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Okay, honestly...how do y'all afford it?


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Hey everyone.

 

Thinking way ahead here about grad school. I've decided due to monetary and other constraints, I won't be starting prereqs till next Spring, so applying Fall 2016. Still, though I'm thinking of how to afford it, and it's so overwhelming.

 

Honestly, one of the biggest reasons I'm interested in speech path is because right now I work in mental health with a bachelors in psych and want out of mental health due to personal reasons and the lack of any money in the field. Speech path seems like a rewarding career where I can still be in a helping profession, work in a school (which I'd like to do), and make decent money.

 

But, how the heck do you afford grad school?! I want speech path BECAUSE I'll have some more money than what I make now, but school is so darn expensive! I'd like to stay in NJ, and any of the given schools could easily set me back 50k, and that's WITHOUT the at least 20k or so I'd need for housing.

 

So...help?

 

 

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But in all seriousness, loans. I've accepted an offer at a private college that offered me a good-sized fellowship, but I'm taking out loans to cover the rest of tuition and the cost of living (high). I think most SLP grad students take out loans, with at least a lot of confidence that we'll have a job right out of grad school. That makes it a little easier for me, at least, since the fear of not being able to pay back the loan is assuaged by the promise of steady future employment.

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But in all seriousness, loans. I've accepted an offer at a private college that offered me a good-sized fellowship, but I'm taking out loans to cover the rest of tuition and the cost of living (high). I think most SLP grad students take out loans, with at least a lot of confidence that we'll have a job right out of grad school. That makes it a little easier for me, at least, since the fear of not being able to pay back the loan is assuaged by the promise of steady future employment.

 

Well, I know loans are unavoidable. My question is how much COULD BE avoidable. I took out about 54k in undergrad loans and have it down to 24, will have it gone by about next May/June at the rate I'm going. But honestly....the prospect of taking out ANOTHER 50k just seems so insane! I want SLP partly to make decent money, much more than I make now, at a job I should hopefully enjoy. But is it worth it to take out 50k more just to make 60k and pay off that stuff for 20 years?

 

Ugh, I'm just so disheartened. Even assuming I get offered a graduate assistantship, from what I understand, those generally only occur for the first year, and just for fall and spring. Thus, I'll have at LEAST the first summer and second year fall, spring, and summer to pay. That's 4 semesters; as one example, Kean charges about $10,000 a semester. So if I'm on campus or on a nearby off-campus apartment, we're talking $40k over those semesters plus 10k or so each year in housing. 

 

60k.

 

What is a reasonable amount of debt to go into? How do you guys manage?!  :(  :(

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Well, I know loans are unavoidable. My question is how much COULD BE avoidable. I took out about 54k in undergrad loans and have it down to 24, will have it gone by about next May/June at the rate I'm going. But honestly....the prospect of taking out ANOTHER 50k just seems so insane! I want SLP partly to make decent money, much more than I make now, at a job I should hopefully enjoy. But is it worth it to take out 50k more just to make 60k and pay off that stuff for 20 years?

 

Ugh, I'm just so disheartened. Even assuming I get offered a graduate assistantship, from what I understand, those generally only occur for the first year, and just for fall and spring. Thus, I'll have at LEAST the first summer and second year fall, spring, and summer to pay. That's 4 semesters; as one example, Kean charges about $10,000 a semester. So if I'm on campus or on a nearby off-campus apartment, we're talking $40k over those semesters plus 10k or so each year in housing. 

 

60k.

 

What is a reasonable amount of debt to go into? How do you guys manage?!  :(  :(

 

To be fair, I don't have any undergrad debt, so I'm in a slightly different position. But I don't see myself taking 20 years to pay 60k in loans, maybe because I'm young and used to living somewhat lean, but I definitely see myself paying them off in 5-7 years. If you do think it'll take 10+ years, you can look at public service loan forgiveness programs that have income-based repayment schedules and then forgive the rest of the debt after 10 years working for a non-profit (so, most schools for example).

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For me, cost is an imperative factor while researching schools. 

 

-In-state schools

-Schools covered under regional tuition agreements 

-Hours of research searching "_____ graduate school tuition", then adding in fees and inflation (I will apply Fall 2016.)

 

Then again, I'm in CA and currently researching all 19 schools covered by in-state/WICHE, besides other programs that are 35k/under total tuition/fees. 

 

I set a limit for myself in how much I would take out for loans (tuition, fees, accounting for possible increases, books), with cost of living separate. This makes it easy to cross universities off of my list. 

 

For SLP, I would like to limit my debt as I want my career to be a part, but not whole, of my adult life. I want $$ to be able to purchase a house at high Bay Area prices, travel, and start a family shortly if not immediately after grad school. I feel most confident taking out 50k total (tuition and housing) in order to meet my other goals. Then again, I will have no undergraduate debt and plan on saving hopefully at least a year's worth of rent before starting a program. 

Edited by jmk
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For me, cost is an imperative factor while researching schools.

-In-state schools

-Schools covered under regional tuition agreements

-Hours of research searching "_____ graduate school tuition", then adding in fees and inflation (I will apply Fall 2016.)

Then again, I'm in CA and currently researching all 19 schools covered by in-state/WICHE, besides other programs that are 35k/under total tuition/fees.

I set a limit for myself in how much I would take out for loans (tuition, fees, accounting for possible increases, books), with cost of living separate. This makes it easy to cross universities off of my list.

For SLP, I would like to limit my debt as I want my career to be a part, but not whole, of my adult life. I want $$ to be able to purchase a house at high Bay Area prices, travel, and start a family shortly if not immediately after grad school. I feel most confident taking out 50k total (living expenses and housing) in order to meet my other goals. Then again, I will have no undergraduate debt and plan on saving hopefully at least a year's worth of rent before starting a program.

We are very similar! I agree. Going deep into debt is not an option for me. I also live in california, I'd appreciate any knowledge you're willing to share!

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This is all why I'm really not sure how to do it. Again, cost is a MAJOR decision for me, so I'm staying in state. There are only a few (5-6) schools in NJ that offer SLP, and none are 'cheap' from what I can see. Seems like I'll easily be set by 50k and that's without cost of living expenses. Anyone from Jersey who can comment on how they did it or plan to??

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Kate22192- I would research programs that are out of state, but cheaper. Minot, Fort Hays, Central Arkansas. Even Governor's State or Portland State are under 45k...not much cheaper, but every grand counts! Look at ashaedfind and find schools you rarely see on this forum, or schools in the mid-west. That is where I have had a fair amount of luck with finding cheaper programs. 

 

SLPsara- I'll pass on any info I find! (: 

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Sorry, I'm not from the same states as any of you so I don't have info about those schools. I do, however, know that some schools offer in-state tuition wavers--that's what I'm getting from UT Dallas. U of Arizona offers them too. So there are a couple out-of-state options as well.

 

I'm graduating with ~90k total debt. Yeah, it's completely overwhelming and ridiculous, and I wish I'd been born in Canada, but what else can we do? That's just the cost of education in America. If you know that this is absolutely what you want to do...it'd be better, in my opinion, to be in debt for 10-20 years and be working at my dream job, than to be unhappy at a job you don't like. You're gonna be there for basically the rest of your life so might as well find something you love to do!

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Kate22192- I would research programs that are out of state, but cheaper. Minot, Fort Hays, Central Arkansas. Even Governor's State or Portland State are under 45k...not much cheaper, but every grand counts! Look at ashaedfind and find schools you rarely see on this forum, or schools in the mid-west. That is where I have had a fair amount of luck with finding cheaper programs. 

 

SLPsara- I'll pass on any info I find! (: 

 

Hmm...the problem is, the whole huge process of relocating to somewhere I honestly probably don't want to be (nothing against anyone who loves the midwest or deeper south...!) seems not worth it if it's just to save a few thousand. It would have to be the difference between 50k in Jersey and like...20 somewhere else, haha

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Sorry, I'm not from the same states as any of you so I don't have info about those schools. I do, however, know that some schools offer in-state tuition wavers--that's what I'm getting from UT Dallas. U of Arizona offers them too. So there are a couple out-of-state options as well.

 

I'm graduating with ~90k total debt. Yeah, it's completely overwhelming and ridiculous, and I wish I'd been born in Canada, but what else can we do? That's just the cost of education in America. If you know that this is absolutely what you want to do...it'd be better, in my opinion, to be in debt for 10-20 years and be working at my dream job, than to be unhappy at a job you don't like. You're gonna be there for basically the rest of your life so might as well find something you love to do!

 

Okay as for this, another thing is it isn't really my "dream job," I don't know. I like SLP because I like the idea of being in a helping profession, helping children communicate, but I wouldn't say I'm super passionate about it. 

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Okay as for this, another thing is it isn't really my "dream job," I don't know. I like SLP because I like the idea of being in a helping profession, helping children communicate, but I wouldn't say I'm super passionate about it. 

Yeah maybe I would reconsider, if I were you, then. This is a lot of money to spend on something you aren't totally passionate about. Maybe ask to job shadow? Do you have any experience in the field that you could get some sort of idea of what it would be like? I would be sure you really wanted it before you spent all that money and time.

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Also apply for scholarships!!! They are a pain in the ass to fill out forms, but you can rack up a significant amount of money.

 

 

Do you happen to know of any prominent ones for the field?

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Yeah maybe I would reconsider, if I were you, then. This is a lot of money to spend on something you aren't totally passionate about. Maybe ask to job shadow? Do you have any experience in the field that you could get some sort of idea of what it would be like? I would be sure you really wanted it before you spent all that money and time.

 

 

I do intend to shadow, yeah. I mean, I'm in mental health now and I want out. This is not where I see myself continuing; too emotionally taxing, too close to home for me, and absolutely no money in it. Sooo SLP seems like a solid option for me.

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Do you happen to know of any prominent ones for the field?

Each school you look at should have a list of scholarships both through the school and through third parties, I think each school is different. Also, getting part/all of your loans forgiven is a possibility. I don't know too many details, but I think in certain states you can be in a low-income public school system for a certain amount of time and they will forgive them, and I also know certain hospitals will pay your loans back for you. My mother works at a hospital and they repay all their SLP's loans for them. But that's not guaranteed, you'd have to find the right employer.

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Okay as for this, another thing is it isn't really my "dream job," I don't know. I like SLP because I like the idea of being in a helping profession, helping children communicate, but I wouldn't say I'm super passionate about it. 

 

"Dream jobs" are kind of a myth / pernicious construct imo. If SLP will leave you content at the end of the day and not dreading going to work in the morning, it's probably worth it. If the loan payments will severely impact your life, maybe look for a different route... but if you think you can live a comfortable life on 20-30k a year while you pay off loans for a few years, then it's worth it.

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"Dream jobs" are kind of a myth / pernicious construct imo. If SLP will leave you content at the end of the day and not dreading going to work in the morning, it's probably worth it. If the loan payments will severely impact your life, maybe look for a different route... but if you think you can live a comfortable life on 20-30k a year while you pay off loans for a few years, then it's worth it.

 

 

That's a good point. After being in the real world after school for a bit, I've come to feel this way too. No job is going to be perfect and honestly, even people who like their jobs don't want to be there half the time. But SLP seems to be a good field. Versatile, good job market, and you're doing something to help people! Kids, adults, big wide range. 

 

I wish there was some way to be guaranteed a grad assistantship or something, haha. Like....tell me you'll fund my first year, then I'll go!!!

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"Dream jobs" are kind of a myth / pernicious construct imo. If SLP will leave you content at the end of the day and not dreading going to work in the morning, it's probably worth it. If the loan payments will severely impact your life, maybe look for a different route... but if you think you can live a comfortable life on 20-30k a year while you pay off loans for a few years, then it's worth it.

I guess that's what I mean by "dream job". I didn't mean to be dramatic. Certainly wouldn't do it for free, but find satisfaction and contentedness with how you're going to spend the majority of your adult life. And I don't think there's much else besides SLP that I'd feel that way about to be honest. I hate working, but when I'm volunteering at a clinic it's obvious to me that this is what I should be doing. I like it.

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I wish there was some way to be guaranteed a grad assistantship or something, haha. Like....tell me you'll fund my first year, then I'll go!!!

Some schools offer an assistantship, like TA or RA, to basically anyone who wants one. It's not much, but it's something. You could also skip that and to part-time work. Or both, if you don't like to sleep much. :)

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Some schools offer an assistantship, like TA or RA, to basically anyone who wants one. It's not much, but it's something. You could also skip that and to part-time work. Or both, if you don't like to sleep much. :)

hahah good point. Hey, even if a TA can give me $5000 a year, I'll take it  -_-

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Loan reimbursement plans :-P

 

Really, I've taken the mind-set, "get loans, get Grad Assistantships w/loans, and then funded PhD." I plan to go on an income-based payment plan (provided it's around by the time I'm out of college) and the civil service loan forgiveness after 10 years working in the field. I'd I can pull that off, I'm loan free in my mid-forties, and paying a reasonable amount until then. I can live with that.

 

Otherwise, time to find a plan B!

 

Honestly, I worked Mental Health, and still do. I realized the wear and tear doesn't work for me. Teaching and research does. I don't want to roll out of bed in the morning, but I do anyways, and I don't feel burned out when I get home really late that night. I'd rather chase needing to pay back loans my entire life than live being burnt out. 

Edited by psychkita
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Loan reimbursement plans :-P

 

Really, I've taken the mind-set, "get loans, get Grad Assistantships w/loans, and then funded PhD." I plan to go on an income-based payment plan (provided it's around by the time I'm out of college) and the civil service loan forgiveness after 10 years working in the field. I'd I can pull that off, I'm loan free in my mid-forties, and paying a reasonable amount until then. I can live with that.

 

Otherwise, time to find a plan B!

 

Honestly, I worked Mental Health, and still do. I realized the wear and tear doesn't work for me. Teaching and research does. I don't want to roll out of bed in the morning, but I do anyways, and I don't feel burned out when I get home really late that night. I'd rather chase needing to pay back loans my entire life than live being burnt out. 

 

the funded PhD is a great idea if it's for you, but that amount of school and research is so not me. blech. 

 

But yeah, mental health is serious wear and tear. The public service loan forgiveness seems cool, but don't you have to be in that sector 10 years? Like, who knows if I'll still be in public schools 10 years down the road. It's tough.

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