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1. Aug 30, 2006

### dontbesilly

First of all, I would like to thank all of you who post on these forums. I've been reading it thoroughly ever since my first post here, and have found a wealth of information. It has helped me a lot. Especially ZapperZ's wonderful "So you want to be a physicist" guide.

My question is regarding loans. I have read on these forums, to my relief, that around 90% of graduate students in physics get their tuition payed for by some means, plus a stipend. However, what would this mean if I still were to have a substantial amount of debt from my undergrad years? Would I have to begin paying down the debt while I was in graduate school? And if so, would it be possible to do that with the amount of money a graduate student is expected to live on?

If you need a specific amount of debt in order to answer, assume it's in the $20,000 to$40,000 range.

Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided.

2. Aug 30, 2006

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Normally, you are not required to make payments on student loans until you are employed -- i.e. until you are getting a W-2 from some business.

On some loans, however, interest accumulates even while you're in school, though you are not required to make any payments.

Your questions would best be answered, however, by a quick phone call to your school's financial aid office. They can look up your loans and give you authoritative answers.

- Warren

3. Aug 31, 2006

### franznietzsche

Correction: until you are no longer a full-time student. Whether or not you are employed has nothing to do with it. At least, with the student loans I have.

4. Aug 31, 2006

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
You can usually get deferments for periods of unemployment.

- Warren

5. Aug 31, 2006

### dontbesilly

Thank you very much for the replies.

6. Aug 31, 2006

### franznietzsche

Really? Hmm. i didn't know that. That is good to know actually. But you don't have to start paying just because you are employed, which was my main point, if you are still a full-time student.

7. Aug 31, 2006

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Well, you certainly don't have to pay while you're a (full-time) student, and you can usually get deferments if you can't find work.. so, essentially, you don't really have to pay until you're employed.

However, it's always a good idea to call your fin aid office and check. Different loan programs do have different criteria.

- Warren

8. Aug 31, 2006

### Beeza

Avoid Leaf loans if at all possible. Right now, my interest rate on them is almost 12%...