Another 30-something with kids here. I'm going to second what someone else said about becoming a scholarship whore. Sleep with the dean if you have to... or at least rub his feet. I'm obviously just kidding (that is obvious, right?), but scholarships will make all the difference. I had a choice between UT and Baylor (I live equidistant from the 2), but I chose the lesser-ranked school because they're paying my way. This allows me to keep my loans within the subsidized amount so that my family can still do things like live in a house and eat the occasional box of Hamburger Helper.... spread out over 3 days. I'm not planning on eating at all, myself. When all is said and done, my MAX debt-load will be %56,000, including my undergrad debt, AND I'll be able to attend full-time without working. TOTALLY manageable. We will have to make some common-sense modifications, of course: getting rid of cable TV, switching from high-speed to dial-up internet, no more meals out, putting off buying a new car, etc. I've had some people tell me that it was a dumb choice, because I'd make more money as a grad from UT, but I ask you... doing what? BigLaw??? AS IF! I'd rather commit ritual suicide. Twice. My personal goal is public interest law, and I won't have the debt to drag me down and force me to sell my soul to some firm with a ridiculous name like Hairy, Finicky, Schleb, and Moe, LLP.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with much of what is being said on this thread! Student loan debt is not the same thing as credit card debt or debt from car payments. First off, the interest rates on student loans are as low as 1 to 3 percent.(And if anyone out there is paying rates higher than this, you need to consolidate.) The rates on credit cards are more like 10 to 20 percent. Even the rates on cars and homes are much higher than the rates on student loans.Furthermore, I think that you have to view the two differntly. If I looked at the amount of "student-loan debt" that my live-in boyfriend and I have from my undergrad loans and his medical school loans as "debt", I would probably think twice about going to LS, too! The difference is that you have to look at student loan debt as an investment....not as another car or credit card payment! My boyfriend and I will probably owe about $200k (combined) by the time I am finnished with law school and he is finnished with his residency....and this amount isn't even that bad considering that many of the people he graduate with from Med school owed $200k by themselves. However, this $200k is nothing considering the difference between what we will make (over a lifetime) with our degrees versus what we would have made without them.Besides, the OP can defer student loans...and while she is in school, the gov. will even pay the interest on any subsidized loans! Or she can take 40 years to pay them off if she has to! And many law schools offer loan repayment assistance programs and there are even government programs for loan repayment if one goes into areas of law that benefit the public good and are not paid as well.
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