Law School Discussion

LOANS: How much are your loans & how much is reasonable? Dont want a bad invest.

Hi, I'm a few months away from being a 1L at NYU. Get to the top of the story, my budget looks like I'll come out of this with 175k of debt. Is that a reasonable amount of debt to carry for earning an NYU degree? I want the facts, not just that its a great school or whatever. What do YOU think you'll be carrying in loans? How do you feel about that?


Long story..
My mother and I have created a budget for me. The school sets out ~77k as the basic amount of tuition/books/housing/food. However I have other expenses (I understand some could be cut should I really need to make cuts)....we are unsure if we should get rid of my car, although we can insure it for 70% less if I have it parked for a few months at a time. My twin is in graduate school in another state and I live 5 hours away from my actual home.. add money for that.. add at least 1800 for a professional wardrobe (spread over 3 years)... money each year for other clothes.. cell phone bills, the times i break *&^% unnecessarily, and the cost of a several nights out a month with a few drinks at a bar, and the amount I think I'm looking at spending sounds like ...90k a year in expenses. I have an expected contribution but of course I can borrow past that without having to ask for a budget readjustment from NYU's part. So no hassle there. I can just borrow if I want.
I anticipate contributing about 45,000 and my mother 50,000 to this whole experience, leaving me with.. yeah, 175k in loans....

So, I am interested in public interest, and at NYU the LRAP will pay back only a certain amount of money, whatever is required besides stafford loan and your expected contribution to meet their bare bones budget... Amazingly enough, this number works out so that I can borrow about 60k a year over the three years without going beyond what LRAP will cover. With my expected costs beyond my mother's and I's contributions (175 - 3(60))= -5 ... I actually stay just within LRAP's allowable debt burden. So it does seem to me that NYU considers this reasonable.

My fear is that, while it is allowable to have this much debt, many other students will actually carry much less debt. Also, I never think budgets work too well, I'm not a big believe in statistics and accounting's purity... for example my budget includes NO income from myself, just savings, because I have no idea if I'll get a summer job that makes money. So I guess some stuff just will have to play out....

Any advice would be great..


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I would ditch the car. Driving in NYC is a major hassle- not worth it at all.

Spending 45k/yr in living expenses is absolutely absurd (assuming 45k of tuition with your 90k figure). You should be able to live, even in NYC, for 20k/yr. Get roommates, live in Brooklyn. The debt isn't worth it.


driving is awsome, dont listen to haters.  ;D

Not in NYC. I have been to New York and can honestly say, the only way I will ever go back is if I am accepted into Harvard. If not, I will never step foot in that state again. The upside to New York is the great food you have easy access to, the museums, the models, and that is about it. I hate dealing with that large infestation of people and endless amount of Taxis. Do not drive in New York nor take the subway. The subway was grimy, looked like it had cockroaches ready to ride on the train with you, the people looked a bit mischievous, and I did not sit nor touch anything when I was on the subway. I hated it. So, for the rest of the trip there the family used a limo service, DJ's, I recommend them.

If you do plan on living in New York, ditch the car and pocket the money. You will not need it nor will you use it due to the hassle of parking and the like.

The car is, which I thought I said but maybe I didnt, NOT for NYC... It's basically the issue of I may be home for month long period in winter, 3 months in summer (depending on where/if I work) where if I dont have a car I basicall cannot move. I'm from a pretty not well-connected area. I would ditch it if I was confident that I would be remaining in NYC almost entirely for years to come but I'm not sure yet.
It is pretty shocking to separate out for me that basically I'm budgeting over 40 a year in personal expenses. I think I'm just nervous about what NYU's budget was, not trusting it included much at all, so aside from food and sleep I assumed it included no room in it for anything else like personal expenses. I guess I should revisit what I should consider 'already covered' by room and board expenses themselves. And then also it just sounds like I have a lot of cutting to do in lifestyle.
Honestly, however, it will be hard for me. I have a real managerial mother type approach where I'm convinced that all the uncontrollable expenses I could possible occur will ALL occur, EVERY year.
I imagine that my real pattern is that I will go in the first year 'overloaned', find out I didnt need as much $$ as I got, and then really tighten up loans the second and third year. But for my psychological health I'd rather do it that way then go in fearing I will have no money and have to beg to pay some unexpected bill. 

Also the getting roommates and living in Brooklyn will have to wait for 2L because I'm living oncampus the first year... and I hear those Williamsburg poorly fitting pants-wearers have driven up rents quite a bit.. might have to get myself to Queens..