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Worried about student debt

  1. Aug 5, 2011 #1
    hi guys,
    I am turning gr 12 and i wish to attend university of toronto for Physics program in 2012
    Few moments ago, i just remembered about estimating my OSAP loans
    it turns out I can get around 11,000 per year and in an ideal case I need to pay back 7300 dollars
    The thing is, if this keeps accumulating throughout my 4 year undergrad, thats like 30,000 dollars. I was going to pursue graduate school and phd but facing the reality is this somewhat stupid for me? I don't want to live my life in debt

    as of now my family has a bit of debt with no income. My parents are immigrants and
    they have supported me overseas and finally came to canada this year. They are looking for jobs at the moment
    I can only rely on scholarships, my part time job (if i have time), and student loans

    I am so afraid of the interests that will build up if i don't pay back in time
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2011 #2


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    I'm not sure how it works in Canada, but in the States interest on loans is usually deferred until after your schooling is complete. The idea is that you'll have a job and can start paying back loans after you're done with school.

    However, if any amount of significant debt is an issue for you, you should look into cheaper options for your schooling. Rare is the person who graduates with no student debt at all.
  4. Aug 6, 2011 #3


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    Education Advisor

    You're not unique. The debt load associated with school is a concern for most students.

    The best thing you can do is to come up with a plan now for how you're going to pay for school and minimize debt. I think too few students take the time to really think about this and simply take out as big a loan as they qualify for and then assume they'll be able to pay it back once they graduate.

    Here are a few tips:
    1. What are you doing right now to save for university? Have you worked through the summer? Are you planning to get a part-time job during the school year? How much money are you putting away each month for school? Are there ways to improve this? Can you get a better-paying job?

    2. Do you need to go to university immediately after high school? There's nothing wrong with taking a year or two to work full-time, and svae up some money. You also gain some real world experience and come to university with a sharper perspective on where you want to go. Of course, the disadvantage is that if you're not using all the physics and math and other knowledge you grew in high school, it degrades over time.

    3. Scholarships. Take the time to really investigate these. You are NOT automatically enrolled for everything you might qualify for just because you apply to a certain school. There are many small scholarships that have very specific application requirements. Apply for everything you qualify for.

    4. Part-time job during university. While it's admirable to dedicate all your time to academics, there are multiple advantages to a job such as:
    (a) $
    (b) Work experience makes for a stronger resume when eventually you start looking for a career-type job. It can help you to develop marketable skills. Even 4 years of working window at McDonald's is valuable if you ever decide to apply for a technical sales position.
    (c) Work experience helps you learn about yourself in ways you can't exlusively in academia: how much you enjoy working with people, sales, scheduling, dealing with difficult bosses or co-workers, ect.
    (d) You meet people outside of academics. Sometimes it can be refreshing to have friends who are on different paths.
    (e) Related to (d), even though it's work, it can offer a break from your studies, which can help you to be more efficent when you do study.
    (f) If you can swing it, getting a job assisting with research can bolster your graduate school application.

    5. Summer jobs. Start planning for these in September, not April. Aim to work full-time over the summer. If you've secured something at minimum wage, try looking for something that pays more.

    6. Consider all of your loan options. Some banks will offer student lines of credit where rather than an up-front, large sum, they allow you to take out money as you need it.
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