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imunster

Tuition: How Much is Too Much?

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Hey there,

As we know, a big part of deciding where to attend grad school depends on the cost of tuition. I live in California and I'm all for staying in state but I wouldn't mind leaving either. My question to you all is, how much is too much when it comes to tuition? I'm checking out potential grad programs and checking up how much tuition would be and the numbers seem pretty staggering (plus out of state tuition if I decide to leave CA). At what co$t are you saying, "nah this is too expensive!"? I'd really like some input as I have no idea what a masters in SLP would be "worth" for lack of a better word.

 

 

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As a general rule, no more total debt than your first year's salary would be ideal. You can google what you can expect to make in your first year as an SLP in different regions

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Ultimately I decided that 15-16 grand a semester was too much. Especially when my in state tuition could be 4 grand a semester. I'd rather not be paying student loans forever and eventually add a car payment or higher rent or a mortgage someday. So maybe think of cost of living where you might look for a job later. Not everybody makes the same decision regarding cost but now that I get consistent emails about interest on loans and how I don't have to pay back until graduation, I'm relieved my debt is considerably less. In the end, your degree is relatively the same. 

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Do you have student loans from undergrad? Are you single or married? There are so many individual factors.

I don't have any student loans right now and my husband makes enough to support our family (currently I'm a SAHM). So my ability to pay back grad school loans is probably higher than a lot of people. I am looking at some fairly expensive schools but not the most expensive ones like Northwestern.

I plan on working for a non-profit school or hospital so I should qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

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15k from undergrad; single. NYU is like 75k excluding housing and living expenses which seems so expensive but living in NY is such a dream of mine! Schools are not my area of interest either so loan forgiveness isn't really something on my mind. I just don't want to come out of school having so much debt and having to make me wonder whether I made the right decision. :(

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Personally, I would not do it. And I would suggest that you not do it as well, especially if you have even the slightest bit of hesitation.

Run the math of how fast interest accrues at $100k+, and it's quickly apparent all professions except for the most lucrative would have substantial difficulties repaying a loan of that size. Also, if you have to take that much out in loans, you might be forced to take out private loans, and those loans are especially terrible. 

My two cents.

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Loan forgiveness is not just limited to SLP's working in the schools but also is open to those who work for non-profit hospitals as well. Now if you hope to have your own private practice, then that wouldn't qualify. But after 10 years working for a non-profit you'd be free to switch to a different setting.

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5 hours ago, imunster said:

15k from undergrad; single. NYU is like 75k excluding housing and living expenses which seems so expensive but living in NY is such a dream of mine! Schools are not my area of interest either so loan forgiveness isn't really something on my mind. I just don't want to come out of school having so much debt and having to make me wonder whether I made the right decision. :(

Housing and living expenses in NY would be significant. Everything is more expensive there. You can always move to NY after you begin to work - ask the schools you are going to if they help you get your provisional license, and if their state has reciprocity with NY.

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What I've found is that most programs seem to cost around 20,000-30,000/year, which is on the expensive side, but I've also decided that that is what I'm willing to pay. My institution is on the latter end of that spectrum as I'll be paying out of state tuition this year (praying for in state next year), with a combo of loans and cash. Luckily my wife and I just sold our first home and made a significant amount of money on the sale, which will help a lot with the financial burden of grad school. I know others are not in the same situation, and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. 

One thing I've learned recently is that as a grad student, everyone, no matter what, only receives a maximum financial aid award of $20,000 in unsubsidized loans/ year. That means anything above that will need to be paid using other means or out of pocket -and that the 20k in loans will be earning interest while you are in school. Not sure if that matters to you or not, but that would mean for that NY school, you'd be responsible for ~50,000 out of pocket. Heck, even at $30,000, you'll still need an extra 10 grand just to cover tuition in addition to maxing out your allotted federal loans (assuming of course that your program costs as much as mine).

 

It's unfortunate that grad school is such a hurdle, on the other hand, if it wasn't everyone would do it. 

Good luck to you!

Edited by charlemagne88

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2 hours ago, charlemagne88 said:

One thing I've learned recently is that as a grad student, everyone, no matter what, only receives a maximum financial aid award of $20,000 in unsubsidized loans/ year. That means anything above that will need to be paid using other means or out of pocket -and that the 20k in loans will be earning interest while you are in school. Not sure if that matters to you or not, but that would mean for that NY school, you'd be responsible for ~50,000 out of pocket. Heck, even at $30,000, you'll still need an extra 10 grand just to cover tuition in addition to maxing out your allotted federal loans (assuming of course that your program costs as much as mine).

In addition to the 20,500/year in unsubsidized Stafford loans, you are able to apply for Grad PLUS loans, which have a higher interest rate, but are still administered through the department of education, just like the Stafford loans. There are no limits to the Grad PLUS loans except the total cost of attendance for your university, minus any other aid you are receiving.

Information about Grad PLUS can be found here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/plus#how-much

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I'm one of the few grad students here who chose a more expensive program over a significantly less expensive program.  Technically, it was in the "high middle" in terms of expense, but was the highest ranked of the three programs I applied to (and was accepted into).  The jury is still out in terms of whether I will regret it or not.  I think not, however, as I am moving into an area of the country I intend to settle in permanently.  

I will definitely update this forum periodically post-graduation and employment as I feel I've taken the path that is almost never chosen in the SLP forum, lol.  I too am hopeful that the federal loan forgiveness program will help ease my debt later.  However there is no guarantee this program will still be in effect 12 years from now, so it is definitely a gamble of sorts.

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If you really want to go to grad school in NYC, there are cheaper programs in the area. Adelphi and Touro (as well as the CUNYs) come to mind.

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Thank you all for your replies! There are truly many things to consider. I haven't even made a tentative list of programs I want to apply to yet. How is everyone else doing on that?

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19 hours ago, copaceticbroad said:

If you really want to go to grad school in NYC, there are cheaper programs in the area. Adelphi and Touro (as well as the CUNYs) come to mind.

Also, which school did you decide to attend?

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8 hours ago, imunster said:

Thank you all for your replies! There are truly many things to consider. I haven't even made a tentative list of programs I want to apply to yet. How is everyone else doing on that?

I've got my CSDCAS list but am trying to figure out which non-CSDCAS schools to apply to. I don't want to be a total pain to my LoR providers.

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10 hours ago, imunster said:

Also, which school did you decide to attend?

New Paltz! Amherst and NYU were too expensive at face value (I understand Amherst gives out financial awards later on, but I couldn't make that decision on hope alone); New Paltz is a bit more expensive than Brooklyn, but I sensed a more nurturing environment there.

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