Author Topic: How much in student loans??  (Read 3737 times)

albireo13

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How much in student loans??
« on: September 05, 2018, 06:30:25 AM »
I am wondering how much student debt you have, or your kids have, after college?
We have 5 kids and can only help each with 2 years of college.  The rest they have to come up with.
We are trying to keep their debt to $50K max, each. 

How big a burden is that??   Success stories with paying down the debt?
How much debt have you/your kids had to deal with?


Thx,
Rob


mxmoney

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2018, 07:29:37 AM »
I came out with ~$25k in debt. After three years I've paid off about $10,000 but I work in a high-paying field (software engineering). $50k is not bad, not great.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 08:12:12 AM by mxmoney »

DS

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 07:48:36 AM »
Came out with about $35,000. Down to about $12,000 now, 4 years later. Hoping to be done after 6 years.

SillyPutty

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 07:53:29 AM »
I had about $15k, which I was able to pay off in a few years with a low-paying job.

My suggestions:

- Be honest with your kids, and tell them what's affordable and what isn't. My parents told me I couldn't go to my top choice because the price tag was too high. It sucked then, but I am so, so thankful now.
- Encourage them to be resident advisors. My college covered room and board for RAs, so I ended up saving about $45,000 over 3 years (again, sucked then but I'm thankful now).
- Consider community college for the first 2 years
- Have them apply to as many scholarships as possible. Even a few small scholarships can make a difference

Good luck to you and your kids!

YoungGranny

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2018, 07:55:02 AM »
Came out with about $20k - paid it off in a year and never looked back. $50k is definitely a lot to swallow as a young adult could they look into more scholarship options? I was diligent about applying for everything/anything I even remotely qualified for and shaved off $10k a year. Or perhaps going to community college for the first 2 years? I knew friends that did that and they still graduated in 4 years with the same degree at a fraction of the price.

rubybeth

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2018, 07:56:46 AM »
Went to the local state university for undergrad. Parents paid tuition, I paid for books by working. Lived at home. Debt at the end $0. I think tuition was around $200/credit at that point, 15 credits per semester was common, and I never took summer classes, so about $24k.

Went to private college for graduate degree. Ended up with around $36k in debt. DH and I did snowball method for our combined debt around $53k, paid it all off in around four years.

A few tips: encourage your kids to start working ASAP, and make them save half of what they earn for later. A friend whose parents did this are heroes to me. She ended up working her way through college and by the time she was done, she had enough for a down payment on a house. Also, state colleges and universities have gotten more expensive, but I think they are still a good value. If you live near a public university right now, see how soon your teenagers can take credits. I know many people who have done post-secondary enrollment in high school and gotten a few credits under their belt for the cost of books. Not sure if other states have this, but MN does: https://education.mn.gov/MDE/fam/dual/pseo/ And, look at possible transfer curriculum (associates degree) at community or technical colleges. The first two years can be knocked out very cheaply, then they can transfer to complete their major at a state college/university.

Cranky

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2018, 09:23:13 AM »
3 kids, one still in college, no undergrad debt.

Dd#1 - super great student, recruited by many colleges, didn't take the absolute best offer but went to excellent, very expensive college of her choice with excellent scholarship. She did have a campus job and worked for a caterer every summer, so provided all her own spending money.

We paid our EFC, which came to about $10k/year. I went back to work part time and covered that.

Dd#2 - just as smart, but not as, um, devoted to school. Went to state school in next state which gives in-state tuition to Ohio residents. Small scholarship. We actually paid more out of pocket for that, but still my part time earnings covered it. (She graduated with honors, so did get her act together.)

Dd#3 - finally someone who wanted to stay local and go to the university where her father works! And she gets free tuition! But - after the first year she wanted to move out, so she has worked two part time jobs and gone to school part time for what seems like forever, but the end is in sight! We still have to pay everything classified as "fees" which is more than you might think, about 3K/year, and we've chipped in to help out with other expenses as necessary.

Dd#1 does have debt from grad school, though.

Laura33

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2018, 09:32:06 AM »
Honestly, I'd say engage your kids in this -- it's their debt, so you need to teach them to evaluate it.  $50K is completely manageable for someone who graduates with an EE degree and goes to work for BigTechCo at $80K+.  But if you want to major in Early Childhood Education and work in a daycare for $22K/yr -- or if you top your $50K in undergrad loans with $250K in vet school loans so you can make $80K/yr -- you are going to be screwed for a long, long time.  The amount of debt needs to make sense for each kid's career plans and life goals.

Also work with them to explore ways to keep the debt down.  They can work in HS and college.  They may be able to do dual enrollment at the local CC -- my school does this (kids get both HS and college credit for the classes, and they can take up to 4 classes at the CC tuition-free, and any more than that is half-price -- and all credits transfer seamlessly into the StateU system).  They can and should apply to some less-selective private schools that will throw money at them to improve the school's numbers.  They can take advantage of compressed programs (some of the schools we are looking at offer a BA/BS in 3 years, or a BS/MS in 4).  Etc. etc. etc.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 10:33:05 AM »
I had 40k and wife had about the same.

But, mine was from a single year at an expensive private, after which I switched to CC then state and paid cash as I went along (worked full time throughout school), and wife's was from just small loans over 4 years, no help from parents at all for either of us. I paid mine off about 2 years after school ended, and we're almost done with the wife's but it's a low rate so we're riding it out.

If you can pay for 2 years for each kid, consider this: they go to CC and pay everything: tuition, books, etc. They live at home for the 2 years it would take, and work to earn their money to pay for CC and transportation. Then, you pay for their last 2 years at a state school. They get out with no debt, and it gives you an extra two years to build up college savings before the oldest gets to their transfer school.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2018, 12:34:30 PM »
I am wondering how much student debt you have, or your kids have, after college?

$0. I came out of university with an engineering degree and some savings due to joining the military on an educational program in exchange for wearing a uniform afterwards for a few years. Looking back on that it was one of my first major life choices and one of the ones that set me up really well for success both financially, educationally and in terms of personal development.

thesis

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2018, 09:12:55 AM »
IMO, $50k is insane no matter how you slice it.

I graduated with about $27k in loans, but I paid $4-6k along the way. I lived at home and was able to pay this off after about 2.5-3 years. I got into software development, degree was in a social science, so I was very blessed. If I had to go back and do it again, I would have done an associate's degree at a local community college and only continued to a bachelor's if it made sense.

The whole "dream college" is a load of BS. You are there for knowledge first, cool experiences are secondary. $50k to romp around for 4+ years is ridiculous unless your parents are loaded and you're ok pissing money away. Unless that college is going to help you nab a $200k/year job I'm not completely sure how it could be worth it when you can get a good job with the same knowledge through another school. I swear, half of my high school friends peed their pants at night worrying about getting into the best school so they could get the best job so they could...what? Buy a BMW at the end of the day?

[I know I'm ignoring 1 million caveats to sound tough, but I really do want to make a clear point here]

I'm a red panda

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2018, 09:21:14 AM »
I never had a student loan.
I had about $12k in scholarship for undergrad, and my parents paid the rest. (State school in LCOL area, the early 2000s- tuition wasn't insane yet.)

I paid for my first master's degree entirely out of pocket. ($800 per credit hour). I worked full time while doing the degree, it took 2.5 years.  (I was not eligible for GI Bill because my husband was on contract during most of his undergrad, and got out just months before the terms of the Bill were changed so that he would still be eligible.)

My second master's degree I am getting tuition reimbursed by my employer. Books and fees should be about $1,000 a year. I'm paying that out of pocket.


We plan to pay for my daughter's college fully. We put all monetary gifts into her "college fund" and just save the rest in our regular Vanguard account, as we find the tax savings to be minimal and prefer not having restrictions on it.

Edit to add: When we got married my husband had about $15k in student loans, because the terms of his military scholarship changed when he changed majors. We paid that off the first year we were married. His PhD he had a small stipend, so no tuition.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2018, 10:36:43 AM by I'm a red panda »

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2018, 09:22:20 AM »
Are there local community colleges or extension schools that they could go to in order to reduce the debt load. They could go to one of those for the first year or two and then transfer to a different school. Also, state schools FTW. My wife and I both went to state schools, two different Big 10 schools and graduated with significantly less debt than people we know that went to private or out of state schools. No need to go out of state even for careers like engineering, doctor, or lawyer.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2018, 09:30:20 AM »
First degree, $0. State university. Scholarship, parents helped with living expenses, and I worked part time. But then I graduated during the recession and even with a STEM degree ended up with a shit job I hated. Returned to school for...

Second degree. Private nursing school BSN program. 2 years, ended up with somewhere between $60-75k debt, I don't remember right now. That's with some scholarships, using some savings, and having my parents and boyfriend (now husband) help with living expenses, plus paying some from my savings.

For husband:
Ended up with ~$8k debt left over from a study abroad. Parents paid other tuition, and he worked during school. State university.

Masters: paid for by employer, $0 debt.

boarder42

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2018, 09:34:20 AM »
can you kids get scholarships.  If they cant are they choosing majors that will bring good return.  This concept that every kid must go to college is highly flawed.  If you're getting lots of scholarships it means you're smart and should be attending higher education.  You should also be picking majors that bring good returns.  or that will employ you as a paid intern in the summer.  i find the planning of college for your kids far in advance to be a poor choice - if they arent getting good enough HS grades and test scores to get scholarships what makes you think they should even attend?  maybe they should enter a trade or the military or go to community college - in most states you can get full rides to these for free with very little effort in HS while you decide what you want to do with your life.  This would allow you to fully fund college for each kid. 

I'm fundamentally opposed to the mindset that all children need to go to college to be successful and the line of thinking in this post further proves the point that the normal american still doesnt understand that.  and its one reason we have too much debt sitting around.

i came out with 0 in debt - with an engineering degree - i got scholarships my parents gave me 10k the total time i was in school i took the ACT 9 times to get the 30 i needed to get an additional in 10k scholarships from the state.  I worked internships and co-ops in the summer to help come out debt free - i never held a job in school year.  your goal for your kids should be 0 debt and they should be intelectually skilled in my opinion if you're sending them to college. If they must take on debt you should sit down with them and show them what the expectations are for the degree they choose and how long it could take to pay off that debt. Dont send them to college just b/c its what you're supposed to do.  You're also supposed to work til you're 70 and we dont do that here.

marion10

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2018, 10:05:24 AM »
We paid for 4 years of college for each child at private universities- they got significant merit scholarships at each which brought the cost down to a state school. We also got additional money for my daughter after she got another offer at a different school- we asked for more scholarship money and got it. It is a mistake to look at the "sticker price" for a school- you need to go through the application process and FAFSA and see what you are offered.

fatcow240

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2018, 10:20:24 AM »
I am wondering how much student debt you have, or your kids have, after college?
Me $0
Community college (2009-2010). GI Bill for undergraduate(2011-2012).  Work paid for masters(2014-2017).

SO $5000
We both worked while she was in school and paid for most out of pocket (2003-2009).

We are planning on paying for our children's college.  The oldest is 5, so we should have time to save.  I also plan for them to use community college and in-state public universities.
Dd1 $0
Dd2 $0
Dd3 $0

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2018, 10:40:29 AM »
4 year Bachelors in Computer Info Systems(2007-2011) = $18,000  (Had merit scholarships some semesters, no dedicated college fund)
Paid off in 2 years!

Cranky

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 11:19:48 AM »
I don't think any 18yo should go to a college they can't really afford on the grounds that they are going to come out with some super marketable degree - I know plenty of people who started out majoring in engineering/computer science/pre-med/whatever, and discovered that they hated it.

Laura33

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2018, 12:16:52 PM »
The whole "dream college" is a load of BS. You are there for knowledge first, cool experiences are secondary. $50k to romp around for 4+ years is ridiculous unless your parents are loaded and you're ok pissing money away.

$50K wouldn't even cover 4 years at my local State U (where most people require 5 to graduate because they can't get all the classes they need for their major in time). 

Not saying that is the only option or that $50K in debt is reasonable.  Just making the point that even $50K doesn't come close to providing the "dream" romping-around-a-pretty-campus experience nowadays, unless you get significant financial aid.

mm1970

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2018, 02:02:55 PM »
I decided to try and answer this with some math - which probably would have been really helpful to me 30 years ago.  As an aside, I borrowed $11k, had scholarships for the rest, my starting salary was $19,200 a year.  My total for housing and car payment was about 33% of my gross income.  I paid off my loans in 4 years, but note that my salary was $19,200 for 2 years and then jumped to almost $40k, whee! 

I did 3 different standard analyses just for fun.  I think this will be a starting point for when my kids get to this point.  You can google and find out how much money you should spend on debt - total, including housing and car payment.  This gives you the flexibility of finding a cheaper place to live, or go carless, and put more towards loans.  (Sometimes it's not a choice.) 

You can google to see how much you should spend on college repayment - for example, income based repayment plans typically come in around 10-20%.

You can start, instead, with your $50k borrowing total, and figure out what that will cost you a month.

So in this analysis, I chose a gross salary of $50,000.  That's the average starting salary across all college graduates.  The better thing to do would be to consider location, type of job, and actual major.  Will $50k of borrowing be okay?  It depends on the starting salary, the cost of housing, etc.

Now, note that these are the recommended amounts going to debt.  We, as mustachians, would prefer to do better.


CNM

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2018, 02:15:35 PM »
I was privileged and lucky enough to have no student loans after college.  That was a good thing too, as I graduated right after 9/11 and there were few jobs to be had.  I was able to land a full-time job for $10/hr and was barely able to make ends meet with rent, food, and other expenses. 

I went to law school and graduated with about $60K of debt.  Maybe it was a little more, actually, but right around there.  Starting salary for me was $50K, but the raises/bonuses went up a lot year over year.  Unless you're in BigLaw, which I wasn't, most firms will not hire a fresh-out-of-school lawyer for a six figure salary.  Now I think the average starting salary in my state is $60K.  Anyway, took me 6 years to pay off my loans.  I'll note that I had help with some payments from my parents on occasion, and my living expenses were relatively low as I shared the cost with my spouse.  I don't regret it one minute although articles I've read indicate that the law school/new lawyer market is terribly over-saturated now. (I started practicing over a decade ago).

Lanthiriel

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2018, 04:09:47 PM »
I took AP classes my sophomore and junior year, then went to community college my senior year of high school. After I graduated, I only had to do two years at a university. I got a 50% scholarship for those years and my parents paid the rest of tuition, fees, and board. I graduated at 19 and decided I was too young to be out and about in the real world, so I went to grad school. I wound up with about $20k worth of student loans and a degree that absolutely should not have been helpful (Book Publishing), but has been a key factor in landing every job I've gotten in the intervening 10 years. I paid off the loans in 4 years. No regrets.

My husband was a late bloomer who graduated when he was 30 with $60k in student loan debt and a BS in Civil Engineering. I'm still not 100% convinced about the ROI on that decision. Going to school so long really killed his earnings for about 6 years, and I still out earn him with my liberal arts degrees (admittedly I have a lot more drive/ambition). We paid off those loans in 4 years as well, but that's largely due to a couple of very lucrative on-site jobs he picked up in Alaska that paid hefty per diems.

We're now 30 and 35 with a net worth of about $260k. My husband's debt load wiped us out, but probably not as bad as him just not starting a career until his 30s. So I guess my recommendation would be to try to graduate on time as cheap as possible. Short of the Ivys (and maybe not even then), I'm not sure I'd pay for "prestige." Neither of us went to amazing schools and my degrees are kind of ridiculous, but we are now making upper middle class salaries and doing well.

Fishindude

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2018, 04:42:36 PM »
A good friend of ours son just finished up veterinary school and went to work.   Took him ten years and he has $300,000 in student loans.
Seems pretty insane to me and I can't believe his parents let him get so far in debt.

Cranky

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2018, 06:14:30 PM »
By the time you get to get school, your parents are not the boss of you.

And it’s a lot of money, but doctors/dentists/vets do just fine.

mm1970

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2018, 06:58:43 PM »
A good friend of ours son just finished up veterinary school and went to work.   Took him ten years and he has $300,000 in student loans.
Seems pretty insane to me and I can't believe his parents let him get so far in debt.

From reading on this board and doing other analysis, it seems like vet school is a bad bet if you have to borrow money

Quote
By the time you get to get school, your parents are not the boss of you.

And it’s a lot of money, but doctors/dentists/vets do just fine.

I'm not so sure about the bolded.  I actually had that convo with a friend whose niece just started college and wants to be a vet.

First of all, being a vet takes 4 years undergrad and 4 years vet school. Let's say you are savvy and you go state, get scholarships and work, and even live at home - so maybe you can get out of undergrad with no debt.  (This niece is not living at home, so that's out.)  Average in state undergrad costs are about $40k across the country, but that will obviously vary.

Google tells me that 4 years of vet school costs between $147k and $250k.  So let's split the difference on $200k.

$200k of loans, using the government website, will require monthly payments of $2121 for 10 years.

The average starting salary of a veterinarian in 2017 was $60k.  The median of all veterinarians is $88k.
>$25,000 of the $60,000 starting salary will go to loan repayment.


Compare that to med school:
4 years med school at public school: $208k (pretty close to vet school)
Residency (3 to 8 years, let's call it 5):  about $57k, so not all that far off from a starting veterinarian
Average starting salary of a doctor after residency (say, 5 years after graduation?): $190k (student loan payments 13% of your gross income)
Average primary care physician's salary (the lowest paid of specialty): $220k

Cgbg

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2018, 09:05:03 PM »
Am I the first one to point out that 18 year olds can only borrow the federal student loan amount their freshman year - which is $5,500?

A sophomore can borrow $6,500 and a junior and senior can borrow $7,500 each year. Grand total is oh, about $27k. That’s the most they should borrow.

The state universities in my state are almost that amount per year. So... your kids either need to start at a community college (a fine choice) or you’ll have to co-sign private student loans and/or Parent Plus loans. Check out the financial aid boards at College Confidential for advice based on your kids’ test scores, GPAs and your budget.

Dh’s family paid for his engineering degree. His company paid for his masters degree (at an Ivy, no less.) I borrowed $27k-ish for my engineering degree.

My oldest had a 4.0 in high school and a 35 ACT and a 2350 SAT (old scale). He’s on a full ride back east at a public school, in his junior year and studying engineering. He doesn’t require any $ from us at this point. Grad school is on him, but it’s quite likely to be covered because he’s had amazing opportunities for work and research.

Youngest kid had the same stats and ended up with a nearly full ride at an out of state public university closer to us in the West. He’s in his sophomore year and studying engineering. We support him with a few hundred each month (pay his portion of the rent) but the rest of his costs are covered.

Moving off campus after freshman year tends to save a ton. My kids cook and bring their own lunches. There’s a lot of free food on campus - various lunch presentations, breakfasts for the honors college and each campus group seems to have some sort of free food once a week or so.

familyandfarming

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2018, 09:21:00 PM »
I had a group of students talking about "Free college for everyone!" I asked, “What if you would live at home and take classes online and meet as a class every two weeks or once a month for discussion? This type of college would be free for as long as it takes to get that degree. Would you do this?”

They all looked at me incredulously, “I want to go to college football games and parties! That’s what college is!”

So, if money is an issue, make sure your kids want to go to college to learn, not go to parties. To add, there is a very interesting book Paying for the Party that maintains that students from middle to low income families end up after graduation at a lower status because they end up with lesser majors and student debt because they party their way to lesser majors (As example, one of the fastest growing college majors is Event Planning.) while students with wealthy families have the safety net of money to pave their way.

From Amazon: “In an era of skyrocketing tuition and concern over whether college is “worth it,” this is an indispensable contribution to the dialogue assessing the state of American higher education. A powerful exposé of unmet obligations and misplaced priorities, it explains in detail why so many leave college with so little to show for it.”

Though I disagree that colleges maintain inequality (students make choices), I recommend it!

mm1970

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2018, 10:15:41 AM »
Quote
My oldest had a 4.0 in high school and a 35 ACT and a 2350 SAT (old scale). He’s on a full ride back east at a public school, in his junior year and studying engineering. He doesn’t require any $ from us at this point. Grad school is on him, but it’s quite likely to be covered because he’s had amazing opportunities for work and research.

Youngest kid had the same stats and ended up with a nearly full ride at an out of state public university closer to us in the West. He’s in his sophomore year and studying engineering. We support him with a few hundred each month (pay his portion of the rent) but the rest of his costs are covered.

I am hoping to talk sense into my children about this.

On the party front, it's interesting.  My alma mater - we'd all say "work hard play hard!"  But in the end, a bunch of nerds don't "party hard" like you read about in the news.  Not by a long shot.  My friends who have kids graduating from hs and who are local to the university note, however, how much NICER the campus is than it was 30 years ago.  It's not so much the partying that has changed -


a fancy gym, extra-nicer dining facilities, all sorts of amenities that we didn't have in the late 80s.  Hell, 3/4 of my years we didn't have a football stadium or track (they moved it and rebuilt it).  The "gym" that was available for students was literally four exercise bikes, 3 rowing machines, and one set of nautilus weights.  You could only access the pool if you were on the swim team or taking a swim class.

diapasoun

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2018, 12:30:36 PM »
I went to an in-state Ivy and graduated with $42k in loans (the cost of approximately one full year of schooling at the time, including tuition and room). Scholarships (both need- and merit-based) paid for the bulk of my schooling; my parents had an expected $6k family contribution, but as they couldn't pay it, I took that on as loans. I worked throughout school, which paid for spending money and also food (I went off meal plan and cooked in our little dorm kitchen). I had saved up about $3k in high school through after-school work, which I put into my first semester of college and therefore reduced my loans by that much as well.

If I were to look back at what I might do differently in school -- I might seek out more paid work (I worked 10-20 hours a week during the year, and 40-50 during the summers; not sure if working more would have been good, given my courseload, but...?). I would have searched more for other scholarships, too; I wasn't encouraged to and I didn't even really know that I *could* even apply for scholarships. That didn't even seem real to me, that someone would give me money to go to school.

I would not have chosen a different school (the price here was almost the same as every other school I applied to, believe it or not); I got a massively good education and still have usable connections from that time. I also would not have gone to a community college and lived at home during that time; I desperately needed out of my hometown, for my own mental health and my growth.

I went to grad school (PhD, no loans + small TA stipend) and am now into my fourth year of repayment; I'm down to $29k and am slowly accelerating the amount I'm putting into my loans (basically putting money into my loans after I fill my tax-free accounts). I paid off the interest on my non-subsidized loans in grad school, and that was KEY; that kept $4k from capitalizing. The standard repayment for my loans, at my interest rates, is in the $430-470 range per month, with change over time given variable interest rates. When I first graduated and was making about $50k a year in a HCOLA, this was doable but not pleasant; now that I'm a little further out and making a lot more, it's not burdensome at all. Annoying, yes, because it's a lot of money that I could put to something else -- but I don't regret my choices, because I'm handling the less pleasant consequences (student loan payments) just fine and also benefitting from the good consequences.

I think I would feel a lot differently if I were making $40k a year as a school teacher, though.

We paid for 4 years of college for each child at private universities- they got significant merit scholarships at each which brought the cost down to a state school. We also got additional money for my daughter after she got another offer at a different school- we asked for more scholarship money and got it. It is a mistake to look at the "sticker price" for a school- you need to go through the application process and FAFSA and see what you are offered.

This is super important, and something that people aren't mentioning. I didn't pay anywhere close to the sticker price for my school, because I got a TON of aid. Have the kids apply to the places they're interested in, including cheaper options, and see how it shakes out. My Ivy ended up being the same price as one of the state schools.

One thing I would suggest -- once they get their financial aid packages and are choosing, have your kids check out student loan calculators online to see how much they're likely to owe in the end, and how much they will cost them per month on the standard repayment plan. That can be an eye opener.

Goldielocks

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2018, 01:27:52 PM »
There are good statistics for Canada, which you may find helpful in terms of debt versus strain after graduation.  The underlying work / school conditions are quite similar after graduation.  Statistics are always nicer than anecdotes.
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/81-595-m/2014101/section04-eng.htm


50% of students graduate with no debt (okay, that part is not helpful to you, this is partly because of lower costs and partly because loans are harder to get here for students under 22yrs).

Of those with debt, the average debt upon graduation in 2010 was $25k.
Of those with debt, 35-40% had debt over $25k 

Three years after graduation, approx 40% of all bachelor students averaging $25k or less in debt had fully paid off their debt.

Of those students with a bachelors degree only and larger debts, averaging $45k in debt;  only 20% had paid off their debt within 3 years.


TLDR
Conclusion:

Students graduating with debt of $25k and under are able to afford it and pay it off, very often in under 3 years.


Curious side note

Bachelor students in life and physical sciences had larger debt on graduation than many others (Lack of time to work due to course load? Lack of high paying summer jobs? Are these the pre med students that just take on more debts anyway?)

catccc

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2018, 01:44:53 PM »
Zero for me, hoping to get the kids out w/ zero as well. 

I had a partial scholarship the first year which covered about 1/2.  My parents covered the rest.  I lost the scholarship and did not want to saddle my parents with any more tuition, so I worked a ton to cover it, plus negotiated a new scholarship out of the university.  My parents also provided me with a vehicle to get around and a place to stay...  but I lived on campus for 3 years and off campus for 1.  That covers 4 years, but I was in undergrad for 5.5 years.  Spent the last 1.5 years living at home.  I graduated in 2002.

DH graduated with some debt, not quite sure how much.  As a graduation gift, his parents said they'd pay for his student loans.  It wasn't a ton, but I'm not sure the exact amount.  (He graduated in '99.)  9 years later, we got married and he'd long forgotten about his parents "gift."  I brought it up and thought it would be appropriate to find out what was left, if any, and wipe it out.  So we did.  It was a bit over $10K.  I'm going to guess the loans in total were maybe $20K.

IDK what's reasonable, I think the amount really depends on what work your kid decides to pursue.  It's totally dumb that you are supposed to pick what you want to do with "the rest of your life" at such a young age.  I just want my kids to be self-sufficient.

Gondolin

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2018, 08:49:01 AM »
Came out of college with 40k of loans. Paid it all off in 2 years. Engineering major. In retrospect I should have carried it longer and invested more.


onlykelsey

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2018, 09:01:19 AM »
I had no parental help with education.  I truly lucked out in choosing to attend an Ivy league (merit-blind, need-based student aid!) so had very, very little debt from undergrad (considering the sticker price).  I was smarter at 21 than 17, and went to a state school for my JD and MA, so came out with under 100K for eight years and three degrees.  I paid off my over 8% with some summer work in law school (and took out more law school loans because they were 6.X%).  I'm an older millennial, for what that's worth.

In terms of what aid they'll be eligible for, your household income when they complete the FAFSA will matter a lot.  That's the strongest argument I can see for wealthier families really putting money away.  It's not really fair to both not save anythign AND screw your kid on the FAFSA.

I think two years of savings is fine, frankly.   I have a one year old and have put away 6K so far.  I'm aiming for something like in-state tuition for undergrad (not room and board) as a baseline, although I'll probably end up with more than that. 

Capt j-rod

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2018, 09:16:15 AM »
A college degree is an investment. We tell our kids that "you can do what ever makes you happy". This is really a lie. Student loan debt is very different depending on the field you choose. When you graduate there are two outcomes. Either you are looking for an employer, to the employers are looking for you. My wife and I had $250K of student loans when she graduated... Sounds HORRIBLE right? Well when you are a doctor and a mechanical engineer making a combined $350k a year then this number is very manageable. If you have a PhD in English literature? Well then good luck! The majority of people I hear crying about their horrible debt changed majors three times, didn't work during school, and settled for the degree that used the classes that they had already taken. Or worse, they dropped out. College is an investment. Buy the right stock and make money. Buy penny stocks and you will go broke! As long as your student debt doesn't exceed one year's salary then you should be fine.

PoutineLover

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2018, 09:45:36 AM »
I went to university in Canada, graduated from engineering in 5 years at a total cost of about 100k, with contributions from my parents savings for me, my own savings and part time work, grants and 33k in loans. Paid them off in a year with my new earnings and leftover savings that I didn't use in school. Borrowed the max from the government because it was interest free while I was in school and a portion was forgiven each year as long as I filed my taxes. Don't regret it because I went into it eyes wide open and I knew how much the interest would be, how to apply for grants and loan forgiveness, and what my earning potential would be after graduation.

use2betrix

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2018, 07:45:05 PM »
The biggest help is making sure they have a plan for their career after college. They have a specific degree with a good job outlook after. Helping them make smart decisions in those choices is far better than paying for their education.

My parents paid for $25k of my school and I had about $35k in loans. Fortunately they taught me far more about being responsible for my own success in life which has helped far more than any amount of money would.

Some parents throw all the money in the world at their kids and they still turn out to be losers.

jlcnuke

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2018, 11:42:46 AM »
First time I went to college I had scholarships that helped a bunch, parents paid tuition, and I worked to pay for the rest.

Second time I went to college I was working full-time the entire time so I could have paid for it, but I had the GI Bill so that covered the costs instead. 

Personally, barring a degree program practically guaranteed to give a large return on investment (doctor for example, some engineering degrees, Harvard business degree etc), I wouldn't advocate borrowing more money for school than the expected 1 year salary when graduating with the anticipated degree (using actual research, not pipe-dream numbers). If the school will cost more than that, find a cheaper way to get the degree or work more so you don't have to borrow as much to earn the degree.

DoNorth

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2018, 12:02:14 PM »
For undergrad, I had various scholarships for year 1 and used an ROTC scholarship for years 2-4.  The Army sent me to graduate schooling full time for 18 months so that was free and I was paid my normal active duty salary the whole time I was there.  Later, I did more graduate schooling using GI Bill and still have 29 months of benefits left and I'm retired from active duty now so I'm still contemplating how I should use it.  Because of my VA rating, my wife and kids are all entitled to 36 months of educational benefits (@ $1224/month).  The Armed Forces definitely are not for everyone, but I enjoyed it, received a lot of education and never paid a cent.


mm1970

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2018, 04:49:28 PM »
First time I went to college I had scholarships that helped a bunch, parents paid tuition, and I worked to pay for the rest.

Second time I went to college I was working full-time the entire time so I could have paid for it, but I had the GI Bill so that covered the costs instead. 

Personally, barring a degree program practically guaranteed to give a large return on investment (doctor for example, some engineering degrees, Harvard business degree etc), I wouldn't advocate borrowing more money for school than the expected 1 year salary when graduating with the anticipated degree (using actual research, not pipe-dream numbers). If the school will cost more than that, find a cheaper way to get the degree or work more so you don't have to borrow as much to earn the degree.
For a couple of years I was hoping that there would be a reasonable "rule of thumb" like this for college costs/ estimates/ etc.

Then I realized that when I did the math above, it answered the question.

It depends on the interest rates, but at 5%, yeah - it's reasonably safe to borrow a total of approx your first year's salary.  Maybe 1.25x the first year's salary.  That should be relatively easy to pay off.

BAM

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2018, 07:14:00 PM »
Me - none for undergrad. I had an 80% tuition scholarship and my parents paid the rest. For my master's, I did take out loans. Don't remember the exact amounts since they've been paid off for years but, I think, in the $20-30K range.

DH- some for undergrad. Again, don't remember exacts as they've been paid off a long time but probably in the $15-20K range.

First DS - he's in his last semester at a state university. Has had a tuition scholarship for the first 4 years (taking a total of 4 1/2 years) but it didn't go over 4 years. Just got a scholarship for the last semester. Should be debt free but might have to take around $2K to finish paying tuition. DH and I have paid health insurance, Dr visits/meds, use of a car, car insurance, some clothes and food. He pays for his apartment, most clothes/food, gas for car, books, tuition.

Second DS - he will graduate next August from a community college. Will have $4,500 in debt total. We paid same as for oldest DS above and he paid same as oldest DS above. He has the same tuition scholarship as older brother and will graduate before his 4 years are up.

ebella

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2018, 08:37:44 AM »
Both my brother and I went to very expensive private colleges and had less than 50k in loans coming out.  This was very manageable, but largely thanks to my parents starting college funds for us and taking out ParentPlus loans (and some gifts from grandparents).  I feel that my Ivy League degree has opened alot of professional doors for me that I would not necessarily have had were I to go to state school.  But highschool classmates who did go to state schools (my state has some of the best private schools in the nation) are arguably doing just as well professionally and are less debt burdened (granted, none of them went to law school like me which is where the debt really gets crushing).  So, for me, it's not something I would change but I do remember my dad trying to push state school on me and it being a point of friction between my parents.  I worked part-time during college for spending money but never considered the cost of my education at all until graduate school.  I wish my parents had been better about educating me about money and investing so that I could have made more informed choices.
What works for lots of people is clarity re: how much they have for school.  So I might say to your kids, "we have x amount of money (amount saved divided by number of children) for each of you for college and, beyond that, you're on your own."  If they find other ways to pay for college, you'll put that money in a low risk investment account for them to access when they're 22 (or whatever age they would be when they finished college).  This serves the double function of allowing them to learn about the value of compound investment interest and incentivizes them to save in the short-term so that, when they graduate (and are more likely to need the cash for a first apartment or car or move) they feel empowered to start good saving habits.  And then, of course, help educate them about other options to pay for college.  Beyond the standard sports or merit scholarships, many states offer free tuition for anyone with a certain GPA or free community college for 2 years, at which point they can transfer to a state school. Some of my millenial peers (who are debt free and making six figures now) who have availed themselves of these options.  I think just being upfront about your finances and pushing your kids to make their own (informed) decisions about their education is key. The important thing is to have both parents on the same page and full transparency.

robartsd

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2018, 09:36:24 AM »
I think I took out about $22k in student loans to complete 4 years at an in-state university (graduated 2009). I did get about $4k in grants one year. Working summers and very part time during school, carefully shopping for course materials, and living frugally helped keep debt down.

Car Jack

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2018, 12:26:30 PM »
There are many ways to complete a college education and parents these days really need to understand all the alternatives.  In his senior year, my son has gone to part time at his expensive private college and is currently only doing his senior project.  He's taking a couple non-major, pre-approved courses at the local community college.  He's also living at home for the first time.  I understand that the traditional recommendation is to start at CC for the low cost, then transfer.  That's fine, but you really have to know what courses will transfer.  I have a 2 year associates degree and when I decided to go for a EE, exactly 1 course transferred.....English.  Summer courses are also potentially a good way to go if the college has reduced tuition for summer.

On the loans, I had $8k in 1985, wife had $10k in 1984 and son will only have about $15k in loans on top of over $250k, cash flowed, help from both sides of grandparents and a little from jobs my son has had.

GreenGrapes

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2018, 12:30:28 PM »
Are you able to choke down your income starting the year before they enter college?  My parents had lower income and didn't contribute financially, but a very expensive private school was by far cheaper than any state schools due to financial aid.  I graduated after 4 years with under $12k in loans (also worked multiple jobs throughout, but still).

I'd definitely have an employer pay for any graduate studies if possible.

Cgbg

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #45 on: September 12, 2018, 03:57:14 PM »
It’s a two year look back now so you have to slim down that income for the past 2 years...

Goldielocks

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #46 on: September 12, 2018, 05:08:43 PM »
It’s a two year look back now so you have to slim down that income for the past 2 years...

and based on a  tax return, so it could mean closer to 3 years from the date you apply...  Jan-dec 2016; Jan-dec 2017  are the tax returns for FAFSA for kids starting in fall of 2018...

FatFI2025

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #47 on: September 12, 2018, 09:29:04 PM »
I took out $60k for my MS in Finance, which I earned part-time while working. Qualifying for jobs in banking or consulting means that the loan payments are manageable. I left consulting to work in a lower-paying field and the loan is still not a burden.

It really matters how ambitious the student is. If she is willing and capable of earning $200k/yr for ten years to pay off $200k in loans for a poli-sci degree from Harvard, that's a decent choice. It's also ok to go a more conservative route -- CC to state school, engineer making $85k without any debt.

My point is that any level of debt is reasonable if the person has skills and desire to service it. Some people can't handle $50k -- others can manage $350k no problemo. So I guess the challenge for you is to guide each of your kids down the path that will take advantage of their unique strengths and that probably means different education routes, and financing, for each.

robartsd

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #48 on: September 13, 2018, 09:23:02 AM »
I understand that the traditional recommendation is to start at CC for the low cost, then transfer.  That's fine, but you really have to know what courses will transfer.  I have a 2 year associates degree and when I decided to go for a EE, exactly 1 course transferred.....English.  Summer courses are also potentially a good way to go if the college has reduced tuition for summer.
Certainly look at the whole plan before deciding to go to community college before transferring to state university. Generally the path of lease resistance is community college to public university in the same state - should be really easy to get information on how courses transfer. Transfer agreements also change over time, so a break between community college and university can reduce how much is transferable. Also look at the intended university major; there may be lower division major classes that you can't get transfer credit for that will create a long prerequisite chain that forces you to go to the university for more than 2 years regardless of how much general education credits you are able to transfer.

MrsPete

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Re: How much in student loans??
« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2018, 05:25:31 PM »
How much debt have you/your kids had to deal with?
Zero.  Zero debt.  My husband and I both graduated without debt (we worked VERY HARD to make that happen), and helping our kids graduate without debt has been a big priority for us. 

Our oldest is out of school, and she really hit the ground running.  Graduated in May -- tested for her professional license in June -- started working in July.  She's already doing well professionally and has moved up in her job.  She is on track to have her home paid off in two years, and she's saving for her future.  If she'd graduated with debt, she wouldn't be this far along in life. 

Our youngest is still in college, but she's on a similar track.  Her plans are to move back home after graduation, and she plans to start investing in rental homes. 

- Be honest with your kids, and tell them what's affordable and what isn't. My parents told me I couldn't go to my top choice because the price tag was too high. It sucked then, but I am so, so thankful now.
- Encourage them to be resident advisors. My college covered room and board for RAs, so I ended up saving about $45,000 over 3 years (again, sucked then but I'm thankful now).
- Consider community college for the first 2 years
- Have them apply to as many scholarships as possible. Even a few small scholarships can make a difference
I'll add these thoughts:
- My youngest started in community college, and it was a mixed bag as far as quality.  Definitely pay a lot of attention to what'll transfer ... and they may screw you over anyway. 
- Consider the military.  Reserves might be a good idea.  If I had it to do again, I'd do a stint in the military before college.  I didn't even consider it at that point, but it would've been better for me. 
- Scholarships are much harder to earn than they were in past decades, so don't beat yourself up if they don't get any.  On the other hand, if they don't bother to apply, that's another story! 

I took AP classes my sophomore and junior year
Also consider dual enrollment between high school and community college.  In our area, high schoolers can take college classes for free (with permission of their high school pirincipal) -- they just pay for books.  I think it's a better deal than AP classes.  Your AP grade depends upon how you perform on one test -- so if you screw up that one day, you get nothing -- whereas you have more control over whether you pass the community college class.  You can even do the community college classes online, so you don't need to physically travel to the school.

I went to an in-state Ivy
What Ivy League university is in California? 

Have the kids apply to the places they're interested in, including cheaper options, and see how it shakes out. My Ivy ended up being the same price as one of the state schools.
I'm near the end of my career teaching high school seniors, and -- in my fairly extensive experience -- the expensive school tends to end up being the most expensive school.  The "you can go to this private school for less than the state school" happens just often enough to keep people trying to make it happen.

I tell my students:  If you're dying to attend (insert expensive school here), apply to it -- but, at the same time, apply to at least two schools that're more realistic for you financially.  AND apply to a safety net school -- a school you could afford if absolutely nothing goes your way.  If they do each of these things, regardless of whether grants/scholarships come though, they'll have a good variety of choices.