Costs of graduate school

Hello,

I have kind of a personal question about graduate expenses that I was just looking for some insight on. Any help/advice would be much appreciated!  I just received my finanical aid package and I know that I have heard this about grad schools, but I recieved basically no aid. I have not done any pre-requistes yet so I am in a 3 year program at UConn, the only program I was accepted to. So I was thinking that with 3 years of about $50,000 in tuition plus my undergraduate costs, I am looking at basically $200,000 worth of debt when I graduate. I want to say this sounds ridiculous and absurd and am seriously reconsidering everything about going here. I called financial aid and they were not very helpful and told me that most students do this. Do most students really do this? Is it worth it to pay this much money? Plus interest...

I am thinking about taking a year off and taking the pre-requistes at Worcester State (about $150 a credit) and reapplying to grad schools in a year, but then again I'm worried that this might have been my only shot at acceptance since it has been so competitive.

Anyways, in short I was just looking for advice. Is it worth it in the end to pay this much money and ensure that I am in a masters program? Will I be okay once I have graduated and have a job? Do a lot of people do this? I know this is kind of personal, but I am just looking for some advice not that everything has been flipped upside down. Everyone has been so helpful in the past.

Thanks!!!
Yep, I came out of grad school with just shy of 50K in loans (I didn't pay for my undergrad, which helped). Good news is that in SLP, at least you can find work.

You can, in theory, get loan forgiveness if you work in the right state and in the right field, but that's not something to hang your hat on.
Why in theory? There's a federal loan forgiveness program for those who work in public service (SLPs included).

http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PSF.jsp

To the OP -- I did it. I financed my postbac and masters on student loans entirely. I'll end up with about $75k in debt when I'm done in August. Sounds huge and overwhelming, but w/ Obama's income-based repayment plan and the federal loan forgiveness program, the payments are totally reasonable.
Do you know anything more about the repayment program? I did some research on it and it looks like you can get a cap of 15% of your income on your student loan payments. Do you happen to know how to qualify for this? Can anyone do this option? Thanks :)
I don't know anything more than what is described on the financial aid website because I'm still finishing my program and haven't started repaying my loans. What I read is consistent with you said wrt to the 15% cap. To take full advantage, my wife and I will have to file taxes separately such that the cap is 15% of my income and not both of ours. Any person qualifies, but be careful to read more about which types of loans qualify and what sort of loan consolidation is allowable.

You're welcome!
you still have to make the first 120 payments on your loan before theyll consider forgiving the balance. i always thought it was a 5 year public service commitment, but i guess its 10 years. anyway, its kind of funny because most of the DL set you up on a standard 10 year payment plan so unless you change to income based payments or something, there isnt anything to be forgiven. but anything is something sometimes!
Yes, but with the income-based repayments, it does amount to a decent chunk of forgiveness and makes those monthly payments throughout 10 years totally manageable.
depending on how much you borrow, absolutely. but sometimes ibr monthly payment is less than what your standard repayment would be and then you dont qualify. which would be my situation as I had 24K in loans. but if you have a lot, it certainly can help. but it also depends what you make. this job doesnt pay gold, but it doesnt pay peanuts.
oh I see what you mean and you're totally right. in my case (with ~$75k in loans) ibr is a sweet deal considering I will be able to wipe out the remaining principle and interest after 10 years. It ultimately brings my monthly payments down about $400.
If you go to www.ibrinfo.org there are links to income based repayment, public service loan forgiveness, and other helpful hints.
Well I graduated with $50,000 in loans, all from grad school. When my payments began, my monthly minimum was $600 (to pay off in ten years). I was very apprehensive about being able to make the payments (I had other bills and loans from family members to also take into account). Plus, after several years of living as a desperately poor college student, I wanted to be able to afford decent clothing and have spending cash. So I applied for their graduated plan (it's not automatic approval) in order to only pay the interest for the next two years. I was approved and my payments went down to $300, which was a lot less scary. I still send in close to the minimum previous payment ($600) but right now it's my option to do so and not required. However, I don't want to take longer than 10 years to pay it off so I am making it a priority. I think it was money well spent; however, if it would have been $200,000, I wouldn't have the same thought. What you need to do is talk to the loan lender so they can make an accurate estimate of what you will owe, what you're minmum payments will be, and what payment plans will be available. Once you have all that information then you can estimate, based on the CF salaries how much of a hardship it will be to pay off. You really need to get a clear picture before you find yourself with a debt you can afford. Yes, you can make decent money as an SLP, but that won't be at a regular 8-3 school job or 9-5 medical setting, at least to pay off that huge of a loan. That will be with a full-time job and homecare on the evenings and maybe weekends. In other words, not much free time. I am just telling you based on my experience. MAybe it is different for someone else. But I think you REALLY need to get the repayment info now before committing yourself.

Good Luck!
(Anonymous)
i'm in the same boat as you right now...my loans will probably total $150-175k :(
College is expensive. The question is can you get a similar education at a less expensive school?

I think my tuition and fees are about 8,000 or so a year for resident tuition in Texas. I could be wrong, but it's now where near 50k.

I think I'm getting a great education and ultimately, I'll be getting the same job as someone who paid out the wazoo to go to a different school.

The question you should ask yourself is is it worth it to you?
I'll second this comment. I feel like a downer saying this (and it is, of course, everyone's personal decision!), but for a 2-year grad program I say go for a cheaper option if there's one out there. Every program is accredited, every program should be able to adequately prepare you. Admittedly, I chose University of Illinois over a cheaper state school like Illinois State/Northern...but I rejected Madison/Marquette, etc the minute I knew I wouldn't get enough money to make it comparable.On the other hand, I didn't have a big focus (e.g. AAC) that would lead me to search out other, more expensive schools. If you do, I understand going somewhere pricey a bit more. In any case---best of luck! If you decide to go with the loans, I'm sure you'll figure out a plan that works for you.
I too ended up with a little over $50k in loans for both undergrad and grad. I was able to pay it off quickly by continuing to live like a college student after I got a real job. I cannot imagine being saddled with $200k in student loans unless you are in a profession where you'll make close to 6 figures right out of school. Everyone has a different level of comfortable-ness though...good luck with your decision! It's a toughie.
Ugh how frustrating! you were accepted to a great school without a background no less, and I just can't believe how expensiev UConn is. Is there any chance that they've way overestimated the cost of attendance? I'm at a private school for my masters and in the initial paperwork I think they estimated that it would cost me like 80,0000 or something for both years and I am not going to need to take out nearly that much. There's no way around the tuition costs b/c they're fixed, but I find they really inflate the average grad students cost of living. I am pretty cheap and I do have some support from my parents, but there's no way spend 15,000 a year in living expenses. I live in a pos apartment for 600 a month with all utilities and internet included that I share with my bf, and our only other expense is food. We share a car, I get my textbooks from the library or old editions. Sometimes it's hard because I couldn't really afford to go home for thanksgiving b/c I would have to fly, but hopefully it will be worth it.

All that tangental information aside, if I were in your shoes I would probably take the pre-reqs at Worcester state, and maybe even see if you can defer admission for a year at UConn while you make up your mind. You might like Worcester state better. I've said it before on here but I think many of my classes at my unknown state school were better than my well known private school. I do have regrets sometimes about the cost.
A little off topic, but does Worcester State have a 1 year program for taking the prereqs? I'm thinking of doing the same thing starting this Fall, and didn't want to leave the Boston area (or take a ton of online classes) to get my prereqs done. It would be great if I could do them all at WSC.
i e-mailed the woman in charge of the program and she said if I were to take the pre-reqs there I would take 3 courses in the fall and then 2 in the spring. I'm not sure if its a specific program or just a recommended way to take the courses.
I personally think $200k is way too much debt. Perhaps you could get a grant or assistantship the second year?

I think it also depends on the setting you plan to work in. If it's the schools, then you will never pay that debt off!!! If it's the healthcare side you will make better $$$, like $60-80k, you may have a chance to pay it off, but it will take your whole life. The other option is to work straight contract or be a traveling SLP and make about 90K or more and pay down those bills---the downside is that you won't get any benefits, but it's fast cash.

If you just want "a job" to pay down your undergrad loans and work on prereqs until you are ready for the grad program a few years down the line, you could get a sales job in advertising, etc....It doesn't matter what your degree is in. Just a thought.

ouch. that is a pretty big price tag. in left with 24K in debt and the payments are manageable. i have a friend who works in schools and left with $50K and finds that tough (one of her loans has to paid off in 5 years however). That is what i would look at--how long you have to ay off loans. some loans are standard 10 or 15 year repayment plans and what the monthly payments would end up being. even if you decide to go income based repayments you are looking at an insane amount of interest. plus that much debt might cause you problems down the road if you want another loan (e.g. mortgage or car), especially given the tightening restrictions on credit.

slp jobs pay okay, but they dont pay amazing and as someone said above, i dont know if id incur that much debt for a job that doesnt pay 6 figures. that or you'll be spending a good chunk of your life working 60-70 hrs a week just to pay your loans. if youre okay living to work, so be it, but i cant imagine that would make for a very pleasant quality life.

i would absolutely wait it out and apply to less expensive schools. use a student loan calculator to figure it out. e.g. here it is calculated for the interest rate for 2011:
http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/loanpayments.cgi at 15 years. think about that minimum payment + rent or mortgage. that loan alone could be half your paycheck. think about if you want to have kids. think about how youd save any money for your future. i hate to be a financial debbie downer but ive met a couple therapists who have nice salaries who have filed bankruptcy in part due to insane student loans. you might be able to get some loan forgiveness if you work public service, but i wouldnt place all your eggs in that basket as said above. you dont want to spend your life chained to debt.
my link to the calculation didnt work--it was saying a monthly payment of 1700$ for 15 years--the standard repayment is 10. so to pay that actually i doubt it would be 60-70 hrs and more like 90 or 100. that annual salary required to pay that loan is like $170000. i dont know any aspect of this job that would pay even close to that. youd be lucky to make half. if you work public service in the hopes of loan forgiveness, it will be less than half salary and you could try income based but that means you still have to make a pretty hefty payment for 10 years. ultimately youll have to ask yourself if its worth it.
(Anonymous)
Hi, I read all of your comments and think it is safe to say that on average those of you who came out of grad school with debt are approximately 50k in debt (though of course there are exceptions).
I live in NYC and am trying to decide on the right school for me. Though the CUNYs are very appealing, I am leaning toward Columbia's teachers college at the moment. Would anyone know approximately the tuition cost differences between the CUNYs and a private school such as Teachers College? I don't want to be in terrible debt when I get out of school but I want to enjoy my time in school to the best of my ability... I am just trying to figure which is more important.. any suggestions?
Columbia is about 1200 a credit...the cunys are either 180 or 280 a credit i believe. big difference.
(Anonymous)
Wow! That is an extremely significant difference... I guess this answers my question.. thanks!