Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Student loan debt

  1. Aug 23, 2010 #1
    Post is kinda lengthy, thanks for reading though.

    For starters, i'm from las vegas, so i could go to university there, however, i will be attendting the u of minnesota-twin cities, which is a very good school for physics. If I go to university in las vegas than when i receive my bachelors ill owe approx 12k, but if i go to school at twin cities, ill owe around 47k when i get my bachelors. Im curious about how close to an average student debt that is for others that have received their degreee or are very close. Furthermore, UNLV, the school in vegas, isnt that great of school, whereas the school in minnesota is and has a very good reputation. Does anyone think its worth the money to get the degreee from the better school? Would i be much better prepared for grad school coming from the better school? Would i have a hard time getting in to a good/really good grad school coming from a school unknown in the physics world? Any advice will be very appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2010 #2
    I'm an undergrad right now, going into the last half of my junior year (I started in the spring a few years back).

    I have an associate's degree from a small private school already, which took me 16 months to get. I took about $6,000 in loans there. I than went on to a city college for a year and a half and took about $5,000 there. I've since transferred to a rather expensive private university and even though I have about $26,000 worth of scholarships and grants, I still took loans totaling about $11,000.

    So, all together I'm about $22,000 in the hole so far. I had two opportunities when I wanted transfer: the university that I am attending and described above and a different city college which was much less money. I made the decision to take the loans, and go for the university for a few reason...

    1. The mathematics program at the university is orders of magnitude better than the city college.

    2. The university is a better all around school.

    3. The university is closer to where I live.

    4. I was introduced to a professor at the university that welcomed me to do some research work with him should I want to. (We've kept in touch, met a few times over the summer and I'll be working with him a bit come the Fall semester..)

    I've stated the reasons for you so that you may see the things that swayed me in one direction. I hope it helps you to make a good decision.
  4. Aug 23, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I can't speak to the quality of each school - I know nothing about either one.

    But if you really have your heart set on the Minnesota school, yet also have an aversion to high debt, there's a way around it. You can move to Minnesota and live there for the time required to become a resident. That varies state-to-state; usually it's one year.

    If you chose this option, you need to be able to prove to the admissions office you've been there a year. This usually means providing proof of in-state employment for the last year, or rent/utility bills in your name. Check with the school to see what proof they require.

    Then once you're a resident, you will pay the in-state tuition which is much cheaper. Yes, it's a year of waiting, but it may be worth it to go that route.
  5. Aug 23, 2010 #4
    Thanks alot for the reply, sometimes its hard to get those around here lol. Im thinking i should do the samething but im really worried about being able to pay the loans back. If anyone else has anything to add i'd appreciate it!
  6. Aug 23, 2010 #5

    This is very wise and sensible advice. Something I hadn't thought of.
  7. Aug 23, 2010 #6
    One thing that I would strongly suggest that you do is to pay for some plane tickets, and go to both schools to see how you fit in.

    The mistake I think most high school students make is that they worry too much about getting a physics undergraduate degree from a good school, whereas the real challenge is getting a physics degree at all, and so your first goal should be getting in a school where you can finish the degree. The people you really want to talk to are upperclassmen in the physics department.

    One other factor is that if you go for a Ph.D., many student loans do not have any interest.
  8. Aug 24, 2010 #7
    Are you factoring in scholarships into those figures?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook