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  #16  
Old 07-10-2008, 11:47 PM
Blue Skies Blue Skies is offline
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Justme, I'm going to give you some unasked-for advice. And that is to be really, really, cautious about student loan debt.

Don't think in terms of a major/degree at this point. Think in terms of what you really want to DO. Marine biology? Plant research? Teaching? Pharmaceutical sales? Or...? Then contact people who are doing what you think you might like to do. Ask them for an information interview. Ask them what they like about their job...what they dislike...what they would have done differently in terms of preparing for their career. Also ask them about the salary range for their type of work. I think you will find their responses enlightening. IMO you should do this because you are about to invest tens of thousands of dollars of your money. If you were investing this much in a stock, wouldn't you do your homework? Why not now?

Your student loan debt should be proportional to what you expect to earn. Someone getting an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School can take on an insane amount of debt because in all likelihood they will be earning a high income...both right away, and down the road. On the other hand, a teacher with a master's degree and a $60,000 debt has crippled herself for the next thirty years. I'm a teacher, I got my master's with $32,000 in student loans, and I can tell you that the debt was just too much.

I did a quick google and I saw that a salary range for a marine biologist is roughly $40,000 to $70,000. This is a very modest professional salary. With such a salary, I wouldn't advise more than $20,000 or so of student debt, and even that might be rather high.

While a $200 or $300 monthly payment might not seem so bad now (and is probably tolerable for ten years) it can really, really hurt you down the road, especially if you have to pay it over 20 or 30 years. It can prevent you from getting a decent car or from buying your own home. It is like a yoke around your neck.

See what you get in terms of a financial package from A&M and take it from there. Work/study jobs can be a great option. My advice is to keep your education as inexpensive as possible. I think you should strongly consider living at home for two years and going to your local community college. Look into high-school AP courses as well.

Good luck to you!
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2008, 11:50 PM
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pbear19 pbear19 is offline
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I know you said A&M is your dream school, so I don't know if my experience will be at all worth writing about. Ironically, A&M was my first choice, but I was from out of state and the cost was prohibitive. I instead went to a state school on scholarship (which I know isn't an option for everyone, but bear with me) and even had I lost the scholarship I would have had a tiny fraction of the expense that A&M would have been.

And I don't regret that decision for a second.

To each her own, and I am not saying that it's bad to have loans. But as someone who got a fantastic education and a wonderful experience in every way in college, and as someone who got a good job immediately upon graduation with $0 student loan debt, I can tell you firsthand that there are options to going to the big name school. I cried my eyes out when I was 17 and had to make the decision to go to a school that I only applied to as a last resort. But 5 years later with degree in hand I was as happy as I could be, and again, I don't have a single regret. Not having that loan payment helped me out a lot once when money was really tight - it would have meant the difference between paying the rent or not.
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2008, 11:56 PM
Blue Skies Blue Skies is offline
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Originally Posted by pbear19 View Post
I know you said A&M is your dream school, so I don't know if my experience will be at all worth writing about. Ironically, A&M was my first choice, but I was from out of state and the cost was prohibitive. I instead went to a state school on scholarship (which I know isn't an option for everyone, but bear with me) and even had I lost the scholarship I would have had a tiny fraction of the expense that A&M would have been.

And I don't regret that decision for a second.

To each her own, and I am not saying that it's bad to have loans. But as someone who got a fantastic education and a wonderful experience in every way in college, and as someone who got a good job immediately upon graduation with $0 student loan debt, I can tell you firsthand that there are options to going to the big name school. I cried my eyes out when I was 17 and had to make the decision to go to a school that I only applied to as a last resort. But 5 years later with degree in hand I was as happy as I could be, and again, I don't have a single regret. Not having that loan payment helped me out a lot once when money was really tight - it would have meant the difference between paying the rent or not.
What Pbear said! -- words of wisdom.
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  #19  
Old 07-11-2008, 12:29 AM
oncegreek oncegreek is offline
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Justme, you have gotten some really good advice. Be cautious about taking on debt. I was lucky- i did not have debt as an undergrad, but I had to borrow to get my teaching credential. For what it is worth, I ended up leaving my sorority. I, too, worked while I was an undergrad, and it got really tiresome having to pay all of the expenses associated with being in a sorority. If it is worth it for you, then go for it... but think before you rush!

P.S- This is for all undergrads (or grad students)- there are programs out there that will forgive some, or all of your loans, if you are in certain fields. (my loans were forgiven because I taught in a Title 1 school) Also, apply for any and every scholarship that you are even vaguely qualified for. I did not do this an undergrad, but as a grad student, I got a "Leadership Award" scholarship based on my sales awards in my prior job. College is so expensive...leave no stone unturned in the quest for funding!
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  #20  
Old 07-11-2008, 01:01 PM
Blue Skies Blue Skies is offline
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Originally Posted by oncegreek View Post
Justme, you have gotten some really good advice. Be cautious about taking on debt. I was lucky- i did not have debt as an undergrad, but I had to borrow to get my teaching credential. For what it is worth, I ended up leaving my sorority. I, too, worked while I was an undergrad, and it got really tiresome having to pay all of the expenses associated with being in a sorority. If it is worth it for you, then go for it... but think before you rush!

P.S- This is for all undergrads (or grad students)- there are programs out there that will forgive some, or all of your loans, if you are in certain fields. (my loans were forgiven because I taught in a Title 1 school) Also, apply for any and every scholarship that you are even vaguely qualified for. I did not do this an undergrad, but as a grad student, I got a "Leadership Award" scholarship based on my sales awards in my prior job. College is so expensive...leave no stone unturned in the quest for funding!
I teach in a Title 1 school as well, and I was never able to qualify for the loan forgiveness program. Ditto my friend with the $60,000 debt. I think it's a great program when it applies, but it doesn't always do so.

Another point to consider is that college costs can go up dramatically while you are in school. My initial budget for my master's degree was $16,000. Costs ballooned over the 2 1/2 years that I was in school, so that my final bill was $32,000. Ouch!

Graduate students don't get the same sweet deals on loans that undergrads do. Graduate students should absolutely look into getting a T.A., G.A., or similar position because that can dramatically lower your costs.

Also, beware of thinking that you can automatically qualify for in-state status if you're independent and have been residing in your new locale for a year or more. I read, thought I understood, and followed the rules for in-state status and I still got shot down. Why? "Because student loans don't count as income for determining in-state status." Gosh, it sure felt like income to me at the time.

Oncegreek gave some great advice about scholarships. If you are agressive about applying for them, you can do quite well.
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  #21  
Old 07-11-2008, 02:42 PM
couggirl couggirl is offline
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I have been applying to graduate school and noticed that a lot of schools are very strict about giving in state tuition. I have heard a few schools will go out of their to not allow a student to be considered in state for tuition purposes. I guess it is worth while for the school to put in the effort for the extra money, but it seems crazy to me.
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  #22  
Old 07-11-2008, 02:53 PM
lyrelyre lyrelyre is offline
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Originally Posted by couggirl View Post
I have been applying to graduate school and noticed that a lot of schools are very strict about giving in state tuition. I have heard a few schools will go out of their to not allow a student to be considered in state for tuition purposes. I guess it is worth while for the school to put in the effort for the extra money, but it seems crazy to me.
I don't think this is crazy. The point of in-state tuition is to give a break to the people who have been paying the taxes that support the institution. If a student hasn't been contributing to the economy of a state I see no reason to reward him or her with in-state tuition. Additionally (and this is a broad generalization from very brief research), approximately half of people settle in the same state in which they were born. Thus, statistically, charging in-state tuition to those who are actually from the state continues to contribute to the economy and culture of a state.
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2008, 04:41 PM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Getting back on subject, if you are just going into your senior year, now is the time to find a job. You still have 6 or 7 weeks of summer left, and during the school year, you can work after school a few days and weekends. A part time job could earn you enough over the next year to pay for sorority dues and extras.

Some job ideas:

- Part time office work. Whether it's a 3-6 gig, or an office needs someone to do the filing, etc., during any hours you are available, these jobs usually pay a few dollars above minimum wage. Ask your parents or friends' parents, at church (put your avilability in the church bulletin) to see if anyone needs ongoing office work. Also try your town hall, who might not have the $$ to pay full timers. I worked in my town rec office a few times a week during HS.
* Doctors offices are great places for this type of work bc the people at the front desk are doing 5 things at once.

- Babysitting - hit or miss, unless you get a part-time nanny-type job, where you are needed on a specific schedule. Again, ask around for people who might need you. If you live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, you could get a lot of work, but would be mostly on weekends.

- Depending on your skills, peer tutoring. Ask your school or town if they have it. The work may not be steady, though.

- If you are interested in retail, get a part time job now, before the Christmas rush. The people they hire for the holidays are usually let go in January.

- Depending on your skills or hobbies, there might be a way to make $ off that. When I was in college, one of my professors was writing his dissertation and needed help organizing, proofing, typing, resource citing, etc. along the way. I was an English major/Journalism concentration, so this was up my alley. I also typed up other students' papers (this was before everyone had computers) and charged $3.00 a page (for typing, proofing for grammatic/spelling errors, and resource citation).

I hope that you find a way to do all that you wish. Good luck in your endeavors!
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2008, 08:25 PM
oncegreek oncegreek is offline
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Cool I really should be working on a paper....

www.marieclaire.com- the website that goes with the magazine- has a great article on consolidating student loan debt. (I know this because I am playing around on-line instead of working on my paper.... procrastination for on-line students.... so much more fun than posting in the discussion forum for my history class!)
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  #25  
Old 07-12-2008, 12:50 AM
Blue Skies Blue Skies is offline
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Originally Posted by lyrelyre View Post
I don't think this is crazy. The point of in-state tuition is to give a break to the people who have been paying the taxes that support the institution. If a student hasn't been contributing to the economy of a state I see no reason to reward him or her with in-state tuition. Additionally (and this is a broad generalization from very brief research), approximately half of people settle in the same state in which they were born. Thus, statistically, charging in-state tuition to those who are actually from the state continues to contribute to the economy and culture of a state.
I hear what you're saying. I'm just cautioning prospective out-of-state students that even if they think they are following the rules for gaining in-state status, it may not happen for a number of reasons. In fact, the safest course of action would be to assume it won't happen.

One nice thing about being a G.A. or a T.A. (for grad students) is that such a job may automatically confer in-state status.

I was in my thirties, had worked and supported myself for many years, and had also worked and paid taxes in my new state for a year and a half before I applied for in-state status (the "rules" for what they were worth, stated that one year would be sufficient.) Still, no deal. In fact, I was charged more than 100% of the cost to the state of my education. (And I've been teaching the most difficult children that this state has to offer for the past dozen years.)

Which is fine. Whatever. But it ended up feeling like a business deal. When a representative from my alma mater calls and asks me for a donation, basically I just laugh at them. And I tell them that I already paid.

Last edited by Blue Skies; 07-16-2008 at 12:10 AM.
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2008, 12:21 PM
Janerz222 Janerz222 is offline
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This is less for the original poster (but perhaps in the future?):

Have you all contacted your GLOs' foundations about undergrad and grad scholarships?
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  #27  
Old 07-12-2008, 06:09 PM
couggirl couggirl is offline
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Originally Posted by Blue Skies View Post
I
One nice thing about being a G.A. or a T.A. (for grad students) is that such a job may automatically confer in-state status.
I was trying to say, with my previous post, was that I have discovered that not all schools give in state tuition. It was my understanding that this was a universal truth in the academic world. I have beeen looking into schools and Ihave found out that a number of schools do not give in state tuition Also, I have years of teaching and decent grades and test scores and did not get any T.A. or Research assistant positions, so they are not easily to come by and even if they are they don't always garantee in state tuition.

Then again, maybe I applied to the wrong schools.
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  #28  
Old 07-12-2008, 07:11 PM
Elephant Walk Elephant Walk is offline
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Originally Posted by justme920 View Post
Texas A&M (my dream school).
Consider looking into better dreams, is my advice.
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  #29  
Old 07-15-2008, 03:17 PM
justme920 justme920 is offline
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as to what i want to do, microbiology is what really interests me. i'm also considering the medical route if my anatomy class goes well next year. i love texas and wouldn't want to go anywhere out of state, even if i could afford it, which i cant. i love the culture at A&M and they have an excellent science department, so it fills all my needs and wants. there is nothing about A&M that makes me wrinkle my nose or have second thoughts every other college i have looked at in state fits my wants like A&M does. I did get a part time job recently. I got a job at the movie theatre in town, it opened in june, and i started when it opened and i love it there. its really fun and i like never having been the new kid who doesnt know what she's doing lol. an added bonus is, the chain that i work at has a theatre in College Station so they said they should be able to transfer me over.
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  #30  
Old 07-15-2008, 05:21 PM
ree-Xi ree-Xi is offline
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Originally Posted by couggirl View Post
I was trying to say, with my previous post, was that I have discovered that not all schools give in state tuition. It was my understanding that this was a universal truth in the academic world. I have beeen looking into schools and Ihave found out that a number of schools do not give in state tuition Also, I have years of teaching and decent grades and test scores and did not get any T.A. or Research assistant positions, so they are not easily to come by and even if they are they don't always garantee in state tuition.

Then again, maybe I applied to the wrong schools.

Are you talking about State schools or all? I would also be surprised if State schools didn't offer in-state tuition, but not private schools. Most private schools expect everyone to pony up the dough, regardless of where you come from.
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