Monday, February 9, 2009

One very expensive phone call.

Today my roommate called to switch her student loans to the extended repayment plan since she can't afford the payments for the standard ten year schedule. This will cost her an extra $22,000 in interest payments if she pays only the new minimum, more if she follows through on her plan of going back to school for a doctorate and putting her (mostly unsubsidized) loans into deferral. She's currently all but thesis on a masters in music theory, and her career options in that field are pretty limited unless she does ultimately go for the Ph.D.

I can't quite imagine taking out tens of thousands of dollars in loans that will be with you for life and not even bothering to calculate what your payments will be until they start coming due, but I'm trying very hard not to be judgmental. Students in the arts just aren't funded like students in the hard sciences, and I'd probably still plan on a Ph.D. even if it meant taking on debt. (I miss the lab.) Still, between my roommate's student loans and credit card debt that she may finally kill off sometime this summer if all goes according to plan, which I sort of suspect it won't, I sometimes feel like I'm living with a cautionary tale. It's nice to have compound interest working for me rather than against me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think students don't really have a grasp on what they owe, or even, what $40k in loans might mean for their future. Until they are done, and it is too late. Really, it is shocking. I read a pf blogger who just found out what her balance was and what her payments will be, and she graduates this year. I don't think this is uncommon.

You'd think that living/working for a year would have scared her from taking on more debt for a PhD.

If I wanted a phd, i maybe would take on SOME debt for one... but I'm in hard science too, and if you can't find someone to pay for a science phd, you probably shouldn't be getting one.