I want to teach, but will I be able to pay off my loan debt?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by abaxley86, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. abaxley86

    abaxley86 New Member

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    Nov 16, 2012

    Hello everyone. I am a 25 year old male strongly considering getting my MAT in order to teach elementary school. I feel that I am very well suited for the job, but I am quite worried about my financial future. I already have $22,000 in loan debt from my undergrad, and I'd be looking at adding another $25,000 in order to pay for my MAT. Will I be able to live with a relatively low level of financial stress with such a large monthly loan repayment?
    I have been accepted into the University of Northern Colorado MAT program, but I am considering deferring my admission for a year in order to save enough so that I can pay for at least some of my tuition out of pocket. Do you think this is the better plan, or should I just get started right away? Keep in mind, I was a psychology major, which unfortunately means that I really don't qualify for many jobs. Chances are good that I'd end up serving tables between now and starting school, which is certainly less than ideal. I'd much rather get started with teaching!
     
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  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I have about $39,000 in student loan debt. My monthly payments are about $300. I will be paying it off for the rest of my life.

    Not sure if that helps you at all! ;)
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aren't you eligible for the loan forgiveness after 10 years?
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2012

    This sounds like an excellent question for a financial planner :)
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Nov 16, 2012

    I am considering deferring my admission for a year in order to save enough so that I can pay for at least some of my tuition out of pocket.

    Yes, please wait. With teaching. you make enough to pay your bills and enjoy life a bit. By paying off student loans while working you are in effect lowering your take home pay (after SL payments) by thousands each year. One year is worth the wait.
     
  7. teacher girl

    teacher girl Comrade

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    Nov 17, 2012

    you should do endorsement only. And pay out of pocket. Some Universities only require that you pass your teacher exams and then take like 5 classes. to get a license. I would defer my loans for a year to save up money and study/pass for tests so I could pay my endorsement out of pocket. Then as soon as you land your first teaching job, you could pursue a masters degree. But I wouldn't tack on any more debt because the economy is horrible. There is no gurantee that after you get your teaching license depending on what you majored in that you would get a job. I have friends that have their teaching license in art, history and it's been 5 years and still haven't found work.

    I;m in a masters program but I pay out of pocket.... and so far I've only had to borrow $5,000. But I wisj I had done endorsement only, becuase it may make me more marketable because with only a bachelors degree you are cheaper to the district, they may not hire me with a masters degree because I am too expensive.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    it may make me more marketable because with only a bachelors degree you are cheaper to the district, they may not hire me with a masters degree because I am too expensive.

    Excellent point!
     
  9. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    How much do elementary teachers in your area make? That obviously makes a difference. In my area for example, elementary public schoolteachers generally make between $45-70k/year, and that being the case (unless you want to floss like a rapper)--you would be able to manage your student debt eventually.

    Your question is a tough one though. Would I do it (if I had the money)? Yes. EVEN THOUGH I'm thisclose to quitting this career after a decade in it, due to the lack of opportunity. Would I do it and incur more debt? H-E-_-_ no. It would be a blind leap of faith, to sink another $20k in my education, where no opportunities will spout up as a direct result--I think that might answer your question to some degree--I don't think it opens up additional avenues (in K-6). You have to get a Special Ed degree, or some other one. MAT's in elementary education are $0.10 a dozen.
     
  10. Ms B IL

    Ms B IL Rookie

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    Nov 17, 2012

    I don't really have much to say about the Master's vs. other options vs. debt discussion because I'm still doing my undergrad, but would you have to wait tables to save up money? I know getting a job in the psychology field with just a BA/BS is really hard, but you could try to get into education in some way while you are saving and/or going to school. Have you looked into the requirements in your state for becoming a teacher's assistant or paraprofessional? What about a substitute teacher? I'm not in Colorado so I don't know about the requirements there, but in Illinois you could do either of those with the degree you have now. It would give you some time in a classroom to make sure your really want to teach before you invest in it as well.
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Yes, I am. I'm worried about the future of that program, though...I'm hoping it stays around.

    Also, I'm not sure if I will be teaching for 10 more years. I may be a SAHM.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I'm probably not the best one to ask as I don't have any loans, but I don't think financials should be your only deterrent from a career. I know it can be hard but if you find a manageable program and you think you can make it work then I would do it. I would also make sure you have a plan if you can't get hired right out of school. I have friends who are 2 and 3 years out of their programs and they are still subbing. One does not have any loans. I'm not sure about the others and what they are doing.
     
  13. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Nov 19, 2012

    $50,000 in debt is a lot. However, you will be able to pay it off over time. Especially if you work during the summers. You could have a manageable monthly payment and use part-time or summer work to pay off the principal much faster.
    That being said I would hold off on the masters. Test the waters and see what happens. In the mean time, you can work to pay off your undergrad debt so when if you decide to purse a master's degree you will already have your debt reduced.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oh, another consideration is that you may be eligible for a partial loan forgiveness after a certain number of years if you teach in a Title I school. I got $5,000 taken off my loans after teaching in such a school for 5 years. This is a federal program; I think some states might offer even higher amounts of loan forgiveness, perhaps even for teaching certain subjects, like SpEd or Math.
     
  15. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Nov 19, 2012

    You want my advice?

    No. No. No.

    You need to consider your future quality of life. Yes, there is something to be said for following your dreams and doing what you love. But $50,000 debt on a teachers salary is too much. The cost does not match the output. I was a financial counselor for several years and I would highly recommend you don't put yourself into debt at this level. Finances are the number one cause of stress in the US today. Picture yourself in the situation of many here on the board- struggling to even find a full time job. Now add $50,000 in debt to the picture.

    I'd suggest that if you are still wanting to become a teacher, look into alternative programs. Can you do a work to credential program, get a scholarship, a federal grant, etc.... Does the school have financial aid? Call the ed dept and ask what they have for ed majors. I received a full tuition scholarship set aside for teaching majors. Does it have to be a MAT in your state? My state it was a 1 year "credential program." Do some serious research before taking on that kind of debt.
     
  16. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2012

    I would have to reluctantly agree with the above poster. You should really do some financial calculations to really test your "limit."

    Running the numbers, assuming 6.8% loan interest rate, you'd be paying ~$575.00 a month on student loans for 10 years! ($69,000 by the time you're eligible for public service forgiveness.) Even at a title one school you'd be 34k in payments before forgiveness, and sorry to kick you in the privates, if you got the CAP in forgiveness at that point (17,500), you'd still owe over $11,000 in student loans.

    It would take you years just to get your interest down to the point where you're not going over your $2,500 annual deduction by nearly $1,000.

    I honestly would not suggest going over $30,000 in debt (depending on your area). Remember, this is a loan that will be with you through thick and thin.

    Take your time, be wise.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think it also depends on the type of loan you get. My loans were federal student loans (nothing through private lenders), and my interest rate is very low--much lower than 6.8%, I think maybe like 2%.

    Federal student loan programs also have a variety of loan repayment options. I've never paid more than $300/month in student loans. My loan now is down to $50/month. It's not really all that unmanageable.
     
  18. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Nov 19, 2012

    All graduate direct, government-backed student loans, are now at 6.8% interest. Because of the debt agreement a year ago, graduate students are no longer eligible for subsidized loans either - so that 50k will build interest the whole time they're in school. Undergrad is at, I think, 3-4%.

    You're right, you can make it manageable. The backside of that is paying on the loan longer (I think up to 25 years).
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Hmm, I'll have to check on my interest rate. I thought for sure it was very low. I don't remember seeing that it increased.

    The deal with paying a loan off longer is that, at least at this point, that won't be necessary. Once you make 120 payments (i.e., 10 years), you're done, regardless of the remaining balance. That program might not be around forever, but it's here now.
     
  20. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oh, I didn't realize there was no cap on the 10 year. That's great then!
     
  21. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I agree. I believe that it is important to learn from the mistakes we have made in life. I do not have many regrets, but I really wish I would have made better financial decisions when I was in college. It makes me sick to think about how I took out student loans like it was nothing. For 6 1/2 years, I took out the max amount that I was offered. I always "needed" the money for something.

    I really wish I would have stayed away from credit cards, and saved the money I worked so hard to make (I always had 2 or 3 jobs). I would have taken out the bare minimum for loans, and only if it was completely necessary. I don't think anyone should graduate with more than $15,000 in loans, at the very most. I'm paying $300 a month towards my loan. I could really use that extra $3,600 this year for my wedding. :(

    To the OP: If teaching is what you want to do, I encourage you to follow your dreams. However, I would consider paying for the tuition out of pocket, if possible. On a teacher's salary, I don't think it's worth the massive debt.
     
  22. jessiiteach

    jessiiteach Companion

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    I owe $2000 a month in student loans :(. for the next 15 years. I was better off making $12 an hour with no degree.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    $2,000 per month? How is that possible?
     
  24. Falcon Flyer

    Falcon Flyer Companion

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    Can you get a job and pay as you go? I was able to pay for my entire masters out of pocket and finished with no debt. Yes, it was really stressful and took a lit of sacrifice, but it sure felt good to graduate with no debt. Also, I qualified for some great scholarships because of my GRE scores. Graduating debt-free is possible, you just have to be willing to work hard and look for the right opportunities.
     
  25. AmyByy

    AmyByy New Member

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    If you are worried about money I would look into all the scholarship and grant opportunities available. There are many more than most people realize. Even just googling MAT grants and scholarship will get you started researching. Like Falcon says, it IS possible to graduate debt free.
     
  26. SassyTeach

    SassyTeach Rookie

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    I started $25,000 in debt and after 8 years am at $15,000. Monthly payments run $125, and I make about $36,000 per year. It's tight, but I make it work because I love what I do.
     
  27. jessiiteach

    jessiiteach Companion

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    took out maximum loans for bachelors and masters degree, (got a masters bc I could not find a job with a bachelors) used the loans to live off of while going to school full time, and as it turns out I have pretty high interest rates.
     
  28. chickadee77

    chickadee77 Rookie

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    I'm about to start a masters of education program and will have roughly 50k in loans by the end of it. It definitely makes me nervous to think about borrowing this much money but it is worth it to me, personally, even if I have to pay it off for many years. I don't know much about the loan forgiveness programs discussed here but between that, scholarships, grants, and living a frugal life, it CAN be manageable. It just depends on how much time and energy you put in to seeking out ways to get rid of your loans/debt asap.

    It's really easy to read these forum discussions and get discouraged but be optimistic and do what YOU feel is right. I'm no financial adviser by any means but the way I see it, your education is a worthwhile investment.
     
  29. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    I will realistically never pay off my student loans. Period.

    What is this "after ten years" payoff you speak of?
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I really think you need to sit down with a financial planner. It seems really strange to me that you'd be paying $2,000 per month on student loans unless you're trying to pay off like $100,000 in 5 years or something. I wonder if there has been some sort of mistake in the calculating of your repayment.
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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