I Have an Advanced Degree. How Do I Deal With My Excessive Student Loans? – Zach

Just completed my doctoral degree and I have student loan debt in excess of 200K. I work for a non-for-profit organization working with the underserved and I make very little money, for now. My loans are due to begin repayment in a few months and I do not know where to start as far as what options are available to me. I know of the programs but one of the major problems is I have multiple lenders. I consolidated my loans a few years ago, per the recommendations of my school, as interest rates were going up substantially. Some of my loans, the primar lender would not allocate to the consolidation company (3.5% interest rate); next, a few years later my primary lender stopped providing graduate student loans and I had to use another primary lender. Therefore I have 3 primary lenders and this is a major problem going forward.

What type of counselling or financial advisement is available for recent graduates with advanced degrees and excessive student loans? Where do I start and who can help me by providing me with my options going forward?


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8 thoughts on “I Have an Advanced Degree. How Do I Deal With My Excessive Student Loans? – Zach”

  1. IN rare cases, part of student loans debts can be forgiven, if you can show that there is no way you will ever pay it off. But those are rare cases, and you have to go to court to get the debt reduced.

    The only thing I can say is that to anyone entering or in school, read this person’s posting carefully! I knew people in law school who borrowed a ton of money and lived the high life while in law school (for many graduate students, the amount lent is based less on need than ability to repay). After law school, they lived like paupers.

    Check out less expensive schools, too. George Mason has tuition 1/3 that of George Washington, for in-State residents, and both are good law schools.

    I worked my way through Engineering and Law School and still ended up with $30,000 in debt, which I thought I would never pay off, ever. But after a decade, I made the last payment, and it was a good feeling.

    But looking back, I realize that I didn’t “need” to borrow as much as a I did – I could have lived a more frugal life and borrowed only half as much – or none.

    I know this doesn’t help you, but to kids in school, READ THIS CAREFULLY! 18-year-olds just assume that “that other guy” (the 30-year-old them) will pay off those loans, not realizing they are the same person.

    Far too many people are graduating from school these days with over $100K in debt, and it need not be so. And because the student loan people hand out this “funny money” so freely, students no longer protest when tuition goes up at 2-3 times the rate of inflation.

    For many people, a college education is no longer a cost-effective proposition. $100,000 put into a 401(k) would be worth a million dollars by retirement. As your example illiustrates, that same money, “invested” in college, doesn’t pay back in terms of increased income.

    If I had it to do all over again, I’d be a plumber or electrician. High demand, high wages, and they are all on the golf course by 4:00 PM, while the young Law Associates are working until 9 at night so they can make partner and pay off their staggering student loan debt.



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