Grad school-now or later?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by DrivingPigeon, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 17, 2010

    I'm having a difficult time deciding on when to start my masters. If you read this entire thing and help me, THANK YOU! ;)

    A little background on my finances: I have $40,000 in student loan debt, and $16,000 in other debt (cars, credit cards, etc.). I don't have any savings, and live paycheck-to-paycheck. I am working my booty off to pay the $16,000 off as quickly as possible (I'm currently looking for a 2nd job). As for my student loans, if I continue to teach and make payments under the Income Based Repayment Plan for the next 9 years, whatever is left will be forgiven. So, I'm trying not to panic too much about the student loans, because over half will be forgiven. I'm currently living on my own, not married, no kids, 3rd year of teaching.

    In Wisconsin, new teachers have to do a Professional Development Plan (PDP) to renew their license. We used to have to take 6 credits every 5 years to renew, but it all changed in 2005. (The PDP is nice because it doesn't have to cost a lot of money: I can attend conferences-paid for by my school-read books, observe other teachers, etc.) However, my district requires me to take the 6 credits in addition to doing the PDP in order to move up the pay scale. If I don't take 6 credits in the next 3 years I will be "frozen" on the pay scale. This is just in my district, unfortunately, and I've tried to get it changed, but they aren't budging.

    A few months ago I decided to go ahead and start my masters. That way, I will have the 6 credits problem solved, and I'll get it over with early in my career. I have already applied for, and been accepted, to a master's program. It's a cohort model, so 18 people have to be enrolled in order for it to start up. This might not happen for another year or so...

    Because I'm working on paying off my debt, I had to apply for financial aide to pay for school (my masters will cost about $16,000). However, I really really REALLY don't want to go into more debt to get my masters, so part of me doesn't want to start yet. But if I don't start masters in the next few years, I would have to somehow find 6 credits to take (which wouldn't be applied to my masters, because I want to do the cohort program), and I would have to find money to pay for them.

    I could just save up cash for my masters after I paid off all my debt in about 18 months. However, then I wouldn't be starting my masters for about another 3 years. But, it would probably be worth it in the long run because I wouldn't have an extra $16,000 in student loans. BUT, if I get my masters in the next few years, I will move up the pay scale a lot, so I will be making more money.

    I just don't know what is best for my future...What would you do?!!
     
  2.  
  3. Miss.W

    Miss.W Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 17, 2010

    I do not know how helpful I will be but here is one of my thoughts. If you do start your Master's you can then defer your other student loan bills. Since those student loan bills will be in deferment, you can than apply more money towards your other debts. By the time you are done with your Master's you can than consolidate your student loans and hopefully get a lower interest rate and you will have paid off your $16,000 debt as you mentioned you would pay in 18 months.

    Also, have you looked into the teacher loan forgiveness program? If you work in a Title 1 school and have taught there for 5 years, you are eligible. I hope this helps to give you some ideas.
     
  4. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 17, 2010

    The only bad thing with the deferment is that I will have to put off my IBR loan forgiveness program...Once I make 120 IBR payments, whatever is left is forgiven. I have been making payments for 1 year, and I just want it to be over with. If I stay on track it should all be done in 9 years, but if I put it off for grad school, I won't be done for another 11 years. Ugh, I hate money!!!

    Unfortunately, the school where I work doesn't qualify for the loan forgiveness program...We only have 2% free/reduced lunch.
     
  5. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    Messages:
    881
    Likes Received:
    211

    Jul 17, 2010

    Have you considered a financial advisor? They often can give knowledgeable advice. Just go into one of those offices like Edward Jones or even your bank might have one, but ask them because they will know in a dollar and cents way.
     
  6. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 17, 2010

    I don't know what you should do at all. That much debt sucks...for sure!

    I just started my Master's this summer (cohort style also) and I'm scared about the debt. My program is going to be about $12,000. My school qualifies for the $5000 loan forgiveness but I'll have to pay student loans on the remainder. BLUCK!!

    Back to you.... hahaha
    If you go ahead and start your program now, you'd be able to pay your $16000 of quicker and when you had to start paying your loans back, you could actually pay more, right? Because you'd be making more money on your new pay scale. And 9 yrs and 11 yrs isn't so much of a difference. Yes, 2 years is huge, but it's really far away in either case. If you plan well, you'd at least have extra to pay. I'm not familiar with IBR, but are you allowed to make 2 payments a month (maybe not every month) to get your 120 payments quicker?
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 18, 2010

    That's a good question-I'll have to look into that. The only thing I'm worried about, though, is that if I get my master's I'll make too much much for the IBR plan. I qualify now because my salary puts me in the "partial financial hardship" bracket. If I make more money, I may not qualify and I may not be able to have my loans forgiven, which is huge!
     
  8. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 18, 2010

    Does your district pay for your graduate degree? Mine pays $3000 a year, that's the reason I'm doing mine.

    In my opinion, it is really tough to teach and do school for me. I'm a perfectionist so when all of the papers and grading and end of the year things were happening all at the same time I had a little meltdown.

    It is definitely worth it though (at least where I am). After 15 graduate degree credits we go up on the pay scale (so that will be December for me).
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Jul 18, 2010

    No, they don't pay anything. That's what I think is SO stupid: I have to pay money to move up the pay scale (with the 6 credits every 5 years). Paying for my masters is one thing, but paying for some random 6 credits that won't go towards a degree is just pointless! Teachers just find the easiest, cheapest, and fastest 6 credits they can.

    Most districts have accommodated the PDP by saying that once teachers have completed their PDP, it is the equivalent of taking 6 credits, and they move up the pay scale. My district hasn't done this yet, and it really makes me angry. They are making me do double the work, and it isn't fair.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Pikachu,
  2. Ima Teacher
Total: 240 (members: 3, guests: 223, robots: 14)
test