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I may be going to Grad school this fall


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15 replies to this topic

#1 Cosmos Human

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Well, in order to advance myself and find a better paying job I maybe going to get a Masters degree in my field. This means taking out student loans, which because I will be a grad student they will be unsubsidized. It is a special program for full time employed people...an intensive one weekend a month program for the next three years.

I will be seriously in debt probably until I die. The school cost is like 36k a year. Am I losing my mind? At age 55 will I every recoup the earning power? If I want to move to PA to live with my BF, my BA in SW is not accepted by PA, only a Masters degree, so my earning power is very limited there.

The school is local to me so distance and housing is not a problem. I did the FAFSA and at my current salary there will be no grants...just loans. I want to avoid private loans at all costs and if I need a private loan I will think twice about enrolling.

My back up plan is getting a Masters of Disaster Management at AMU.edu.

If I end up going to the 36k a year school...when I graduate what will happen to me if I can pay back the loans? I know they can garnish my social security when I turn 65. I think the maxis 15%.



#2 snowpuppy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

Having worked a decade at 2 very large universities I can tell you the mantra is: "can't get a job with your first degree? come back. we'll be happy to sell you a second".

You have an undeg in Social Work but lack a Master's? At $36k per yr x 3 yrs, plus interest accruing you're looking at more than $100k in debt. How much extra income will that potentially give you? Divided by how many years remaining do you plan to work?

Unfortunately there are no grants for grad students offered by the Feds. While you might luck out with some scholarship $, the other option would be Public Service Forgiveness which is what I'm doing. You go into repayment for 10 yrs and the balance is forgiven. But that's 10 yrs after you complete school.

I looked into joining FEMA but it's tough to get in and the Feds are just not hiring. The other option would be a county or state EMA but you need to show transferable skills. Have you thought about other SW options such as a hospital liasion for the county welfare dept? In my state you only need a BA but $ is limited. Other thoughts are Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc but again, salary would be limited.

If it were me, and I'm over 40...I would spend some time with DBF and seek some career counseling in the area where he lives. Since you brought him up, it sounds like that may be an option for you. Are job prospects overall better in his area? I think you want to work backwards. Decide where you want to go, what you want to do.....and then decide on your career options. A Grad Degree is no longer a guarantee of anything, anymore. Good luck with your decisions!

#3 Cosmos Human

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 07:01 PM

Having worked a decade at 2 very large universities I can tell you the mantra is: "can't get a job with your first degree? come back. we'll be happy to sell you a second". I can totally believe that!

You have an undeg in Social Work but lack a Master's? At $36k per yr x 3 yrs, plus interest accruing you're looking at more than $100k in debt. How much extra income will that potentially give you? Divided by how many years remaining do you plan to work? I have no idea, but i will probably drop dead before the loans are paid off.

Unfortunately there are no grants for grad students offered by the Feds. While you might luck out with some scholarship $, the other option would be Public Service Forgiveness which is what I'm doing. You go into repayment for 10 yrs and the balance is forgiven. But that's 10 yrs after you complete school. I am aware of this.

I looked into joining FEMA but it's tough to get in and the Feds are just not hiring. The other option would be a county or state EMA but you need to show transferable skills. Have you thought about other SW options such as a hospital liasion for the county welfare dept? In my state you only need a BA but $ is limited. Other thoughts are Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc but again, salary would be limited. I am a volunteer in my local county MRC

If it were me, and I'm over 40...I would spend some time with DBF and seek some career counseling in the area where he lives. Since you brought him up, it sounds like that may be an option for you. Are job prospects overall better in his area? I think you want to work backwards. Decide where you want to go, what you want to do.....and then decide on your career options. A Grad Degree is no longer a guarantee of anything, anymore. Good luck with your decisions! In PA you need a Masters degree and a BA in social work pays very poorly if I find any job at all




#4 Gwennie

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:34 PM

If you intend to retire in 10 years, it makes no sense to spend a significant part of that time going back to school and incurring debt. You will be paying back on loans for much longer than you would be earning on them.

Edited by Gwennie, 20 April 2012 - 10:36 PM.


#5 thankfulheart

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 05:37 AM

I will be seriously in debt probably until I die. The school cost is like 36k a year. Am I losing my mind?


My advice? What will make you happy? Will you be happy doing the work the degree prepares you for? If so, it may well be worth it as you may well decide to work past your 60s. My Dad is still "working" (he doesn't think it's work b/c he loves his job) and he's 75 years old. I went back to grad school when I was 45 for the sole purpose of qualifying for an internship with my dream company. It worked and I wound up getting hired F/T. I racked up $50K in student loans doing it, but I was at peace with that decision. I joke that they will be forgiving my loans over my graveside as the grad school loans combined with my still outstanding B.A. loans (private school, ouch) are shocking, but, hey, I love my job and loved what I learned along the way. BTW, my grad school was a completely different direction and I'm glad I took that road. "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined" (Thoreau)

#6 Cosmos Human

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 12:02 PM

Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.

#7 thankfulheart

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:20 AM

Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.



Congratulations! Enjoy the journey!

#8 Cosmos Human

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 12:24 PM

Now I hope I have a good financial package. I'll probably be dead before the loans are paid off..but I'll have a Masters degree! I;m hoping to fit in with the "Big Bang Theory" folks!

#9 hegemony

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:26 PM

Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.

congrats!!!!

graduate school is so much different than undergrad. For one, you usually are there because you are interested in the subject (I think this makes it easier than undergrad)

Second, there are fewer "core" curriculum requirements and those that do exist are directly part of the focus of the degree NOT courses from basket weaving, English, or physical education.

#10 ctb89

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:53 PM

Congrats! I just graduated from a 1 year masters program in my b-school but I did it back-to-back with my undergrad so I am ready to be done. But part of me really wishes I could stay. :)

#11 Cosmos Human

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:09 PM


Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.

congrats!!!!

graduate school is so much different than undergrad. For one, you usually are there because you are interested in the subject (I think this makes it easier than undergrad)

Second, there are fewer "core" curriculum requirements and those that do exist are directly part of the focus of the degree NOT courses from basket weaving, English, or physical education.


BF said grad school is like undergrad...but on steroids. He should know, he's a professor.

#12 hegemony

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:16 PM



Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.

congrats!!!!

graduate school is so much different than undergrad. For one, you usually are there because you are interested in the subject (I think this makes it easier than undergrad)

Second, there are fewer "core" curriculum requirements and those that do exist are directly part of the focus of the degree NOT courses from basket weaving, English, or physical education.


BF said grad school is like undergrad...but on steroids. He should know, he's a professor.



so am I ;)

#13 thankfulheart

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 02:32 AM




Drum roll........

I received my acceptance today...I'm going to be a grad student Fall 2012 semester.

OK...I know I'll be in debt for the rest of my life....don't really care...I am doing what I love and that is all what really matters to me.

congrats!!!!

graduate school is so much different than undergrad. For one, you usually are there because you are interested in the subject (I think this makes it easier than undergrad)

Second, there are fewer "core" curriculum requirements and those that do exist are directly part of the focus of the degree NOT courses from basket weaving, English, or physical education.


BF said grad school is like undergrad...but on steroids. He should know, he's a professor.



so am I ;)


Ha! My Dad's a prof, too, and asking when I'm going for my PhD. It won't help me at all in my career, but there's a part of me that says, "Dr. Thankfulheart, yeah, I could dig that" ;) And, it would postpone those pesky student loans that much longer...

#14 dst1

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:35 PM

If I end up going to the 36k a year school...when I graduate what will happen to me if I can pay back the loans? I know they can garnish my social security when I turn 65. I think the maxis 15%.


Now you know why I call student loans welfare through the backdoor. I know someone who did something very similar. They retired at age 62 and then spent the next eight years borrowing about 125K from the government to get their phd knowing full well they would never be able to pay it off. From their viewpoint it was a great way to spend their retirement and subsidized by the government to boot.

I don't blame them. Student Loans are seriously messed up and this is just one of the reasons why.

#15 Cosmos Human

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 08:07 AM

I have no intention of going for a PhD. I'll need more brain cells! I do plan on working in my profession for as long as I can.

#16 Cosmos Human

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 04:41 AM

I have great news! I was offered a partial scholarship....this is fantastic! Now I won't have to take out a lot of loans.




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