T Nation

Student Loans


#1

Couple questions for those of you who have dealt with them.

1.) What is the most you've taken out for your education?

2.) Did you have a difficult time getting a lender to give you more for your cost of tuition plus cost of living?

3.) For those of you with big loans, what kind of monthly payments are you looking at now?

4.) Are there better options for lenders other than federal loans or your typical bank student loan?

5.) If you did take out a sizeable chunk for living expenses while in school full time, did you take out everything you needed up front? Or did you borrow it one school year at a time?

I'm looking at starting nursing school and clinicals full time and won't be able to juggle any decent sort of job. I just want to hear from others if this can be reasonably done.


#2

1A) I had just a bit over $9,000 in federal stafford loans.

1B) Stacey has more than $35K in subsidized and unsubsidized fed loans and private loans.

2A) I never asked or requested more. I only took out enough to help get me through my last few years (I was on a full scholarship for my first two years at the community college before transferring to UF).

2B) Stacey has never had problems getting more loans. She could always find and alternative source if the federal loans through UF didn't want to give her more each semester.

3A) Mine were $100 or less per month. I also paid mine off early (last year).

3B) Stacey starts paying six months after she graduates in December. She will be looking at a minimum of $400 per month and probably more unless she finds someone she can consolidate with for better interest rates.

4) I think that's all there really is unless you borrow money from a family member!

5) Stacey would take out what they gave her each semester (and she needed every bit of it). She would also take out more if necessary.

Your best bet is to save up a bunch of cash ahead of time and try to cut your cost of living down as much as possible (get a roommate, live on campus, cut out the cable and other unnecessary extras). If that's not possible, then take out the money you'll need to get you through each semester or year and be sure to ration it out so you don't spend more than they give you.

I know someone who took out $40,000 to go back to school. He used about $13,000 to pay off debt so he has no credit card payments, no car payments, no other outstanding payments, and he's going to live on the remainder.


#3

I have taken out student loans on and off for the past 10 years. To answer your questions in order :

  1. Just recently I have taken out 2 $9000+ loans for school. I have taken out more and I owe alot more but when you are new to college and you are signing your financal aid papers you really are not paying much attention to the amounts.

  2. No, if you are getting an education most lenders see you as an investment. You just have to find out what you eligable to get, tution plus cost of living. When you make a request for a certain amount the lender will contact the school to find out what they estimate your cost of living and tuition to be, and they won't give you more then that. So in other words you should probably ask your school the amount they estimate you will need.

  3. My loan payments were under $600/month after I consolidated with SallieMae. There are many agencies with whom you can consolidate student loans with, you will find this out because they will start calling you, alot. I liked Sallie Mew because they have alot of payment options and helped alot as far lowering payments when I was out of work. I have a friend whoes student loan payments were about $1000/mnth eep!

4.There is SallieMae http://www.salliemae.com/
American Education Services http://www.aessuccess.org/
CitiBank, no link for that, sorry.
there are a few others too.
When you fill out your FAFSA and are offered loans and PELL Grants (< you don't have to pay those back) you will find most often they are affiliated with SallieMae.

  1. Usually you cannot take out everything you need upfront. They made me, because I have 3 semesters to finish up this degree, apply for 3 different loans, one laon of which they actaully split dispursment of until January. It is up to the school and the loan institution, but usually they make you split it up per semester.

I am doing Clinical Lab Science and just like with Nursing there is no way I could handel a job too. It kinda hurts to take out such big loans but it is worth it in the end, of so I hear. Good Luck!


#4

My Bachelor of IT cost me about AUD$15,000 (plus another AUD$2,000 for textbooks, etc.). The same degree probably costs $20,000 nowdays.

In Australia the government will pay for your university degree and then you pay it back in extra tax. I have to pay back about AUD$6,500 this financal year. Last financal year I paid back about AUD$3,500 (on top of my normal tax which is almost 1/3 of my income).

But none of that helps you very much. Just thought you'd like to know in Oz the government will loan you money for education. You only get charged interest once a year to keep your loan debt inline with inflation.

I have actually just enrolled in another degree - a Juris Doctor. Thats going to cost me approximately AUD$7,500 every year (part time) - education is expensive!

I'm thinking I will add to my government education loan and continue to pay 8% of my gross income back each year (I just get some extra tax taken from my pay each week).

That's what is costs me for learning...

My biggest difference is I worked and will continue to work full-time whilst studying so I only take a loan out for tutition fees - not living expenses. That would be very costly!

In my very humble opinion, education is the best investment you can make (even better than strength training!). I've just decided rather than invest in securities or real estate that I will invest my time and money into gaining the qualification to practice law.

Let you know in 10 years if it was a wise investment choice...

By the way, nursing degress here in Oz are subsidised by the government and are a fair bit cheaper than other degrees because we can't get enough nurses (or doctors for that matter).

You could become an Ozzie citizen and get your degree for almost free!


#5

Thanks for your feedback guys. Nate, I wish that I could do what you suggested and start by saving up a crapload of money. Unfortunately, I'm already in school and working part time.

The main thing that is stressing me out is that my fiancee is also making plans to go back to school. He's been having a very difficult time finding work as an Analytical Chemist with 12 years experience. Either people want to pay him too little or they want him to have more qualifications than just a bachelor's.

So he's looking into getting his Biochem Masters. I know he'll have much better and higher paying opportunities afterwards, it's just the thought of both of us in school for the next 2+ years... and neither of us able to work more than part time. That could add up to be a lot of freakin money.

I do agree that education is a worthwhile investment. I'd much rather be making larger payments later while enjoying my job and increased income... than bitching about how I wish I wasn't stuck in a rut with few advancement possibilities.

Hell, my friend's boyfriend spent 80k on his MBA. My other friend's boyfriend has over 120k in loans from his law degree. I guess it just depends on how much you are willing to spend to create better opportunities for yourself.


#6

I have about 47k in goverment loans, my only real advice would be to continue to live like a poor student for about 3 years after graduating, (i.e. less than 20k a year, I myself live on about 15k a year, that includes rent, food, entertainment, and running an old truck).


#7

If he has a B.S. and doesn't want to do that much more schooling he may want to think about Clinical Lab Science/Medical Technologist. It is generally a 4 year degree but if you already have degree it can generally be just 1 year and you get a certificate and can add CLS on the end of your B.S. degree.

It's a high demand field and everyone I know has had jobs before the left school. If he likes to work in the lab and/or do research it is a great field to get into... obviously it is what I am doing now :wink:
It might be a good option though if you havn't thought about it though.


#8

1) I have 11k in Stafford loans (2 years @ $5,500 each year).

2) I never asked for more. I just survived off what they gave me to cover tuition, books, and general living expenses. My parents paid my rent and the very most basic bills (electricity, car insurance, etc.). I didn't buy new clothes for about 3 years, except for a few t-shirts. I quit drinking 100% cold turkey. It's amazing how far money will stretch if you don't walk around like a bitch-ass trust fund baby.

3) Monthly payments start in December and the payment is a whopping $110 a month. However, my parents are lending me the full 11k so I can pay that shit off in a lump sum, then I pay them back interest free. The down side is that my parents want a much larger monthly payment. We haven't discussed it but I'm probably going to set it myself at about 400-500 a month.

I already have my job set up and I know my salary and my savings goals so it shouldn't be a problem to make the large payments. I don't blame my parents for wanting the money fast- they are hooking me up fat so I have to do the same back.

4) The other posters answered this sufficiently. I don't know shit about this.

5) Before I moved away, I owned a truck with a value of 20k and it was paid off. I sold it, got my 20k, and used 11k to pay off other retarded credit card debts, 3k to buy a VERY RELIABLE Honda Accord (which I still have, best investment ever), and kept the remaining 6k as a "head start" toward having some money for college. As a result, I now have a credit score of 782 (which will probably save me a shit load down the road).

I also did a couple of high paying internships (with the company I have signed on with) which was great because the money I saved now allows me to pay ALL my own shit (no more asking the parents for rent) while I currently have no income, until December when I actually start the job.

So while I'm not by any means rich, I am able to live off savings for the time being and it's really a damn good feeling. I stress the importance of wiping out all the "luxury" shit while in college and just live a basic life.


#9

I forget who, but a comedian made the remark that if we want to find Osama Bin Laden we should have given him a student loan, because those fucking loan companies will find you no matter where on the planet you are.


#10

[1.) What is the most you've taken out for your education?]

A bit under $20k

[2.) Did you have a difficult time getting a lender to give you more for your cost of tuition plus cost of living?]

They had a formula to determine how much I qualified for, and I took that amount (or less some semesters if I felt I didn't need it all). I don't think they'll give you more than their formulas indicate you need/qualify for. I could be wrong tho...

[3.) For those of you with big loans, what kind of monthly payments are you looking at now?]

Mine were $190/month but a few years ago interest rates were much lower so I 'refinanced' (after shopping around for the best deal and waiting for the rates to finish dropping). I dropped from ~8-9% interest (mine were taken at a relatively high point) to ~3%. The refinancing extended payback time, so now I'm down to $112.

[4.) Are there better options for lenders other than federal loans or your typical bank student loan?]

Other than scholarships/grants, I'd stick with federally guaranteed loans (tho parts of your federal loans may not be guaranteed, if your needs exceed the guaranteed amount). I avoided private bank student loans, I've heard they can be problematic (higher interest, fees, etc.).

[5.) If you did take out a sizeable chunk for living expenses while in school full time, did you take out everything you needed up front? Or did you borrow it one school year at a time?]

I got the money one semester at a time, but I applied year-by-year.

[I'm looking at starting nursing school and clinicals full time and won't be able to juggle any decent sort of job. I just want to hear from others if this can be reasonably done.]

I'd do the math on:
-your chances of getting hired (nursing is generally in good demand for the forseable future - can't outsource it!)
-the pay range you expect
-how much you'll be able to borrow and how much monthly repayments would be

...then see if it's doable for you. A good loan officer would be able to give you an idea on how much you can borrow and repayment amounts.

Be cautious of school loan officials. Some schools get "kickbacks" from student loan sources so the schools push what makes the school the most money instead of what's best for you.

Some "private" schools that deal only with certain fields are really more businesses that academic institutions, and their advice may be tilted to their best interest, not yours.

The University (Iowa State U.) I went to had a guy that represented students (he was separate from the student loan office that gave out the money), so I trusted his advice for refinancing to take advantage of lowered interest rates about 4 years ago.

If your school doesn't have someone like that you could try another school (you may have to imply you're thinking of going there, but it would be worth it).

You may also wish to check out local credit unions, they usually are cheaper than banks and they may have someone there familiar with this stuff.

Good luck!


#11

  1. 57k so far.
  2. nope
  3. fuck knows, probably 800
  4. not in canada
  5. up front

#12

Hey,

You may want to look at the Tuition Answers loan from Sallie Mae. It allows you to take out anything you classify as necessary for school (so if you need a car, as an example). They pay the money directly to your bank account, and you allocate its use.

I like that freedom, good for covering a late rent payment or sudden car repaid, etc, because those are necessary for school. I suggest taking out one year at a time, at least thats what I did with this, because if too much is taken out, then the amount rolls over and you just take less next year.

Good luck.


#13

1) I have over $60k in loans.

2) Lender's are more than happy to give you anything you ask for. You're only digging a hole for yourself.

3) I'm paying $500 a month until December in 2019. It is my most significant monthly bill.

4) Federal loans are the best because the interest is usually deferred, plus the APR is lower. Private bank loans suck.

5) I only needed expense money for one semester, and I took it out that semester. After that I got a job.


#14

I'm pretty much in the same boat as all the high loans here.
I just want to reiterate points people have already said.

PRIVATE LOANS SUCK. if you can get federal GET IT.

Try your damnedest to save money and pay as much as possible up front. All the money you save by taking out loans feels like triple when you have to pay rent autoloans and everything else.

If not at least find a spouse when your done who doesn't have all those loans and make them help you out.


#15

1) About 60K total for BS and MS, but I was in a combined program, so I saved some money there.

2) I was given whatever I needed to pay for tuition for that year. There were a few close calls, but my finical aid office was pretty helpful at resolving all my issues.

3) My payment is just under $400 a month, but I pay more when I can so that I reduce the amount of interest I have to pay in the end. I have some weird interest thing. 4.5 for the first year 3.5 for years 2-3 and 3 for the rest of the loans life. All this is assuming I pay on time and what not.

4) Private loans suck balls. I don't have any.

5) I lived on campus so my "rent" was included in my tuition payments. I had money from part time jobs to pay for food and other random stuff.

I had the mind set of not taking out more than what I predicted my starting salary would be. I really didn't want to be paying back my loans for half my life. Things worked out, so I am happy.


#16

I once came up with a great scheme to float a $40K school loan and use the money to start grow house. Shame I never had the nuts to go through with it....


#17

student loans are killing me. If I could turn my debt into assets, I could sit back and not work for about 5 years


#18

Couple questions for those of you who have dealt with them.

1.) What is the most you've taken out for your education?

I owe about 89K b/w two separate loans, 84K is federal unsubsidized and subsidized.

2.) Did you have a difficult time getting a lender to give you more for your cost of tuition plus cost of living?

Never had a problem getting money. I would apply with the FAFSA each year and receive an award based on their calculation of what I needed to live.

3.) For those of you with big loans, what kind of monthly payments are you looking at now?

I went with a graduated plan which starts with lower payments and increases every 2 years. For example I pay about $250/mo now until 9/2009 and then it increases to like $300, etc.

4.) Are there better options for lenders other than federal loans or your typical bank student loan?

I would stick with federal as much as possible, especially if you can get the subsidized loans as they do not accrue interese while you are in school.

5.) If you did take out a sizeable chunk for living expenses while in school full time, did you take out everything you needed up front? Or did you borrow it one school year at a time?

As I mentioned above, I applied every year using the FAFSA.


#19

I'm blown away by how much some people have borrowed. I'm glad I went to a state school.


#20

This sounds interesting. I'll certainly look into this more.

I wish that I could juggle school and work and not borrow so much money. That was my plan originally before getting pregnant. By the time we found out, I had already started classes and I'm not going to let that stop me from getting my degree this time. So the plan now is to juggle baby and evening/weekend/online classes for the remainder of my degree. Hopefully it all works out!