesterday for help with a deferred exam. I'll try to find more tutoring jobs when I move to Toronto, it's really nice to get some extra income and working pretty flexible hours. The Math and Applied Sciences Center sounds very similar to The Econ Tutor, they run exam prep sessions and weekly math tutorials for all the first and second year math, science and engineering courses.

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Heading into my Master's I also don't plan on going into debt. I am funded and am living with my partner who works full-time and is partially subsidizing my rent. If I were to need money I think my parents would be more than happy to help me out given that they haven't had to pay a cent towards my education so far.

Rent subsidies by your partner! xD That's what it looks like I'm gonna end up doing if I can't get another TA or tutoring job!

Sounds like 3 jobs to me. Impressive. I feel like rugby could be a job for me, except I don't get paid. Darn. I'm trying to pick up some tutoring, which can pay quite well. I once had a kid whose dad paid me $50/hour.

Yeah, extracurricular stuffs tends to suck away a lot of good money-earning time! But tutoring is GREAT! Especially $50/hr! I usually get around $25/hr but do tutor mostly at my own home. I graduated last fall and haven't been able to get a "job", but tutoring worked very well. Didn't have to work as much as I would have with a $10/hr job, and get to somewhat set my own hours! Have you looked into WyzAnt.com? They start out taking a good percentage, but you can find TONS of tutoring jobs on there!

I keep wondering where all my scholarship money from undergrad went. And then I remember that I bought a car, went on a few trips, paid all my tuition and most of my extra living costs (rent, food, car insurance, car repairs were luckily covered by my parents who were oh so grateful that I won scholarships). I still have almost $10k saved away, hope I can hold onto it for a down payment for a house or something like that.

How much are downpayments there? We got ours for like 3% cause it's a Federal Housing Administration loan. I plan on keeping that house forever and making some rent monies!

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Rent subsidies by your partner! xD That's what it looks like I'm gonna end up doing if I can't get another TA or tutoring job!

He was in charge of the apartment search, so I told him that max amount I could spend on rent, and that if he wanted a place that was more expensive (he's a little bit more picky than me), he'd have to pick up the extra. He's making more than double what my funding will give me, so it's pretty fair.

Yeah, extracurricular stuffs tends to suck away a lot of good money-earning time! But tutoring is GREAT! Especially $50/hr! I usually get around $25/hr but do tutor mostly at my own home. I graduated last fall and haven't been able to get a "job", but tutoring worked very well. Didn't have to work as much as I would have with a $10/hr job, and get to somewhat set my own hours! Have you looked into WyzAnt.com? They start out taking a good percentage, but you can find TONS of tutoring jobs on there!

Rugby is my life. During varsity season I have 2 hours of practice every day. Club season is only two practices a week and a game every weekend. Definitely limits my time.

I normally charge $25/hour, this dad just paid me more as an incentive to deal with his difficult child. I tried my best but this kid was so unmotivated, the only way I could've helped him is if I spent every evening with him, as he didn't feel like he needed to do work on his own. I did manage to cram several sessions with him before a big test and he did really well.

How much are downpayments there? We got ours for like 3% cause it's a Federal Housing Administration loan. I plan on keeping that house forever and making some rent monies!

And that's why your housing market crashed...haha. I'm actually not too sure, but I think it's closer to 10%. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable putting any less than 10% down anyways. I am able to borrow from my RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) for a down payment as a first-time home buyer and then I have to pay myself back over 15 years.

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I'm sitting at over $100k in student loans, almost all from my private UG. I'm so very envious of those of you without any debt but then I look at all the Harvard/Cornell/MIT MBAs I work with and think that I'm not doing so bad. :rolleyes:

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And that's why your housing market crashed...haha. I'm actually not too sure, but I think it's closer to 10%. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable putting any less than 10% down anyways. I am able to borrow from my RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) for a down payment as a first-time home buyer and then I have to pay myself back over 15 years.

If you can afford to pay a 10% down payment, but get offered 3%, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The reason the housing market failed was because of banks opening up mortgages to sub-prime debtors (i.e., people who could BARELY afford the payments).

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I currently have almost $73k plus $21k for this year. None of my programs offered any fin aid so it was all student loans, urgh. I'm hoping to receive free tuition through a state program this spring and for my last year, which will help. I'm also going into teaching in a high need area so I will hopefully qualify for loan forgiveness.

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I guess I'm really lucky that I don't have any student loans from undergrad--my parents saved up money while we were growing up to pay for my tuition and now my brother's. After I graduated, my parents gave me control of a savings account that my family and I have been putting money into over the years, so that should really help put off some of the costs of grad school. I expect to have a bit of student loan debt before I start a doctoral program, but hopefully not too much!

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I began with a little over $50K from my MA program. Thanks to a lucrative albeit soul-sucking job, I've been able to pay off over $30K since my graduation in May. My goal is to pay off the rest by December. I can't imagine having $100K in loans, especially in the field of English. I hope to start a PhD next fall, and I will never ever take out student loans again! The burden is way too much. I imagine what that $30K could have allowed me to do...like travel extensively for the next year or buy several insanely expensive and impractical pairs of shoes. Oh, the possibilities....

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Debbie Downer there is a doomsday troll. Please ignore.

I do think that I would have made some different choices if I hadn't gone to college right out of high school, but I am overall satisfied with what my education got me. I chose to go to a private school and am about $28,000 in debt, but I got out of my education exactly what I wanted - small classes, lots of attention from professors, opportunities for research and meaningful activism on campus, staff support, and nice recommendations for grad school. However, I was relatively lucky in that I knew that I would want to pursue further degrees beyond undergrad, and my particular school was good. That's what made it worth it for me, but I recognize that my situation is special.

So much about higher education is about reputation and what we are "supposed" to get out of our educations rather than reality, so I don't blame people for getting in over their heads. My sister went to a private college (before dropping out, thankfully!) which cost the same amount as mine but which was a total piece of shit school. And her debt is way too high for it. She was mistreated or ignored in almost every possible way, but how could she have known before she went there?

For the folks that have a lot of debt, I would emphasize that it doesn't mean you are in terrible straights, even though it feels like this thing is hanging over you. I think about my debt sort of like a benign health condition: I need to be able to make enough money to pay for my "medication" (loan payments), which does limit the choices I can make (for example, as long as I have my "health condition" I cannot spend money on travel). However, I don't resent or fear my debt; it is a reality of the way I will have to manage my financial life for the next few years, but I will "heal" from my condition at some point.

Beautifully said.

As for me, I have 55k after undergrad. But I'll echo what some have said: I'm happy with the experience I received. Could I have done it for a bit less money? Probably. But this is all of the education debt I plan on taking on. Tutoring and other jobs allowed me to save up some money, and all I really need to do is make payments before I can defer again.

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I had about 25k from undergrad, and had to take out 20K this year for my PHD. I unfortunately didn't get an assistanship this year, but the program i got into was the dream program for me. So i shall suck it up and deal to hopefully make it all work.

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I owe 20k from undergrad (4k is from interest! Please work to pay off your interest while you can). 20k is still a lot of money though, I'd much rather have that much money in my bank account! I am very thankful not to have to take out loans for grad school.

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