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Author Topic: *Please* -- help me sort out finances  (Read 988 times)

CheezWiz

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*Please* -- help me sort out finances
« on: March 24, 2005, 11:19:29 PM »
I have been rejected at most of the schools I thought I had a chance to get into.  I now only have slight to far reaches so I am being realistic and focusing on the one and only acceptance I have received which is at Western New England.  This is the first time I am out and on my own financially (no paternal help).

In my estimation I am looking at $49,753 per year or $149,259 for my JD.  Thatís tuition and fees, insurance, $1,500 for books (is that too high/low?), and $1,500/month living expenses.  I will qualify for subsidized student loans but, of course, my amount is over the amount one can barrow.  So I have to add X amount for interest for a private loan to that.  So $160,000 to $170,000 for the whole enchilada.

I want to do public interest.  WNEC is a T4 school.  Those two things combined will make me lucky to make $40,000 to $5X,000/year post grad. Am I about right with this?  I think I can live on $3000-$4000 a month so that leaves me making payments of just under $1,000/month to the loan.  So it should be paid off in about 14 to 15 years.

Am I missing something? What are your thoughts on paying a premium for a lower-grade (that sounds horrible) law school?  Iím down and in a really bad spot right now :'( Pease share your thoughts.

InVinoVeritas

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2005, 11:35:16 PM »
public interests jobs tend to pay around the $40K range regardless of the school you attend. what you should do is find out what kind of loan repayment assistance programs (LRAP) the school offers.  many schools offer some kind of assistance for graduates who do public interest work.  unfortunately the really good programs tend to be at schools that are ranked higher. (they tend to have larger endowments or relationships with big donors who fund these things.)  there may also be other post-graduate resources available outside of your school, although i'm not at all familiar with these. 

i would advise you to find as much grant (free) money as you can within and outside of the school to help pay for your law school expenses.  paying off a loan of around $140K can easily run you over $1000/month once you graduate from school.

Eegahh

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2005, 11:37:15 PM »
Wow, sucks to be you.  Have you thought about waiting a year and saving up money while studying like crazy for the LSAT?  I don't know your numbers but if you do good enough on the LSAT a second time through you could either A) Go to a better school where you'll have a higher starting salary or B) Get a scholarship to some T-4.

If you absolutely have to go this year, I guess my only advice is to forget about public interest law for now and focus on something that pays better until you can afford to do the kind of law you'd ideally like to.  

Oh, and I don't know off the top of my head what city WNEC is in, but $1500/mo for living expenses seems really high.  I did undergrad in super-expensive SF, and managed to get by modestly, but not all that badly on about $1000.  I'm sure you could do the same or even cheaper.
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Ninja

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2005, 11:50:11 PM »
Don't forget about taxes.  50K will end up being about 35K after taxes.  This will give you about 3K per month to work with.  In my opinion, a 1K per month payment with a 50K or less salary will be difficult.

angmill08

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2005, 01:24:46 AM »
I just received permission to defer admission one year from the school I plan to attend in order to save some more $$ before moving and going to school. Defering a year, especially if you can live with parents or otherwise keep living costs low, might be a good plan. Also, you could apply to some in-state schools w/cheaper tuition. I would re-think paying top dollar for a school that you are not really excited about unless you have no other options.
 
That said, if a top dollar school does interest you, I say borrow away, even if you are planning on a public interest career. You need to follow what you want to do. Would you rather make $1500/mo debt payments, live cheap, but be doing work you care about, or grind through work you don't like but be debt free? I've been in situation #2 for the past few years, and being debt free is a small consolation for the nagging feeling that I am wasting my time, talents and energy.

You have a chance to pursue a career you are passionate about. That is a great opportunity! (I'm not trying to downplay your anxiety, frustration or disappointment here, I am just trying to give you a pep talk.) HTH...
164/3.46 Undergrad GPA, graduated college in 1996.
Applied: UT Austin (ED), Univ. of Houston, George Washington U & American U.
Accepted: Univ. of Houston, GW, American
Attending: GW, Fall 2006

Ninja

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2005, 02:11:48 AM »
Well, I've been making good money in a job I'm not so passionate about too.  The only thing is that it is my dream job from ever since I was a kid.  Kind of a bummer to find out it's not all that great.  I guess I'd say it's hard to predict what kind of job you would really like until you try it.

On a lighter note, maybe public interest will work out great for you.  If it does, the payments will be a strain, but the job satisfaction will make it bearable, and eventually you will pay off those loans.  If it doesn't work out, a JD is a good thing to have and will give you a lot of opportunities to find other jobs.

Hotel Yorba

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2005, 02:28:23 AM »
I'm looking at attending Penn State for about 40K a year (tuition + living), and I already have 20K in undergrad.  I will be hovering nicely at around 150K when done. This definately sucks, I hope I can handle it, but I must go this year I'm 25 and want to start my life again (already did once at 18 when i worked as plastic injection mold designer, then moved back home to finish undergrad). Actually feeling heat of debt sinking in I sent one last app to Toledo, I am MI resident and would get in-state tuition, still I realy don't think I would choose Toledo over Penn State anyway! Oh well, I'll just let my credit go to sh!t after law school if I can't pay loans and use wife's credit and cash to buy stuff.

CheezWiz

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2005, 04:34:56 PM »
Thank you guys so much.  I have taken three big breaths INNNNNNNNNNNNNN and OUUUUUUUTTTT and have refocused on getting the money rather than being sad about not having it  :)

dave303

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2005, 05:16:23 PM »
Deferring a year wouldn't help much financially even if you are already making 40-50k a year and able to save a majority of that. After taxes you might save 15-20,000 dollars which would barely make any difference to a debt of 150,000.

Lulu

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Re: *Please* -- help me sort out finances
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2005, 05:54:53 PM »
I'm assuming you're pretty fresh out of undergrad if you're facing being out on your own for the first time without parental help, so maybe they'd be willing to work something out with you-- perhaps with an interest-free loan that could help you cover your living expenses? That could cut down your debt a little bit.