Author Topic: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.  (Read 2486 times)

theSuppleLemur

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Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« on: January 21, 2017, 06:08:19 PM »
Alright guys, sorry if I ramble on for awhile. I'll do my best to stick to the point. First, a little bit of background:

I went to school for 2.5 years as a biochemistry major. I was completely stupid about it, and jumped headfirst into a university and lived almost entirely off of debt. This 2.5 years (along with a 3 month study abroad / internship that cost me 8k, which I unfortunately must regret) cost me 50k, and I have virtually nothing to show for. Not to mention, I didn't like my major. I was racking up enormous debt for something I had no interest in. That's the bad news. The good news, I woke up and now know exactly what NOT to do in college, and I maintained at least an average GPA (3.0). Before I moved back home, during my last semester, I started to gain a huge interest in programming after teaching myself some java on a course I stumbled on online. I thoroughly enjoyed what I was learning and decided to switch to computer science.

I moved back home with my parents to transfer to a school nearby. This way, when I re-enroll in Fall 2017, I only need to worry about tuition, which is roughly 10k a year. Rent and food are free at home, and I am not willing to give that up given my financial state.

In a worst case scenario, assuming I received no grants, no scholarships, and didn't work at least part time to pay for some school, I would graduate with 80k in debt after 3 years (not counting interest that has accrued). I think, however, I can realistically keep that number down to about 65-70k at most. I qualify for some grants, I am going to vigorously be applying for scholarships, and I will be working part-time during school, putting as much as I can to offset the costs. I think I could easily pay 4-5k per year, at least.

So, do you guys have any additional advice to give to someone who is financially stupid but desperately trying to change that?

marty998

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2017, 07:00:36 PM »
In your last year, start thinking about internships/ work experience - even if it means not working a part-time retail job. Giving up $3-$4k so you can start earning $50-$60k or more immediately on graduation is a worthwhile investment.

So, do you guys have any additional advice to give to someone who is financially stupid


Read "the Beatles" case study thread - mostly for what not to do over the next 10 years of your life.

intirb

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2017, 07:07:52 PM »
In your last year, start thinking about internships/ work experience - even if it means not working a part-time retail job. Giving up $3-$4k so you can start earning $50-$60k or more immediately on graduation is a worthwhile investment.

If OP is studying computer science and has good grades, they likely won't have to sacrifice one for the other.  There are a lot of paid summer internships out there for computer science.  Start applying now!

theSuppleLemur

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2017, 07:12:24 PM »
Absolutely. And if I can find internships before then, I will do that. But until I can find an internship / relevant work experience, I'll stick to whatever part-time job I can find. I suppose my point being I don't want to go through another period in school where I'm not earning at least some income while taking out loans to cover tuition. Thanks for the advice! And I'll look for that case study

slb59

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2017, 08:30:07 AM »
Now is a good time to start thinking about your credit score after you graduate since building good credit takes time. A better score will let you refinance those loans at a better rate, plus make things like getting a house (if you're so inclined) infinitely easier.

I'd suggest getting a credit card if you don't already have one and are 100% sure you'll pay it in full each month. This was the ONLY thing my husband and I did differently during college and right after, and my credit score was easily 100 points higher than his. It also wouldn't hurt to put several hundred dollars aside into an emergency fund for after graduation. Moving and starting a job can come with some unexpected expenses, and missing a month on student loans after they come out of deferment is really bad for your credit score.

theSuppleLemur

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2017, 09:51:06 AM »
Now is a good time to start thinking about your credit score after you graduate since building good credit takes time. A better score will let you refinance those loans at a better rate, plus make things like getting a house (if you're so inclined) infinitely easier.

I'd suggest getting a credit card if you don't already have one and are 100% sure you'll pay it in full each month. This was the ONLY thing my husband and I did differently during college and right after, and my credit score was easily 100 points higher than his. It also wouldn't hurt to put several hundred dollars aside into an emergency fund for after graduation. Moving and starting a job can come with some unexpected expenses, and missing a month on student loans after they come out of deferment is really bad for your credit score.

Thanks for this! I appreciate it. My parents are so credit adverse since they were anything but smart with it and ended up 10s of thousands in debt, and always warned me to not get any credit card. I ignored them and got a card for this reason 2 months ago, and so far have been good with it.

erutio

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2017, 10:00:51 AM »
Actually you should be commended for realizing that you didn't see yourself doing what you were studying and cutting your losses and switching.  Many people wouldn't have that wisdom and stuck it out since at 2.5 years you were probably more than halfway through. 

AZDude

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2017, 12:48:27 PM »
$80K is alot, but it is not insurmountable given you are young and just starting your career. You should be fine in the long run, just be mindful of your career while in school. Make connections while studying.

Janie

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Re: Help! I'm 50k in debt with 3 years to go before graduating.
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2017, 01:03:47 PM »
Are you working full time now? You have time to make and sock away some money before you re-enroll in fall. It's generous of your parents to provide you with the opportunity to live at home. In your shoes, I'd work hard to make the most of it