80K in debt as a high school teacher?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MWM958, May 13, 2013.

  1. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    May 13, 2013

    Alright, so I'm planning on becoming a high school teacher when I graduate. It's what I really want to do. Unfortunately however, due to some really bad luck (parents make too much for financial aid, but they're not giving me any money anyway), I'm going to have about 80K of debt for my Bachelors (all to graduate from my freakin safety school, where i had to live on campus cuz my parents kicked me out).

    So IF (big IF) I'm even able to get a job as a high school teacher when I get out of college, how difficult of a time would I have living? I live in New Jersey btw.

    I mean I can't live at home, so am I going to be living on benches on the streets of Newark?

    Man, and I keep getting bugged about getting a Masters too. How much debt do I have to take on so I can be a freakin high school teacher? Jeez...This is really unfair, I worked hard thru high school and college, and I feel like I'm being punished.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You said you've worked hard through high school and college...so are you finished with college, or where do you stand?
     
  4. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    Gonna be a Junior in College in the Fall. Sorry shoulda clarified.
     
  5. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I really feel for prospective teachers coming into the profession with loads of debt. Better find a state that pays well or will help you pay the debt. Maybe Alaska or even a foreign country.
     
  6. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    May 13, 2013

    The bank/entity giving you the loan may be willing to work with you on how much you pay per month. Also, if you haven't already, perhaps you should consider a part-time job while still in school to off-set some of your expenses?
     
  7. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    May 13, 2013

    I attended a fairly expensive college (about $20,000 per year), but I managed to graduate with just $10,000 in loans. I did it by:
    -Paying cash instead of taking loans. I had two part time jobs to pay this. Almost every dollar from these jobs went straight to tuition. It became a weekly ritual: walk to the bank, cash my paycheck, walk to the college cashier's office and give it all to them. One of my jobs was with FedEx, and they have a tuition reimbursement program, that helped too.
    -Applying for scholarships.
    -Living off campus with roommates instead of paying the high cost for room and board.
    Half of my loans is through a Perkins loan, of which a certain percentage is being forgiven each year because I am a special education teacher.
    Hope these ideas help.
     
  8. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    I'm going to try to do the Income Based Repayment Plan for half of the loans (so like 40K), but I can't do it for the other half, because that half was taken out in my parents name (Parent PLUS Loan), though I will be the one paying it.

    And I already do work. Wasn't able to work much during the school year because I can't have a car on campus, but I work almost full time over the summer. However, most of my money gets eaten up by school and car expenses (insurance, maintenance, gas, etc). That's why this is so frustrating to me. I do all of this crap, sacrifice, and work hard while I have to decline going out with my friends all the freakin time, and then I'm told "well, you should be making more sacrifices!". My God, well I'm running out of things to sacrifice.

    I feel like I'm constantly taking one step forward, and taking three steps back. And then tripping.

    And these loans are accruing interest right now, cuz I apparently don't qualify for subsidized loans. Not to sound like a whiner, but I'm not feeling very motivated. I LOVE teaching, its my passion, and I volunteer in education causes whenever possible. And it kills me when someone says I have to make yet another sacrifice and give up my dream of teaching.

    Is this what America has come to? Working hard, getting education, sacrificing, all to be punished and told you have to sacrifice more, and then hopefully be able to do what you want when you're around 60?

    Tbh, now I see why people become Communists =P

    (Sorry for the rant).
     
  9. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    I have a job, and most of the expenses already go to education (books, etc), as well as car expenses.

    I'm trying to get a place off campus as well, though its proving difficult as I have no money for a deposit and it's already May...
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    If I heard correctly, if you work in a district with a high level of poverty for at least five years, at least part of your student loans are forgiven. Look into that. I'm not sure because my teaching classes have been out of pocket or reimbursed by my job.
     
  11. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    May 13, 2013

    Google the Teach Grant program maybe.

    Have you checked into transferring to a college that is more reasonably priced or living in area that is more reasonably priced? Is there anything left that you could take at a community college or take online for a reduced cost?

    Can you break down your costs for us? Maybe there are areas you could reduce costs that you haven't thought of.

    What is your income? What are your living expenses? If you can't have a car on campus, why is so much money going towards a car? Maybe you could not have a car for a while.

    Have you talked to a financial advisor at your school or, even better, several other schools? Have you reapplied for grants now that your living situation has changed?

    There are ways that you can work on campus or online. Have you thought of tutoring? Being a resident assistant? Becoming a nanny for a family that lives nearby?

    Are you on the meal plan on campus? Can you not do that or reduce it?

    Start saving hard for that deposit, and live in a place you can afford. It may not be as comfortable, but you'd rather live there with a roommate now than many years later under crushing debt with your children.

    I would take a semester off and really focus on saving money for that place off campus. A little breathing room there would make the time off worth it.
     
  12. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I'm not graduating with a lot of debt, but I'm planning to do this. It may not always be tax free, but you can end up in a situation with a fairly decent wage and very few living expenses. It's a good way to either save up or pay off a large chunk of your loans while gaining valuable teaching and life experience.
     
  13. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    May 13, 2013

    If you are under 24, you will fall under your parents income unfortunately, unless you meet one of the very few "independent" requirements. Definitely talk to your Financial Aid counselor to see if there is anything you can apply for for the 2013-2014 school year, if not, maybe there is something for the 2014-2015 school year. As for the Parent PLUS loans, those are in the name of your parent, but they are requiring that you pay them? Technically your parents are responsible for those loans, not you. Did they defer them until you graduate? It sounds like they did.

    Are you already attending a state school? If not, this is a good time to look at one for the fall.
     
  14. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    Parents PLUS Loan is deferred yes, but they're making me pay them when I graduate. Yes, it's their responsibility, but they can't afford it, and so they want me to give them the money for it. I've gotten in innumerable shouting matches with them about the situation, and I attempted to ask my dad if we could borrow from his pension fund, but he has "left" our family, and is refusing to help (he comes home every now and then to sleep...but he doesn't talk to my Mom...and...I don't know, it's complicated.) Suffice it to say, I my parents aren't giving me a dime, so I'm on my own to pay off the loans.

    And I'm attending a private school, but I'm paying a state school tuition (because of the college's scholarships and stuff). My cheapest options are state schools...but I already pay the equivalent of a state school tuition. And the state schools I applied to gave me no money or scholarships, so I would be paying the same thing I would pay here at my private school.

    I don't know...I'm seriously considering teaching in United Arab Emirates or something now. Or throwing myself into the heart of Afghanistan as a soldier hoping that the Army would pay off some of these loans.
     
  15. Mr.history

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  16. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    - The cheapest colleges are around the same price I'm paying now...

    - My income is different every year, as I work some odd jobs (babysitting etc) during the year for some cash. Though, I have to pay the insurance on my car (and gas) , which I still use sometimes during the year when I go home on Fridays to drive my sisters to and from school (Dad has been absent lately so...). This eats up a lot of my money. And not to sound whiny, but I go out to eat maybe once every two months, and I'm so sick and tired of hearing people say "Why are you eating out, you should be sacrificing!", after 2 months of eating in the cafeteria alone while my friends go out.

    - And I'm not 24, so I'm still considered under my parents income.

    - I gotta look into being an RA or something, though I don't know what my chances are. But I'll try.

    - My plan is to move off this **** campus, though the expenses wouldn't be that less, considering I still need to pay rent and food. But I'll be able to have a freakin car.

    - I feel a little scared of taking a semester off. I feel like if I do that, I'll just make a handful of money, half of which will vanish when I'm done paying for books, plus the fact that now I'll be graduating later.

    Thank you for the advice, really, I appreciate. But I really don't know what to do. And I don't really know what my parents want me to do it. It annoys me to no end how inconsiderate they're kinda being. I feel like a real jerk for saying it, but I wish my parents would just finally get divorced so this whole thing can end. Oh God, I feel so guilty for saying that haha.
     
  17. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    May 13, 2013

    Marry someone who makes 200K+ a year. Problem solved. :whistle: :D
     
  18. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    haha, well im gonna have to be a little forgiving of her looks, but ya gotta make sacrifices.
     
  19. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    May 13, 2013

  20. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    I don't think it's good at all that your father left the family. However, don't even think about removing money from his pension to pay for your college. I'm not trying to be harsh, and I know you probably don't mean it this way, but unless he is really rich (which you said they aren't), it's really selfish to take that money. He will need it for post-retirement income and security more than you will need it for your education.
     
  21. 123456now

    123456now Rookie

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    I mean all of this nicely. . .

    Well, this gives a little more insight. You have to get a job. Period. It won't be easy or convenient, but you can find SOMETHING other than occasional babysitting and odd jobs.

    The $80,000 debt is a choice to be made by you, not something happening to you because your parents won't pay for it. You are an adult now. Not everyone gets college paid for, and that's just the facts. I'm not trying to be mean. It just sounds like you feel like you really got screwed over. You didn't really in the grand scheme of things.

    I had some help paying for college, but I wanted them to help as little as possible. So I worked, worked, worked and scrimped and saved so that I could graduate debt free. I never ate out at a real restaurant. I felt like I was splurging to go to Arby's and eat off the dollar menu. I used coupons, only bought what I needed and made it work. I got really good at making my own biscuits.

    I'm sorry about your college plans. It sounds like this was sprung on you for some reason. However, you do need to make some hard choices. Do you want to go to college, be a teacher and have very little debt to pay off? Or do you want to drive home on the weekends, pay for a car you don't use that often, go out with your friends and run up debt?

    Good luck to you. There are choices out there. They may not be comfortable or exactly what was in your original plan. It just depends on what your priorities are.
     
  22. thewife

    thewife Rookie

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    I know College can be expensive, but my Bachelores Degree was not even close to that cost. Is there not a less expensive college? I agree with 123456now..there are many people that go to college with no help from their parents and they seem to make it through, and you can do it too. I remember when I first graduated high school and went to college, I lived on campus the first semester, and then moved back home for the second semester and decided to comuter about 1 hour. That was a bad choice, but I thought it was the right choice at the time because I could work more at the fast food place I worked at, instead of just coming home on the weekends. Well I bought a car and had some problems with it and missed the first two weeks of school and got behind and ended up dropping out. I wished I would have just worked harder to make it through instead of letting people put ideas in my head. It may not be easy, but I would just do the best you can and don't give up. I have since went back to college 3 times and have over 200 college credits and you wouldd't believe the things you can do when there is no other choice. Good Luck!
     
  23. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    My advice is to work a bit and save up some $$$. I think it is very hard to be $80K in debt and to teach. I have enjoyed teaching, but the years that I tried to make ends meet and pay back student loans at the same time were very hard.
     
  24. MrsCK

    MrsCK Companion

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    I Understand

    I am in a similar boat--my husband and I together have about that much student loan debt. We thought about paying the minimum for 25 years on the Income Based Repayment Plan and being forgiven for the rest at that point (have you heard of Public Service Loan Forgiveness?) but we decided we didn't want to be slaves to the government for 25 years.

    Instead, we were introduced to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace. We read the book and are applying those principles to pay off ALL of our debt (including our mortgage which is about the same as our loans put together) within 10 years. So in TEN short years we will be completely debt free.

    It's not always easy, but if you just think about the goal (getting that debt paid off), it is much easier. It feels so good everytime I write that enormous check. :) YOU got yourself into this mess, just like we did, and YOU need to get yourself out of it. It's easy to blame everyone (government, parents, school cost, it's just unfair) but you have to take responsibility for it. :2cents: That's what we decided to do and we have only 9 years left to pay. :)

    Good luck!
     
  25. MrsCK

    MrsCK Companion

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    BTW, we are both 2nd year teachers--he is in private school and I'm in public.
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    In 1973 I went to work after graduating HS. Saved about 3k in 9 months making 4.75 an hour. Lived with my dad and helped him with a business (tending bar at nite). That 3k along with working 20 hours a week for four years paid for a BS degree. I was making $2 an hour the whole time. Once I lost the entire two week paycheck ($80) when my wallet fell out of my pants in class. Ran back but it was gone. Times are tough now. To do it again I would have to think long and hard before going into teaching again. After 33 years and an MS degree I still make only 54k
     
  27. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    I don't like to be cynical or unhelpful, but the OP said his parents are too well off for him to get financial aid, but they won't help him financially and have thrown him out of the house.

    Well all know that a certain amount of friction within a family is normal, but I'm sensing an untold story here. Not that we need to hear it if he doesn't want to share, but let's just say that there are (at least) two sides to every story, and I feel like we're only hearing one.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Now that that comment is out there, I'll chime in. I was thinking the same thing too.

    There is more to this or his idea of how much money is actually available for the family to use may be inaccurate.

    For example, if their money was invested in a house that is now underwater, they probably have a large mortgage they can't get out of. If the money is in retirement savings, the money, if removed, would be so heavily taxed it makes no sense to use it. If the parents are now separated money they may have had to use might now be used for different housing, etc.

    But other than those reasons helping the OP look at the situation with less anger and resentment, as others have said, OP has to get a job year round that is stable.

    RA to get free housing?

    OP, where will you be when the semester ends if you were kicked out of your house?
     
  29. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    OP, I've worked in Financial Aid and my husband is a Financial Aid counselor. I would try contacting your FA counselor to see if you qualify for a Special Condition, which could reduce your EFC and possibly qualify you for grants.

    The big issue is that you are in NJ, one of the most expensive areas to live in, pay car insurance, let alone also attend school in. From a quick search, it looks like tuition and fees (without books) is anywhere from $10-13K per year - that is a LOT of money! At my state university it is about $6-7K for tuition/fees.

    I would try to find something on campus, or maybe even working off campus and attempting to take some online courses to free up some hours. Do work you never thought of, like serving, to try to make extra income, yet maybe only work on the weekends to leave the weekdays free for school.

    This is definitely a situation where you need to talk to the Financial Aid office to see what can be done, what other scholarships are out there, etc. There is also a website called fastweb that my school's FA office recommends students use - you fill out a profile and receive scholarship information based on what is in the profile.

    Good luck!!
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 17, 2013

    How are they inconsiderate? You said they don't have the money to pay for your education.
     
  31. Tom_B

    Tom_B Rookie

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    Have you thought about moving to another state and work for six months to a year till your residency status changes and go to a much cheaper school?

    Eastern Washington and the rest of the Washington public universities are about 7000-15000 a year instate tuition. Our cost of living is very cheap unless your in a swanky part of Seattle or Vancouver. We have no income tax and our minimum wage is $9.19 an hour. You could move here work at a Mc donalds for a few months and stash away a nice surplus by the time your residency changes.

    Moving to another state might not seem ideal for school but if it saves you $40,000 to $50,000 on your tuition estimate it might be worth it.
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    NJ is tough. Don't take on any more debt...
     
  33. redtop

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    Notwithstanding my earlier post, and I don't mean to be upleasant, but I'm not sure where you read that life is perfectly fair, and that everyone who has something they "want" to do is allowed to do it with no financial consequences.

    I know there are some programs out there that allow income-based repayments of loans, and some that allow some kind of loan forgiveness for teaching under certain circumstances.

    I also know that 99.999% of the readers of this board will sympathize that the pay in teaching sucks, and will be able to make strong arguments that the pay is lower than is indicated by various other metrics like training required, responsibility, working conditions, etc. I'm not saying they're wrong.

    But that's life and that's how it is. I know that teachers in Canada get paid much better than in the USA, and I can't explain why that is. You could talk until you're blue in the face at your local school board meeting about why teaching is so important and teachers deserve to be paid better, and you'll hear a lot of "here here" and people tapping their canes on the floor, and then hear them vote down the tiniest of tax increases to pay for it.

    So I'm sorry, I'm not unsympathetic, but actually, I guess I am. Life isn't fair. It's not fair that one kid was born in the South Bronx and another was born in Beverly Hills and another was born in Kandahar. It's not fair that whatever screwed-up gene fairy there is made me able to do long division when I was 4 (leading to my present career) and some other kid struggled with it at 14 - or 24. It's fine to whine (see numerous other threads in which I do) but there are not just lamentations but actions, making the best of the hand you've been dealt.

    I'm sorry there's no special pay scale for "teachers whose parents fell into the gap between rich enough to pay for college and poor enough for financial aid." I'm also sorry rainwater isn't beer.
     
  34. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Redtop, I'm sorry but your post is totally unnecessary. You're basically saying that the OP is complaining and whining because life is not fair, but his concerns are very valid. It's also not helpful for you to brag about how smart you are (did long division when you were 4. so what?) and that you make great money and that teachers in Canada make more... Not helpful!
     
  35. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    May 18, 2013

    This is great advice here above:thumb: - I'd suggest going to the campus financial aid office as well. When I was in college a friend of mine who had lived at home had a sudden change in her family situation where she was pretty much forced to move out to maintain her safety and well being - she was living with us for awhile, but really needed her own room, etc. Our university financial aid office offered her $1000/semester if she lived on campus when she told them about the change in her circumstances. Granted, she may have been able to get by on less off campus, but probably not that much less.

    I would also suggest that you don't take on that amount of debt for an undergraduate degree in teaching - it just isn't worth it, and it will hang over your head for a long time - there are public service debt forgiveness programs you can enroll in, and who knows, we as a nation may see college debt being forgiven in the coming years, but I still suggest limiting it as much as you can - the general guideline they usually say is to borrow no more than you would plan or hope to make in your first year of work, so like 40K, or what that would be in your state.

    I haven't read everything, so this may already be answered - you said you were planning to have that much debt, but how far along are you now in your degree program?
     
  36. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 18, 2013

    :yeahthat:
     
  37. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    hey guys, I'm sorry I've been away for a while. Thanks for the all of the advice.

    I know someone suggested I talk to my Financial Aid office. I've done that several times, but I shall do it again for this upcoming year. I am going to be a Junior in the Fall btw. I mean, I guess it can't hurt to just ask. I've gotten a couple small scholarships over the years from some organizations, but the problem is that it only basically helps pay for my books haha. I kinda feel like a jerk for saying it, but it doesn't really help my situation. I feel like no matter what I do I can't put a dent it in this massive debt burden that I have coming my way.

    I'm not sure if they'll doing anything about my "family situation" considering that I'm not being beaten or abused or anything. I'm just in a large family in somewhat small house with parents who can't pay for college and don't want my living home.

    Not so sure about establishing residency in another state. I mean, I already put two years of college in here in Jersey. And besides, I'm assuming it's difficult for a college student to find a stable job in whatever state I live in, one that would keep my afloat with my own place. I've considered the idea of moving, but I don't think it's possible at the moment.

    As for redtop: Don't hate on him. I think sometimes I need that swift kick in the butt to nudge me back into reality. But that doesn't mean I won't get angered at injustice. And I know I am somewhat whiny, but I think complaining about taking on $80K of debt to be a teacher is a legitimate gripe. In fact, I think complaining about taking on more than $10K for a college education is a legitimate gripe. And those starry-eyed and ludicrous dreams of free college education has actually been realized in many countries. Most of the West in fact.

    Still, I'm not gonna see college suddenly become free and my debt forgiven in the next two years. And I'm gonna have to work with what I was given.I wanna be a teacher, and that's what I'm gonna do. I don't want to be rich. I don't want to have a Bimmer or Benz. But I'd like to have my own apartment sans roaches, a used car, and some money for groceries and maybe a night out every now and then. Is that so much to ask?

    I'm gonna take all of you guys' advice into consideration. And I'm gonna continue to do my best in school, even though it's beginning to feel kinda fruitless at this point. I'm gonna conserve, I'm gonna work, and I'm gonna sacrifice. I do not think hard work gets you anywhere anymore in 21st century America, and I think success now has to do more with what parents you were born to than what hard work you put in. But I'm gonna try to work hard, and I'm gonna try to take roads less traveled, make connections, and reach out to other people.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, and again I apologize if I sounded whiny. If any of yous want to share any more advice, I'd really appreciate it.
     
  38. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    May 21, 2013

    The family situation that you may need to discuss is your parents' marital situation. They can guide you as to whether they can change your EFC based on what is going on. When I first started college, I was separated from my first husband who made all the money. I talked to my FA office, they took his income out of the equation, and I was left with a 0 EFC and was then eligible for the Pell Grant and subsidized loans, which were a big help.
     
  39. MWM958

    MWM958 Rookie

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    May 21, 2013

    They're still legally married, and it says so on all the documents.
     
  40. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    May 23, 2013

    College loans are a huge problem today for both the students and their parents. My oldest daughter got through undergraduate school in pretty good shape because of scholarships and grants, but then accumulated a ton of debt in veterinary school. Although my wife and I helped as much as we could she still has $200,000.00+ in loans.
    Fortunately, she got a job in her field as soon as she graduated and has been making her own payments. The problem is, her payments are based on her income and that barely covers the cost of the interest.
    So after 8 years of making very substantial payments the amount she owes hasn't gone down at all. Unless she wins the lottery (or comes into a substantial inheritance) she may have this debt hanging over her head for life.

    Very sad...

    And here's something even we didn't know as parents - Any school loans that we co-signed for (and we have 4 kids) are our responsibility if our kids don't make their payments on time. Sallie-Mae calls us if one of our kids is late with a payment, and our credit rating is affected. That's scary, since I'm now retired from teaching and my wife will be retiring from teaching within the next 5 years.

    * Oh, I just noticed that I began to respond to HeartDrama's post. My youngest daughter just completed two years teaching English in Korea and it was a great experience for her. Whether or not it got her ahead financially is something I'll have to discuss with her and get back to you on... She's coming home this week.:)
     
  41. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    May 23, 2013

    Ooohhh...careful with the generalizations. As a Canadian teacher, I make ok money. But there have been American teachers on this board who have FLOORED me with their salaries. All the education and years of service steps wouldn't even get me close to what they make.

    Also, I came out of school with $50K in debt and my SO has $75K. Fully admitting that I've only skimmed this thread, my advice to the OP is this: if you're gonna take on that amount of debt, make sure teaching is something you really, REALLY want to do. If you can make it work, and you're passionate about it, it's worth it. If not......
     

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