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He definitely makes more than I do! And we've discussed the possibility of my turning into a mooching academic for awhile in order to keep living expense loans at an absolute minimum. We've got it figured out. :)

 

Whoops! I totally posted in the wrong forum... Leave it to me to access GC clandestinely on my iPad during a meeting at work. Good luck to you guys -- Seattle is a great place! My uncle did his PhD in English at UW and loved it.

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Whoops! I totally posted in the wrong forum... Leave it to me to access GC clandestinely on my iPad during a meeting at work. Good luck to you guys -- Seattle is a great place! My uncle did his PhD in English at UW and loved it.

Haha, no worries. Thank you so much! We're in the process of booking a trip out to visit in a month or so... I can't wait. It's great to hear that your uncle had a good experience.

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Listen, guys, it's not that I don't appreciate the advice. I do. And I don't want this to come off the wrong way, but honestly, I didn't start this thread so I could get a bunch of people telling me to change my decision. I'm well aware that the prevailing opinion on this board is against unfunded MA degrees. I respect that opinion, I understand it, and this is a decision that I've wrestled with heavily. However, none (or at least very few) of us have any real sense of each other's real life circumstances, and none of us are in a position to dictate what is or is not right for each other.

I did not start this thread asking for opinions as to whether or not I should attend an MA/PhD program with one unfunded year. I started it because I was interested in the experiences of those here who have gone through a similar process and may have some anecdotes or insights about taking out loans to share.

Again, I respect your opinions and appreciate the advice but it is not necessary at this point. Please take it elsewhere.

Fair enough. Sorry we took this as an opportunity to criticize your decision... As far as loans go, the only advice I would give is yes, by all means, avoid private loans. If something happens where you cannot pay government loans, there are always things you can do. You'll be paying them off forever, but, honestly, it's not the end of the world. However, private loans can really, really mess up your financial life. And that's no exaggeration. It's really nothing short of a scam and, frankly, I'm sometimes surprised that it's legal. I've never had any experience with PLUS loans, but I guess you'll have to make something work if you're paying more than 20,000 in tuition. Maybe you can contact the fin. aid. office at Washington and ask a couple of questions. 

 

Again, sorry this thread got hijacked by our judgement. Congrats of Washington and your decision!

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Listen, guys, it's not that I don't appreciate the advice. I do. And I don't want this to come off the wrong way, but honestly, I didn't start this thread so I could get a bunch of people telling me to change my decision. I'm well aware that the prevailing opinion on this board is against unfunded MA degrees. I respect that opinion, I understand it, and this is a decision that I've wrestled with heavily. However, none (or at least very few) of us have any real sense of each other's real life circumstances, and none of us are in a position to dictate what is or is not right for each other.

I did not start this thread asking for opinions as to whether or not I should attend an MA/PhD program with one unfunded year. I started it because I was interested in the experiences of those here who have gone through a similar process and may have some anecdotes or insights about taking out loans to share.

Again, I respect your opinions and appreciate the advice but it is not necessary at this point. Please take it elsewhere.

 

I apologize if I came across as harsh, but you do not get to pick and choose what kind of advice you get in a public forum. You asked about taking out private loans, and everyone here unanimously agreed that that is a bad decision. I know this is not the advice you wanted to hear, but such is life on the internet. And such is life in general. When you ask strangers for opinions, you will often get some harsh ones, and you don't get to necessarily set the parameters of the discussion.

 

If you want specific advice tailored to your situation--advice that no one here can give because, as you pointed out, no one knows about your specific life situation and finances--I would recommend speaking to academic advisors, financial counselors, and your family.

 

Good luck.

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I know you're unlikely to take the advice of anonymous strangers on the internet, so I would really urge you to talk to your academic advisors about this and listen to what they have to say. I would be very surprised if you can find anyone who thinks it's a good idea - it's not just the consensus of this forum that taking out that much in loans to finance a humanities degree is unwise (to put it mildly), it's the consensus of the field in general. In fact, it is widely considered unethical for programs to admit students with no funding at all, for this very reason: it is taking advantage of people who feel desperate to "pursue their dream" and treat the money they are taking out as abstract, when later it will feel very real, and crushing, and have a serious impact on your quality of life in the future. Loans have to be an investment, and this is a very bad one.

 

No one is trying to be a jerk. Everything people are saying is said out of concern - and it is concerning. I've been there, and understand just wanting to do something towards your goals, but your time and money would be much better spent re-applying. Please to talk to people you know and trust in the field.

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I apologize if I came across as harsh, but you do not get to pick and choose what kind of advice you get in a public forum. You asked about taking out private loans, and everyone here unanimously agreed that that is a bad decision. I know this is not the advice you wanted to hear, but such is life on the internet. And such is life in general. When you ask strangers for opinions, you will often get some harsh ones, and you don't get to necessarily set the parameters of the discussion.

 

If you want specific advice tailored to your situation--advice that no one here can give because, as you pointed out, no one knows about your specific life situation and finances--I would recommend speaking to academic advisors, financial counselors, and your family.

 

Good luck.

I understand and appreciate what you're saying. My point was simply that there are numerous other places in this forum where the question of whether or not to pursue an unfunded MA has been or is being discussed. I created one of the threads myself. Perhaps this is just indicative of my spending too much time here, but it seems to be getting a bit repetitive and I was just hoping that I could start a discussion without people feeling the need to jump on the decision I've made.

I also wasn't asking for advice about my specific situation. I was sharing what I'm currently going through and wondering if there were others who have gone or are currently going through a similar experience. I would never turn to an Internet forum for serious financial advice.

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No one is trying to be a jerk. Everything people are saying is said out of concern - and it is concerning. I've been there, and understand just wanting to do something towards your goals, but your time and money would be much better spent re-applying. Please to talk to people you know and trust in the field.

I didn't mean to insinuate that I thought anyone was being a jerk. I don't. I know the advice is coming from a well-intentioned place, and I do genuinely appreciate the concern. I have had numerous conversations with advisors and family members.

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For any international applicants reading this thread, I was funded generously for my MA at UVa but had to take out a small loan (6K) to cover some debts at home and moving expenses, etc. I took out a Gate Loan which at the time (2008) was a private student loan available to international students without a US co-signer, offered through the Bank of America. It was fine - good rates (better than I would've got from a bank at home), and interest didn't accrue until repayment which began after graduation. All fine.

 

The only MAJOR problem was repayment once I moved home. The American Education Services website (which was the portal for repayment) didn't allow for payments to be made by a foreign debit or credit card and neither did AES accept foreign cheques. So, the only way to pay was to move money into my U.S. bank account, and use my U.S. debit card. Now, unless you had a bulk sum you're were able to transfer, keeping costs low, (which I didn't, as I had expected, foolishly, to repay using my monthly wage) this added an awful lot to the cost of repayment. In the end, when I could I borrowed the remainder of the outstanding loan amount from a bank at home and simply repaid the whole annoyings thing in one go.

 

When looking at loans, I urge internationals to make sure the company has convenient repayment options that work once you've left the U.S. It can really help you plan ahead and/or avoid unnecessary fees and charges.

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