Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Where would you go under the circumstances?

Chicago
 22 (62.9%)
New York
 5 (14.3%)
Columbia
 6 (17.1%)
Iowa
 1 (2.9%)
Minnesota
 1 (2.9%)

Total Members Voted: 27

Author Topic: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $162,000 debt  (Read 669 times)

cyked13

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5 schools, between $47,000 and $162,000 debt
« on: April 11, 2006, 03:10:57 AM »
Chicago: $119,435 total debt; $1,400 monthly debt payment; $16,800 annual
New York: $142,100 total debt; $1,700 monthly debt payment; $20,400 annual
Columbia: $162,489 total debt; $1,850 monthly debt payment; $22,200 annual
Iowa: $47,397 total debt; $569 monthly debt payment; $6,828 annual
Minnesota: $83,841 total debt; $950 monthly debt payment; $11,400 annual

Those are my estimated debt loads, all things being equal.  I received merit awards at all five schools.  N.Y.U.'s merit award is actually the most generous.  I am a Midwest resident with an interest in government, public interest and/or academia.  I want to work in the Midwest (Chicago, Minneapolis, Iowa) or Washington D.C. 

Given my career aspirations, I am sensitive to debt and very interested in loan forgiveness programs at the schools that have them.  Chicago will forgive up to $10,000/5 years post school, it forgives loans annually, and it allows you to work at a firm for a year or two before entering the loan forgivness program without financial penalty (other than lost year(s) of eligibility).  N.Y.U. also allows "temporary" firm work, it has no forgiveness cap like Chicago does, but it requires five years of qualifying employment before loans are forgiven, and it has all sorts of arcane rules and regulations that reduce forgiveness totals.  Columbia likewise has no forgiveness cap, but they penalize you for law firm work and they require seven years of qualifying employment before loans are forgvien.  I've decided I could do law firm work for a year or two to help pay off loans.

All other things being equal, does any school come out ahead?

aphrael

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2006, 03:15:54 AM »
If you are sensitive to debt and want to work in the midwest, why is Iowa not an immediate first choice for you?

pooper

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2006, 03:25:05 AM »
Check to see who has the best LRAP.  I think NYU probably does, and Chicago probably doesn't.

Don't even consider Iowa.  You have aspirations that are not in Iowa.

If academia is a really big deal for you, Chicago is probably best, but not by a whole lot.

NYU is filled with public interest types, and I bet there's a reason for that.  Make sure to check all the LRAPs out though--for instance, I thought Columbia was trying to improve theirs.
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cyked13

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2006, 03:29:56 AM »
Factors weighing against Iowa...

- I've been to Iowa City enough to know that it isn't much different from where I am now.
- I think academia is pretty much out the window if I go there.
- I've been led to believe going to a top six school is worth something in terms of the experience itself and the career opportunities that follow (But I think that question is the point of this thread!).

LRAP discussion...

Actually, by my estimate Columbia's comes out ahead versus N.Y.U. and Chicago for employment in the ~ $50,000 range.  On the other hand, Chicago's is like guaranteed money... you need only stay in qualified employment for one year to receive $10,000 in loan forgiviness.

shaz

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2006, 03:30:47 AM »
yeah, iowa looks like the one.  then again chicago does have a lower cost of living than new york and you can probably swing a nice 1br for 1000 a month.  and you don't really need a car in any of these cities so i vote for either chicago or iowa.  i would actually lean heavily towards chicago and 3-5 years of firm work to chunk that debt down to something that's more manageable.  i know you have other aspirations but those few years of firm work will make your resume for academia.  
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cyked13

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 03:34:23 AM »
Actually, those figures include cost of living adjustments that aren't necessarily reflected in each school's cost of attendnce (compared to other schools, N.Y.U. really lowballs cost of living considering a bedroom costs you $1350/month in Greenwich Village).

One thing the estimates don't reflect is summer earning potential (summer positions at major law firms) that I presumably wouldn't have at Iowa and would have perhaps less so at Minnesota, but would have if I wanted it at Columbia, Chicago and N.Y.U.  That could cut ~$10-15k off of the total indebtedness for those options.

cyked13

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2006, 03:38:49 AM »
Shaz:  Good point about the car!  I forgot about that in my accounting... plus I think it is a huge plus to live somewhere you don't need a car.

pooper

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $167,000 debt
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 03:52:37 AM »
Well, you don't need a car in Iowa City I suppose, it would just suck.  True story:  While working on a political campaign in Iowa, I took a taxi in Iowa City once.  It was an early 80s Chevy Caprice wagon with the back compartment filled with aluminium cans.  The driver, a 50-year-old woman, was both drunk and high and rambled nonsensically.

Calculating LRAPs has got to be complicated.  I don't know any specifics, although I've heard quite a few complaints about Chicago's.

There are other opportunities you get, coming from a T6, that help ease the debt.  For instance, some biglaw firms offer "fellowships" where people from prestigious clerkships get paid a lot of money to basically do pro bono work all day.

Of course it's hard to get that.  But after you weigh the connections you make and the experience you'll have, you'd have to take CCN over Iowa even if there was no such thing as an LRAP.
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MindTheGap76

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $162,000 debt
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2006, 06:16:14 PM »
Hey, I just ran across this thread.  Cyked, did you negotiate with Chicago for this increased LRAP, or are you one of the people that's part of our "pilot" LRAP program?

Also, I would cross Iowa and Minnesota off your list.  Absolutely no reason to consider them.  They are in a different (lower) league, and your opportunities will be severely limited vs. CCN.

kree

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Re: 5 schools, between $47,000 and $162,000 debt
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2006, 10:20:28 PM »
i say chicago.
and your post made me feel less bad about the 99k i'm going to be in debt..good to know we'll all be in debt together!
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