# How much was/is YOUR student loan

The VA covers my school for 3 years, I'm just starting my third year of four with 17 months of funding remaining. This includes a living stipend, and there is extra cash that I save for when my 17 months runs out. I'm hoping for no debt, but I might have to take a few thousand in stafford loans towards the end to cover living expenses mostly. I'm really counting on tuition waiver and stipend for grad school. That's my motivation for living frugal, having no life, and studying so hard now.

I wonder how people entering medical school cope with the huge amount of money they borrow. I'm glad that I'm not pursuing a medical degree!

(Although if that is one's passion then I'm not against it, that person should go for it. Like someone said...money shouldn't be an issue in investing for your future)

Usually medical doctors have high salaries (both starting and median), so I usually don't hear of many people who successfully get a medical degree that have issues with loans.

dlgoff
Gold Member
Usually medical doctors have high salaries..
Tell me about it. I should remember this the next time I have to see one. Maybe it will make it less painless.

Choppy
You managed all that as well as getting a loan on a house??? The average age for that in England is approaching middle age!
It's probably worth noting that I'm Canadian and we weren't subject to the same extremes of the housing boom/crunch cycle as the Americans.

I worked a part-time job, in addition to my TA position while I was a PhD student. The down side was that it required me to be out until 4:00am on weekends, which in hindsight had a significant impact on my work (lower course marks, and longer completion time than my peers). The up sides were that it allowed me to establish some savings as a student and gave me a bit of a break from the grad student life.

When I finished my PhD, my soon-to-be wife had already been working for a year. I had a full time, permanent position as soon as I graduated, and this qualified us for a mortgage. Together we each were able to put in about $5k towards a down payment on a house. Last edited: I have about 18k in loans, with 2 years to go. One of my friends will have over 200k after she finishes graduate school. I have about 18k in loans, with 2 years to go. One of my friends will have over 200k after she finishes graduate school. What an incredible amount of money! What is she graduating in? My loan for the fall is about$2k subsidized. Hopefully after the end of this coming fall semester I'll be on a full ride financial aid/scholarship package :D.

turbo
Gold Member
...and how many years did it take/will take to pay back?

I'm at a point in my life where I will soon be taking student loan for my studies, but the idea of taking a "huge" amount of money frightens me!

Can you find work and perhaps get help from your family to help pay for college?

I couldn't get loans back in the '60s/'70s because my father "earned too much money" making just a little over minimum wage and taking all the overtime he was offered. I had been a caretaker at the local cemetery all through my teens and had saved almost all of that money for college. At 17, I got a job with a road-construction company - flagging mostly, and I ate my sandwiches while I was working so I could work through my lunch-breaks and earn extra money greasing heavy equipment while the operators were taking their breaks. At 18 and after, I took full-time summer vacation-replacement jobs at local wood-products mills every summer and took all the overtime that was offered to me. All through college, I bought, refurbished and sold guitars and amplifiers, and played frat parties on the weekends. As a result, with a little help from my parents, I was able to go through college with NO loans and got out with no debt. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort.

I was accepted to some pretty nice colleges (some that I never even applied to), but opted for a state land-grant college to keep tuition, housing, and travel costs to a minimum. That affordability combined with a lot of jobs and self-employment got me through.

Can you find work and perhaps get help from your family to help pay for college?

I couldn't get loans back in the '60s/'70s because my father "earned too much money" making just a little over minimum wage and taking all the overtime he was offered. I had been a caretaker at the local cemetery all through my teens and had saved almost all of that money for college. At 17, I got a job with a road-construction company - flagging mostly, and I ate my sandwiches while I was working so I could work through my lunch-breaks and earn extra money greasing heavy equipment while the operators were taking their breaks. At 18 and after, I took full-time summer vacation-replacement jobs at local wood-products mills every summer and took all the overtime that was offered to me. All through college, I bought, refurbished and sold guitars and amplifiers, and played frat parties on the weekends. As a result, with a little help from my parents, I was able to go through college with NO loans and got out with no debt. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort.

I was accepted to some pretty nice colleges (some that I never even applied to), but opted for a state land-grant college to keep tuition, housing, and travel costs to a minimum. That affordability combined with a lot of jobs and self-employment got me through.
Well...how would you consider working part-time while doing your degree in Physics/Engineering/Math (I'm still undecided)?

I read that it's not recommended working while studying in university, because one misses out important opportunities such as researching (undergrad level) - which is so important for grad school application.

I thought graduate schools pay you and not the other way around. I mostly read around these forums that for grad schools it's an investment they make in you.
Research Assistantship is usually a professor or department paying you to do research. My current PI (Undergraduate) pays Masters and PhD students as a research assistantship and does not require teaching unless he has a really busy semester. (One semester out of his 20 years of being a professor at my uni.)

dlgoff
Gold Member
Research Assistantship is usually a professor or department paying you to do research. My current PI (Undergraduate) pays Masters and PhD students as a research assistantship and does not require teaching unless he has a really busy semester. (One semester out of his 20 years of being a professor at my uni.)
I was a TA for Physics I lab when I was an undergrad. Just lucky I guess. Later (senior year) I worked "special problems" at the Universities particle accelerator which was a great honor and being a TA got my foot in the door.

I was a TA for Physics I lab when I was an undergrad. Just lucky I guess. Later (senior year) I worked "special problems" at the Universities particle accelerator which was a great honor and being a TA got my foot in the door.
This is one of those situations that depend greatly on the department. My department (Nuclear Engineering) is strongly rooted in payed Undergraduate Research Positions for a huge number of students. Also, most students in graduate school for the department are payed as Research Assistants or in the case they can't get a professor to pick them up for it (Very terminal Masters/MBA program) they get an teaching assistantship for a lab course.

Well...how would you consider working part-time while doing your degree in Physics/Engineering/Math (I'm still undecided)?

I read that it's not recommended working while studying in university, because one misses out important opportunities such as researching (undergrad level) - which is so important for grad school application.
First of all, it IS possible but it depends on time management (something most students, including ones in physics, suck at) and the type of work.

I make \$12/hour working in our engineerings and science library. I basically get paid to do homework and check out books, but most of the time I just study. I also work at the physics instruments machine shop and an electronics lab, both things that I can come in when I please AND have machining, CAD, fabrication, and electronics experience to put on my resume. I don't trust people who think that they have SO much work that they can't even be bothered to wash dishes, much less get a small on-campus job. Poor time management or way too much work.

turbo
Gold Member
Well...how would you consider working part-time while doing your degree in Physics/Engineering/Math (I'm still undecided)?

I read that it's not recommended working while studying in university, because one misses out important opportunities such as researching (undergrad level) - which is so important for grad school application.
At the time, I was in Engineering, heading for a Chemical Engineering degree with emphasis on Pulp and Paper processes. After a couple of years, I changed my major(s), but those first 2 years were pretty brutal. Still, the part-time nature of my self-employment left me enough time to get everything done. People would bring me guitars so that I could repair them or set them up properly, but they had to agree that I would complete the work on my schedule before I would take that kind of job. I could play for frat parties on Friday and Saturday nights and still have both of my weekend days and Sunday evening for studying, so it all worked out. I certainly wouldn't have taken a job with a schedule, like flipping burgers. Plus, I could make a lot more money buying, repairing, and selling amps and guitars. I loved it when I could pick up a nice old tube amp for chump-change just because it needed a cap-job or better tubes, and sounded crappy.

What an incredible amount of money! What is she graduating in?
She is working in graduate school for optometry.