I just graduated from undergrad in May of 09 and enrolled in law school this August. Towards the end of the semester, I came to the realization that I really don't want to be in school right now. I really think I made a mistake in going straight to law school without getting any real world experience first. I looked around for jobs and found an amazing one really quickly, and have agreed to start there in January. I am definitely taking a year's leave of absence from my law school.
I have a few questions that no one seems to be able to clear up for me. Do I have to start paying back my loans immediately? There's pretty much no way that I can do this... my job, while amazing, is with the government and doesn't pay very much. I also can't find a subletter for my apartment at school (I'm relocating for work). So I have to pay for two apartments as well as my own living expenses.
My second question is, since I took out loans ostensibly for the entire year (although I don't receive the other half until right before next semester starts), am I entitled to take that loan money now and just have to pay them back later? It would make my life so much easier and I have no problem paying them back over a longer period of time. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.
I took the second semester of my first year off for personal reasons, then returned to school and am doing very well. One important thing to know is that you have a grace period on your loans (for me it was 6 months from the time you either graduate or stop being a student for any reason, temporary or not). This means you won't be required to make loan payments during this time. HOWEVER- if you take a leave of absence and then come back, you have essentially eaten up your grace period. So once you do finally graduate, your grace period will be either shortened or non-existent. There's usually an option to request extensions on grace periods if you're experiencing hardships, but just be aware that you are usually eating into a grace period when you take a leave of absence.
As for your second question... the way my financial aid office explained it to me was, you basically have to earn a certain amount of the loan money to be entitled to it. If you leave in the middle of a semester, you are entitled to keep the loan money for a portion of that semester. You don't have next semester's money yet, the money that you were already approved for, so I'm not sure exactly how that would work. But my guess is that if you haven't attended any classes yet, and won't be charged any tuition for next semester, then you are not entitled to student loan money for that semester.
Of course, this is just my general advice given my personal experience. Definitely work closely with your financial aid office and also directly with your lenders, in order to insure that you are never delinquent on loans.
Good luck with this stuff though. It can be really disheartening to leave and come back, and suffice to say, the odds are against you finishing school. But if you really want it and stick to it, you will get it figured out.