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View Full Version : Debt - Sinking, Swimming, Or Afloat?



Medusa Negrita
08-07-2004, 09:01 AM
At current, if you graduated college or school (doesn't matter if trade school, AA, BA or whatever, and/or you are planning on going back to pursue anything else or something different) and you had to make loans or borrow money, how much are you currently in debt or how much do you owe? If you already started paying on your student loans, please give your beginning balance.

Thanks.

MuthaErth
08-09-2004, 03:48 AM
this poll is VERY helpful to me. i have 1 child starting college, and more to follow. i'm also going to school and need to know if my going to school with my children will put us in a finacial hardship.

lsubabiedee
08-09-2004, 05:53 AM
i think i owe around $15-16,000 for undergrad...and i have a couple of loans now until i can get an assistantship....dang....im depressed now....

floetry22
08-09-2004, 07:48 AM
Right now, I owe around $32,000 which is decent considering that it's for a bachelors & a masters. By the time I graduate at the end of this, it will be around $40,000. But I'm not sweating it because I consider it as good debt. I plan on consolidating & locking in at a 2% interest rate while rates are low. Plus, if you accumulate $2500 in interest, you can write it off of your taxes. As long as you lock in at a low rate, then I wouldn't worry about it.

shay
08-09-2004, 10:25 PM
I'll be in debt for the rest of my life. When I got my BA a few years ago I was already at about 32K. Now with my final 2 semesters of grad school, I am looking at a total debt load of about 75K. Actually now that I just calculated it iut, its a little higher than that.

Umfortunately aside from loans my school does not have a lot of options as far as other forms of aid. Also as I needed to work I turned down a program that was offering a TA position since it only covered a few classes and still would not have allowed me to stop working.

Yeah, I am in major debt but in the long run, it's worth it. I did consolidate my undergrad loans which helps out as well.

tangytic
08-10-2004, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by shay@Aug 9 2004, 10:25 PM
75K.
wow!

luvinme
08-11-2004, 02:17 AM
I owe close to 40k and that's just from grad school. Fortunately, I had a scholarship undergrad, so I didn't have to take out any loans. I know it's an investment, but I hate to think about owing anybody that much money.

natrlbeauty
08-11-2004, 05:06 AM
I owed about 12K after undergrad. I'm in grad school now and I'm already up to 40k. I hate to think about what the number will be when I finally finish. I'm trying to come to terms with the possibility that I might be in debt for the rest of my life.

keiranzma
08-11-2004, 09:27 AM
*sigh* 100k plus. A little undergrad (parents picked up most of that bill), mostly law school. Makes me ill thinking about it. :oops:
However, I did lock in a low interest rate, and thankfully, through some smart investments and my husband's bonuses, I've been able to chop it in half since I graduated.

NikkiG
08-11-2004, 02:02 PM
I believe I started at about $17,000 in debt to student loans. I had 2 small ones and one large one. I paid off a $5000 university loan and a $2000 Perkins loan a few years after graduation. I still owe on the large and only Stafford loan of about $12,000. I refinanced it through Suntech last year and have it automatically debited from my account each month for $137. I don't feel like I'm drowning in college debt as that is my only college bill and is very manageable each month. I believe I have 7 years left to pay on it. I would consider myself to be swimming o.k.

Nikk

shay
08-11-2004, 02:33 PM
Originally posted by tangytic+Aug 10 2004, 06:42 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (tangytic @ Aug 10 2004, 06:42 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-shay@Aug 9 2004, 10:25 PM
75K.
wow! [/b][/quote]
Yeah, its definitely a lot but I was 27 when I went back to school and married, our income did not qualify me for anything but loans, though I did get a few small scholarships.

Like I said my earlier my feelings on this matter is pretty much that it was the right thing to do. Unlike other forms of debt, student loans are worth it.

TNAlex75
08-11-2004, 02:54 PM
I owed 23,000 for undergrad. I am currently in my first year of grad school was 18,500 and I still have one more year to go. Also, I am considering a career in medicine (dont even want to think about that debt right now). I think that I am actually drowning in debt. I hope that it pays off in the end. :huh

crazylove
08-11-2004, 04:48 PM
Nothing. I live in Canada and education it is highly subsidized here. Tuition for uni is like 4500 per year (college is even cheaper)....I study part time so I can pay for when I sign up for a new course and never had to take a loan go in debt. I wish I was Swedish though. I want free instead of cheap!!!!

(I just started school...so you never know what may happen in the future...but I ever need to get a loan... I will pimp the black, female, immigrant thing for a scholarship or bursary.

expecting
08-11-2004, 05:39 PM
I have struggled with the question if student loan debt is really worth it. And based on my internal dialogue, I have come to the conclusion that, for me, it is not.

For one, there are things I&#39;d like to have in life, like a nicer, larger home, and with substantial student loan debt, that becomes less of a probability. Sure, many people think it is "good" debt (as if there s a thing ... HA), but lenders don&#39;t care. They just care how much of a percentage your loan payment is of the 29 percent you can allocate towards recurring payments each month and still qualify for a mortgage. They don&#39;t distinguish between a car note and a student loan payment. Nor do they care if the loans are in deferral because they will guesstimate what your payment will be when they do kick in - which lowers the amount of house you can qualify for. Debt is debt is debt. Theoretically, we might think student loan debt is "better," but from an institutional banking and finance perspective, it is not.

Secondly, the American economy is in a negative state of flux. Jobs and careers that once were the cornerstones of the middle class are vanishing before our eyes. If I complete my M.A. in English (which is the program in which I was enrolled), not only am I already entering a prospective disicpline (higher ed) that is quite competitive and for which there are already many qualified people seeking jobs, the "payoff" probably will not be worth it. In other words, my salary would not offset the debt. For people who are not in the humanities, it might be different, but I know folks with masters and Phds in the humanities who work service jobs and might be lucky enough to teach an adjunct class or two, for which they barely make more than minimum wage.

Therefore, for me, at this point in my life, I do not consider it worth it. I have some loan debt from the graduate classes I took. I plan on paying it off and never, ever taking out any more again. If and when I return to school, it&#39;ll be on liquid dollars I already have in my account, not from a loan from Sallie Mae, the government or any other lending institution.

I would rather invest in real estate, my child&#39;s college fund, family vacations, my 401K, trade classes that virtually guarantee employment or entrepreneurship or other things than be paying for college for the rest of my natural life expectancy.

tran68
08-11-2004, 06:37 PM
Expecting that&#39;s a good post.....from where I sit it&#39;s almost as if student loan debt has grown very similar to house doubt debt where folk don&#39;t expect to pay it off anytime soon. I decided last year that I don&#39;t want to be paying for my house the next 30 years, I mean yeah you get the tax right off but a tax right off is not beneficial for 30 years straight! :shocked And after ridding myself of cc debt I just can&#39;t see myself incurring further debt, other than my house if it can&#39;t be paid off in 3 years or less I ain&#39;t doin it.

nikki25
08-11-2004, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by shay@Aug 9 2004, 06:25 PM
I&#39;ll be in debt for the rest of my life. When I got my BA a few years ago I was already at about 32K. Now with my final 2 semesters of grad school, I am looking at a total debt load of about 75K. Actually now that I just calculated it iut, its a little higher than that.

Umfortunately aside from loans my school does not have a lot of options as far as other forms of aid. Also as I needed to work I turned down a program that was offering a TA position since it only covered a few classes and still would not have allowed me to stop working.

Yeah, I am in major debt but in the long run, it&#39;s worth it. I did consolidate my undergrad loans which helps out as well.

Mine is about the same. I just finished Grad school in May of this year. I went to a private college/university for undergrad & graduate. Wish I had gone to cheaper schools (technical). I do not think the job market is any better. :-P Military here I come. :) :lol

ETA:

IMO- Student loans are not viewed the same as cc debt. You can not place cc in deferment, forbearance, etc. Not everyone will think that it is worth it. But some do. I have heard of plenty people who have a lot of student loan debt who still qualify for good mortgages. As long as they have pretty good credit & the ability to make the payment.

MzNGINEAR
08-11-2004, 08:34 PM
I only owed 15K after doing 3.5 yrs. When I went back that went up to 65K...if not more...

expecting
08-11-2004, 08:39 PM
Student loan debt is NOT viewed any differently than credit card debt or car notes or anything else when you are dealing with a lending institution. If you prequalify for a house, when they ask what your debts are, student loans are not isolated into a more benign category. That student loans can be deferred makes no difference either (see my previous post). The fact that many people mistakenly perceive it as "good" debt is more ideological than anything, in that the pursuit or education is a noble goal whereas the frivolous pursuit of materialism (credit card debt) is not.

But I&#39;d rather be $5k is credit card debt than $30K in student loan debt.

Yes, people can have high student loan debt and still qualify for decent mortgages, but it must be because their income and lack of other debt offset that.

nikki25
08-11-2004, 09:23 PM
@ expecting

Again! IMO! Yeah a debt is a debt! If you can afford the house you can afford it! - Most people I KNOW qualified because of their income etc.

Anyway you seem bitter about your major. You do not want to obtain anymore student loan debt .....fine. For SOME, college degrees are worth the debt. SOME people do not think that $30,000-$100,000 in Student loan debt is much because they have a plan to pay it off quickly. Do not push your experience off on others and say that they will have the same experience.

expecting
08-11-2004, 10:29 PM
I am not bitter, but the thing is, your opinion is not grounded in the realities of the world of finances and loans, when it comes to things like buying a house. The reality is that student loan debt counts against you just like any other type of debt.

I am not bitter about my major or anything. I work within my field and make a decent living. I am doing what I set out to do. I just get tired of the misinformation out there. Because student loan debt is purported to be a "good debt," there are many college students out there racking up loans, taking out more than they need (and living on the rest or spending it carelessly) and having a traumatic wake-up call when they enter the real world and are stifled by their debt.

My husband is a perfect example. No one educated him about what taking on student loan debt meant and it impacts us collectively now.

nikki25
08-11-2004, 11:04 PM
Originally posted by expecting@Aug 11 2004, 06:29 PM
I am not bitter, but the thing is, your opinion is not grounded in the realities of the world of finances and loans, when it comes to things like buying a house. The reality is that student loan debt counts against you just like any other type of debt.

I am not bitter about my major or anything. I work within my field and make a decent living. I am doing what I set out to do. I just get tired of the misinformation out there. Because student loan debt is purported to be a "good debt," there are many college students out there racking up loans, taking out more than they need (and living on the rest or spending it carelessly) and having a traumatic wake-up call when they enter the real world and are stifled by their debt.

My husband is a perfect example. No one educated him about what taking on student loan debt meant and it impacts us collectively now.

Whatever! @ misinformation & "wakeup" call :rolling

People spend with CC carelessly everyday. Student loans, CC...it ALL has to be paid back. It is NOT free money. I assume most students know that. :-P Will they find a job? Did they major in a field that provides a financially rewarding career? All a risk.


Did not know that this thread was not about applying for a $350,000 mortgage with $100,000 in student loans.

floetry22
08-12-2004, 12:38 AM
Well, I think it is a personal issue. I view it as "good" debt per se for me because:

1) I&#39;m not in credit card debt nor do I owe any credit card companies
2) I have a car that&#39;s paid for with CASH (I don&#39;t do payments)
3) I plan on buying or building a home with CASH .. no mortgages for me


I rather owe $40,000 for a graduate education than $40,000 for some vehical that&#39;s going to lose its value as soon as you drive it off the lot! My major is economics so I will have no problem finding a job that will reward me financially in the future. As far as mortgages goes, it also depends on the type of financial institution that you are dealing with. Yes, I&#39;m a student with loan debt, but since I&#39;m in good standing with my credit union, it is almost guaranteed that if I apply for a mortgage loan that I will get it at a decent rate. But stated earlier, I don&#39;t plan on taking out a mortgage. Like someone else mentioned, anything that you decide to invest in is a risk.. that especially goes for real estate, 401k&#39;s, college funds, stocks, etc.. Most students know that loans have to be paid back because you have to complete a loan counseling session before any money is disbursed out and a loan exit session when you complete your undergrad education.

ebonyloc
08-12-2004, 02:03 AM
when i graduated i owed about $30,000 now it&#39;s about $25,000. however i believe that my debt to my education was a good investment. if i had to do it over again, i would. i think about the extra money i could have per month if i didn&#39;t have student loans, but then i remember that without my degree i would have a much lower income so it wouldn&#39;t matter. i feel that i am paying for something that will never be taken away from me. if you don&#39;t pay your bills, you can lose your house, your car, even the clothes on your back. once you earn your degree, it&#39;s yours forever. so yes, i cringe when i think about how much i owe (which is not much compared to what a lot of you owe) and it may take me twenty years to pay it off. but i have something that will last me a lifetime: my education.

by the way.... :app congrats to all you college grads out there

curliegirlie
08-12-2004, 02:39 AM
When I finish law school in the spring, I will owe around $110K. My monthly payment will be around $525. I attended undergrad and grad school at private schools. I finally got smart (read: cheap) for law school and went public. Even though I had scholarships, I wasn&#39;t lucky enough to have parents to pay my bills for me so that&#39;s what my loan money mostly went to. Books, rent, medical expenses, summer school.

No, I don&#39;t like the fact that I am graduating with enough debt to have purchased a house but achieving higher education was what was best for me. As for a house mortgage later, I will work it out. Like someone said up above, better a degree than some overpriced car.

crazylove
08-12-2004, 01:10 PM
I don&#39;t think any debt is good debt. Its still stuff you need to pay off later. My wallet doesn&#39;t know the difference.

I am proud to be debt free. I don&#39;t even owe 5 dollars.

expecting
08-12-2004, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by crazylove@Aug 12 2004, 01:10 PM
I don&#39;t think any debt is good debt. Its still stuff you need to pay off later. My wallet doesn&#39;t know the difference.

I am proud to be debt free. I don&#39;t even owe 5 dollars.
Girl, I&#39;m scared of you.

LOL.

For real, I totally feel what you said. I wish I were in your shoes.

I agree that an education is a priceless achievement, I&#39;m just not willing to pay the price for one right now, unless I can do so out of my own pocket. Hell, the rates of tuition increases are outpacing the cost of living. That&#39;s crazy. And for the money I spent on the graduate classes I took at the private university I attended for graduate school could have nearly paid for my entire program at a state school here!

I am not trying to discourage anyone. I am just expressing my experience and opinion and, hopefully, getting some people to think outside of the "it&#39;s a good debt" box, which can be a myopic way of looking at things in the bigger picture.

shay
08-12-2004, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by ebonyloc@Aug 12 2004, 02:03 AM
however i believe that my debt to my education was a good investment. if i had to do it over again, i would. i think about the extra money i could have per month if i didn&#39;t have student loans, but then i remember that without my degree i would have a much lower income so it wouldn&#39;t matter. i feel that i am paying for something that will never be taken away from me. if you don&#39;t pay your bills, you can lose your house, your car, even the clothes on your back. once you earn your degree, it&#39;s yours forever. so yes, i cringe when i think about how much i owe (which is not much compared to what a lot of you owe) and it may take me twenty years to pay it off. but i have something that will last me a lifetime: my education.

by the way.... :app congrats to all you college grads out there
ITA. There are people who make a good living without a degree but overall it is getting harder and harder to do that without a degree. I have a friend whose husband makes almost 6 figures and he didn&#39;t even finish HS. However he is in his late 30&#39;s and to some degree stuck because he knows if he leaves his current job, he will not be making what he makes now without some paper. He&#39;s a smart guy, invests wisely but still his options as far as growth are very limited.

That was what motivated me to go back to school in my late 20&#39;s, I was earning good money and had no debt but professionally my potential was limited. And while education does not always equal more money but in many cases it gives you options you don&#39;t have without it.

As far as the debt issue, some posters are right when they stated its misleading to say student loans are good debt, you are right its debt and can affect your ability to purchase a home at the rates/amount you want. However it is good debt from the perspective that it is not like credit cards, you did not go on a spending spree, its an investment in your future.

I think its great if people can afford to pay for school without student loans but for many of us that is just not the reality. Like someone said, yes the monthly payments but but then you think about what you might earn without that degree and its just the price of admission.

It is entirely possible to get the house you want with student loans but that has more to do with your income, etc. I think ultimately it comes down to what you value, for some folks debt is to be avoided at all costs, for some its not that big of a deal.

nappyesquire
08-16-2004, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by curliegirlie@Aug 11 2004, 06:39 PM
When I finish law school in the spring, I will owe around $110K. My monthly payment will be around $525. I attended undergrad and grad school at private schools. I finally got smart (read: cheap) for law school and went public. Even though I had scholarships, I wasn&#39;t lucky enough to have parents to pay my bills for me so that&#39;s what my loan money mostly went to. Books, rent, medical expenses, summer school.

No, I don&#39;t like the fact that I am graduating with enough debt to have purchased a house but achieving higher education was what was best for me. As for a house mortgage later, I will work it out. Like someone said up above, better a degree than some overpriced car.
same here. i&#39;ll be in about $106k for student loans after law school. :bis
... just comes with the field. private undergrad, public law school... still expensive as all heck. i could not imagine if i did private for both.

i&#39;m not too worried about this as the job possibilities with a JD are endless. like most at my school i will probably take a big firm job making around $125 in big cities and $100 in smaller ones. $10k raise every year for the first three years... by the time i get married, start a family, etc a good chunk will be paid off. why? because i have no interest in getting a new car, fly clothes, penthouse view, etc in the meantime. i will be pushing my &#39;97 altima for a loooonnng while. $20 for a wedding-- heck naw! i will be eloping in the islands because i am cheap and that is a down payment for a house.

these loans are well worth it to me. at least in the world i live in, it has opened MAJOR doors and given me GREAT access to things/people i otherwise would not cross paths with. to each her own, but i feel like my earning potential will be expontial going this route. it might not seem this way in the short term but in the long run i think i&#39;ll be okay with it. i don&#39;t want to start my own business just yet. i didnt want to pick a narrow trade and pray that my field doesn&#39;t become obsolete. this works for me and the debt just comes with it. :)

peace :heart

PrincessDrRe
08-17-2004, 05:12 AM
I had numerous "Financial Aid Advisors" ask me/tell me I should "sit out a year or two and work" to make money instead of receiving student loans. (I was working, but I was taking care of my family...)

First--I would not have my Master&#39;s by now.....

Second--I would not have begun work on my PhD by now......

I will owe at least $75K, maybe more. You know what? It doesn&#39;t even bother me in the least bit. Why? I look at it like this.....

Thousands upon thousands of African American/Blacks will go out and purchase either a Caddie or BMW without a turn of the head. Neighbors far and wide will admire said purchase...for about a year or two--then it gets old. After about five years, the car is paid off. You have just finished paying off a $25,000 car. However with the financing you could very well be paying $30-35 thousand. Now, you have had this car for 5-6 years....and a new one comes out that you just "HAVE TO HAVE"--so....you go out (don&#39;t even trade the old one or sell it....) and start another note. Five years later--you have two upscale cars that aren&#39;t even worth a fourth of their ORIGINAL PURCHASE value; but you have spent at least $50,000 and change ON JUST THE PURCHASE! We are not even talking about maintaining, insurance, and care of the vehicle.

I&#39;m putting Kompressor; on rims with a Alpine PLUS tricked out Ford Expedition IN MY BRAIN. I&#39;m investing in me. :thumbsup

mochacaremel
08-18-2004, 02:03 PM
I haven&#39;t graduated yet. But as of now, I have $1,300 in Stafford loan debt. That&#39;s from undergrad. When I finally get my degree, I will owe nilch because I am using my military MGIBill to fund the rest of my degree. Before I joined the Navy I was $10k in debt from undergrad and I joined so that I would be in just the very situation I am in now.

Mocha

caramelaggie
08-18-2004, 02:15 PM
I guess that I am in a unique situation and I want to share mine to show people that it is possible. After my second year in college my parents said that they couldnt afford to send me to school and that I was on my own. Dont get me wrong they helped out when they could but I have a younger brother and due to my parents income all they could get was loans. I started taking out loans and then I was just like I dont want to pay this forever. I went to a state school so every summer I saved up my tuition and paid it in cash. I was really lucky to have a job at a bank that I worked part time and went to school full time. That is what I lived off of. Dont get me wrong sometimes it was a struggle and there were a few summers that I worked 2 or three jobs, but I only have $3000 in loan debt. Hopefully other young girls will see this and see that they can do it too. I&#39;m not saying that my way was the best way, but it can work if you are well organized.

gcandis
08-18-2004, 08:25 PM
I graduated with no student debt. I got my bachelors in business with a computer science minor. Instead of buying that fancy car, I bought a townhouse. To those still in school, beware of those credit cards!! I never let mine get over 300 dollars. I know lots of classmates that got caught up. Im rolling in a 95 Honda Accord with 120K miles...bling! :thumbsup

nattylocks
09-06-2004, 02:46 AM
Since I went to school under the Pell Grant many years ago, I don&#39;t have student loan debts. I worked my way for whatever the grant did not pay. I also took a trade rather than degree education which turned out to be very lucrative. They have since cut funding for the grants, and let&#39;s hope they get restored under the next (new) administration.