Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
tasteofred
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Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby tasteofred » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:07 pm

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im_blue
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby im_blue » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:19 pm

Is it smart to get $7000 braces right now, when you have lots of debt? :?

I would suggest looking into law schools where you can get substantial scholarship money, or finding a co-signer.

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TheIdiot
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby TheIdiot » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:33 pm

I had about $30,000 of UG debt and terrible credit. The difference is I had a co-signer. You can get $20,500 of federal loans so you'll just need to get enough of a scholarship such that the federal loans will cover your cost of attendance. I don't think your UG debt is substantial, and it becomes less so considering you are going to [out of necessity] borrow less for law school than you otherwise may have. So long as the scholly-offering school provides good options, you should be fine.

Take care of the LSAT first. If you do well, your problem will be an enviable one.

BetterCallSaul
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby BetterCallSaul » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:34 pm

How can you be in UG without health insurance? Virtually every school provides it at a reasonable price and you have to opt out of the plan if you have other insurance. If you've got educational loans you should be able to use them to pay for insurance too...get yourself covered now!

As for your old debt and bad credit--if it's already been sent to collections you can probably settle the debt for a fraction of what you owe. If you haven't paid on it in over a year you could try to settle for 3 or 4k--start saving up some cash so you can do that.

No braces. Your money needs to be so many other places right now.

You are not stuck. You can fix this pretty quickly and patch up your credit for law school and life within a few years--but you need a budget. Google "Dave Ramsey"--and Good Luck!

orko60
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby orko60 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:02 am

I love Dave! Then again, I obviously don't listen to what he's saying, since I'm borrowing money to go to Law school (I think that's the one thing he says is okay to borrow for, though).

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kswiss
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby kswiss » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:43 am

You can get Stafford loans with bad credit as long as you haven't defaulted on any student loans, so you should be good there.

You can do what a lot of people do... do everything you can to inflate your COA when you deal with financial aid, and then live as cheaply as possible. This might be a situation where you take a slightly lower ranked school at full-ride and use the difference between COA and actual cost to pay down some debt. Not ideal, but plenty of people do it.

Also, if it is completely crippling you financially, I'd recommend going in person to the hospital where the ER is located and requesting a financial counselor or social worker. It might be too late if everything has gone to collections, but in some cases the healthcare company is so big that they do in-house collections. (I have some experience with this, I ended up 12k in debt after my kid's NICU bills that were supposed to be covered.)

If you really want to get on top of it, do some research, put all of the numbers in a file, and know exactly where you are on every account. Call each one of them, and ask what your options are. Tell them that you can't afford to pay in full, but you would be happy to pay an amount every month. Tell them that if they can't, you might have to file for bankruptcy. Take very good notes on everything they say.

Ignoring them is not good, because they can sue you, which would look far worse come C&F time. If it does end up going to court, you will at least have a record of trying to work with each creditor in good faith.

Shit happens. It took me and my wife 4 years to overcome all the crap that happened because of our daughter, but things are definitely looking up. We just paid our last CC payment and hospital bill, and we are free of all debt except student loans. Its definitely doable. I feel like I turned a situation that could have looked very bad on my record to something where I can say, "Look, I went through a rocky financial time, but instead of throwing in the towel I tackled it and pulled through to the other side."

In a few years, 7k will still seem like a lot of money, but it will pale in comparison to the 60k+ of LS debt you will likely incur. Just try to keep your chin up, and make sure you do everything to make sure you look as honest as possible in your dealings with the creditors.

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Gunz353
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Gunz353 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:53 am

All I can say is I feel your pain...I was lucky enough to have a family member swoop in and pay off my horrendous debt, essentially saving my life if you ask me. Try not to let it get the best of you. Keep searching for solutions, they are out there. Best of luck to you!

BetterCallSaul
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby BetterCallSaul » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:22 am

orko60 wrote:I love Dave! Then again, I obviously don't listen to what he's saying, since I'm borrowing money to go to Law school (I think that's the one thing he says is okay to borrow for, though).


Clearly, I love Dave too! I think that deep down he knows that you can't become a doctor or a lawyer without taking some debt unless you're already rich, but he never gives the advice to take out loans for education. Sort of frustrating--seems like if he's ok with going into debt for a house, he should accept that sometimes educational debt is worthwhile. But then, there are so few situations where educational debt is really a good investment that I can see why he'd just tell people to avoid it.

I do the envelope system to budget and I will kill my law school loans in less than 3 years. I'm weird. :D

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:35 am

BetterCallSaul wrote:How can you be in UG without health insurance? Virtually every school provides it at a reasonable price and you have to opt out of the plan if you have other insurance. If you've got educational loans you should be able to use them to pay for insurance too...get yourself covered now!

As for your old debt and bad credit--if it's already been sent to collections you can probably settle the debt for a fraction of what you owe. If you haven't paid on it in over a year you could try to settle for 3 or 4k--start saving up some cash so you can do that.

No braces. Your money needs to be so many other places right now.

You are not stuck. You can fix this pretty quickly and patch up your credit for law school and life within a few years--but you need a budget. Google "Dave Ramsey"--and Good Luck!


TITCR

I don't mean to speak about your situation as if I know it completely, because I obviously don't, but it bugs me when people don't use the coverage available to them and then don't have insurance. There is almost always a way to get health insurance, particularly if you're a student. If you do some homework and dig around, you should be able to find a way to get yourself covered.

And again, that was me just venting. Please don't take it personally. I hope you do get to law school and I can certainly feel you re: undergrad debt. Good luck and get yourself covered!

tasteofred
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby tasteofred » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:34 am

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HBK
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby HBK » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:42 am

Have you ever considered getting a job? I mean, undergrad is not that hard. I know a lot of people on this site worked and went to undergrad. I did. You can use whatever you earn to pay off the medical debt and to buy insurance so it doesn't happen again.

And why the rush to get braces?

You sound all around irresponsible. You should consider getting out into the real world to gain some maturity before you pursue a JD.

* Also- all hospitals have charity programs. All you need to do is apply. If you qualify, they will knock a substantial amount off that debt.

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Luis Gomez
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Luis Gomez » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:03 am

tasteofred wrote:I've been reading through this part of the forum and it's getting me sort of worried. I'm moving into my Junior year in UG, but I'll be graduating with about 30k in federal loans.

I also don't have health insurance, and it's absolutely ruined my credit. I have about 10k, at least, in ER bills from a few unfortunate instances. Like the ER prescribing me antibiotics that gave me an almost deadly allergic reaction, landing me back in the ER to get that under control, then the gross left-overs of the reactions sending me there 3 MORE times for wound packing, yum. Ugh. Anyway, my credit sucks. All of my other credit accounts are paid on time, including two cars (one isn't mine, I'm just a co-signer for my mom), cell phone, apartment, etc. etc. There is no chance I'll be able to put any kind of dent in this debt by the time I start applying for financial aid. I'm currently looking at $7,000 in dental costs for braces and such so I'll have no free money for at least a year. And I can't put it off any longer. A lot of the debt has been sent to collections, so I can't tell from my credit report if it even specifies that it's medical debt. I definitely don't see it listed obviously, there's just lots of collection agencies and a lot of big numbers.

So, I have two concerns. I'm worried I'll never even be able to get loans for law school. I have no one to co-sign for me, and can guarantee that I never will. Everyone in my family has horrendous credit and miniscule incomes, if they have jobs at all. Assuming I can get through that hurdle, I'm also worried about eventual character assessment for the Bar. I'm not purposefully evading anyone, although I have given up on answering phone calls just to get yelled at. The debts were all sent to different places (separate accounts for each visit, blood test, etc.) and none will accept offers of the little bit of money I can afford. Not to throw a whole sob story at anyone, but the whole "you can do whatever you want if you work hard" bit is starting to sound like a load of bull and I'm considering throwing in the towel, changing my major to something that will get me a job right out of undergrad, and settling for mediocrity. Argh. Anyone been through/going through the same thing? Is my hole just way too deep?

For the record, I'm plenty capable of getting into high-ranked schools. Probably from NYU down if I raise my first LSAT diagnostic 8 or so points. So even with huge debt, I think it would be a worthwhile investment, if the healthcare system hadn't screwed me :P

Thanks so much for any input.


Seems like Obama is right in supporting a health care overhaul.

tasteofred
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby tasteofred » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:27 am

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jdhonest
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby jdhonest » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:34 am

4 easy steps to your problem
1) get a great LSAT
2) take $$$$ at a 12-18
3) use your impressive new and flawless smile to land a summer position
4) pay off your medical bills

Problem solved.

HBK
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby HBK » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:35 am

tasteofred wrote:
HBK wrote:Have you ever considered getting a job? I mean, undergrad is not that hard. I know a lot of people on this site worked and went to undergrad. I did. You can use whatever you earn to pay off the medical debt and to buy insurance so it doesn't happen again.

And why the rush to get braces?

You sound all around irresponsible. You should consider getting out into the real world to gain some maturity before you pursue a JD.

* Also- all hospitals have charity programs. All you need to do is apply. If you qualify, they will knock a substantial amount off that debt.


Have you ever considered asking me if I have a job? Because I do and have since I got out of high school. Unfortunately, I have a car payment, car insurance, phone bill, rent to pay, food to buy, etc. I don't need to tell you the inner workings of my life, but it was unnecessary to call me irresponsible and immature. I have every intention of paying off my debt as soon as possible, and it's next up on the list after getting braces and health insurance. Even when I worked 40 hours, I was below poverty line (target, overnight, $9.40/hour) I'm on food stamps, and I'm trying my best. Now I do legal assisting work, but substantial hours are hard to come by. I'm sure I do need to grow up a bit, also, but I wouldn't call myself irresponsible.

And as I stated above, the rush to get braces is because I need them. My main medical problem was a systemic infection caused by a tooth abscess I'd had since I was 12. And yes, I brush+floss my teeth, but when you have severe crowding and your parents don't bother to take you to the dentist, shit happens. I need surgery to remove teeth, 9 fillings and I need to get braces so it doesn't happen again. Maybe I'm vain, but I want teeth in my mouth at 20 years old. The hospital had a program, I didn't qualify for it because of my mother's income and my being "dependent". But just like with school, her income isn't coming to me, nor do I think it should be.


Then work more hours. How you can have a job and that much debt is mind boggling.

ughOSU
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby ughOSU » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:38 am

I was going to make a sarcastic comment about you not being ahead, but yea it seems that you've kinda being screwed by the system. I recommend this for almost everyone, but it really may be worthwhile for you to take a couple years off to make money, pay down debts, and try to bump your credit rating to a respectable level. It would be a shame to have T10 numbers and go to a T30 because you couldn't take out a loan. Of course, if you don't land a job that will make you money, you may end up getting screwed on this plan by the interest accumulating...

Also, I have a bit of experience dealing with paying debts in our medical system. Have you called the hospital's billing department? They may not have turned the bills over to a collections agency yet, it which case there may still be time for you to take out an educational loan to pay off your bills. Educational debt is much better than medical debt. You can also ask for an extension on the time before they turn your bills over to a collections agency. I think most hospitals give you 6 months initially.

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:44 am

OP, you obviously have a lot of financial stuff on your plate right now and to answer your original question bluntly: yes, stop while you're ahead. Do not plan on going to law school in the next year, maybe not even the next two years. Work, save, repeat until you're in a comfortable situation or can at least start to build your credit back up.

I understand that $128/month isn't cheap, but how is it that you can't get your loans to cover this? Something just isn't adding up. I financed virtually all of my UG with loans, including insurance. And I also had car payments and rent to pay. Isn't adding that extra $128/month worth not being on the edge of bankruptcy? How much are you paying in car payments and rent? Can you get a cheaper car or smaller place/more roommates?

Another think you could consider is taking a year off from UG to work and then go back and do your senior year. If you're situation is as dire as you say, this might be the better thing to do for yourself. You'd of course have to see if loans will start to go into repayment or not (if they're currently deferred) and check what that means for your school.

Lastly, I understand why you're getting braces and from what you're saying it doesn't seem like you have any other option, which is fine. But with that said, you need to work your life around that necessary expense. Maybe taking some time off from school to work full-time is one way to do that. My intention isn't to judge you so I don't want to call YOU irresponsible, but the act of going without medical insurance as an adult when I'm SURE there is a way you could get state insurance or get student loans to cover it is irresponsible.

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:46 am

ughOSU wrote:I was going to make a sarcastic comment about you not being ahead, but yea it seems that you've kinda being screwed by the system. I recommend this for almost everyone, but it really may be worthwhile for you to take a couple years off to make money, pay down debts, and try to bump your credit rating to a respectable level. It would be a shame to have T10 numbers and go to a T30 because you couldn't take out a loan. Of course, if you don't land a job that will make you money, you may end up getting screwed on this plan by the interest accumulating...

Also, I have a bit of experience dealing with paying debts in our medical system. Have you called the hospital's billing department? They may not have turned the bills over to a collections agency yet, it which case there may still be time for you to take out an educational loan to pay off your bills. Educational debt is much better than medical debt. You can also ask for an extension on the time before they turn your bills over to a collections agency. I think most hospitals give you 6 months initially.


I'm sorry but this is NOT being screwed by the system. $128/month for medical insurance is as necessary as the car payment and rent - you FIND a way to make it happen, espeically if you're taking out student loans. I was on food stamps, too, and I had insurance. It's a matter of personal responsibility.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby pleasetryagain » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:52 am

Kiersten1985 wrote:
ughOSU wrote:I was going to make a sarcastic comment about you not being ahead, but yea it seems that you've kinda being screwed by the system. I recommend this for almost everyone, but it really may be worthwhile for you to take a couple years off to make money, pay down debts, and try to bump your credit rating to a respectable level. It would be a shame to have T10 numbers and go to a T30 because you couldn't take out a loan. Of course, if you don't land a job that will make you money, you may end up getting screwed on this plan by the interest accumulating...

Also, I have a bit of experience dealing with paying debts in our medical system. Have you called the hospital's billing department? They may not have turned the bills over to a collections agency yet, it which case there may still be time for you to take out an educational loan to pay off your bills. Educational debt is much better than medical debt. You can also ask for an extension on the time before they turn your bills over to a collections agency. I think most hospitals give you 6 months initially.


I'm sorry but this is NOT being screwed by the system. $128/month for medical insurance is as necessary as the car payment and rent - you FIND a way to make it happen, espeically if you're taking out student loans. I was on food stamps, too, and I had insurance. It's a matter of personal responsibility.


tbf plenty of people choose not to buy health insurance. my school didnt offer health insurance and I definitely couldnt afford a $200/month plan since, at the time, I made too much at work for food stamps even though I was, and still am, broke as shit..

dontknowwhereimgoin
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby dontknowwhereimgoin » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:54 am

ITT: People unaware of the bottom quintile

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Notor
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Notor » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:57 am

Join the air force

tasteofred
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby tasteofred » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:02 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:OP, you obviously have a lot of financial stuff on your plate right now and to answer your original question bluntly: yes, stop while you're ahead. Do not plan on going to law school in the next year, maybe not even the next two years. Work, save, repeat until you're in a comfortable situation or can at least start to build your credit back up.

I understand that $128/month isn't cheap, but how is it that you can't get your loans to cover this? Something just isn't adding up. I financed virtually all of my UG with loans, including insurance. And I also had car payments and rent to pay. Isn't adding that extra $128/month worth not being on the edge of bankruptcy? How much are you paying in car payments and rent? Can you get a cheaper car or smaller place/more roommates?

Another think you could consider is taking a year off from UG to work and then go back and do your senior year. If you're situation is as dire as you say, this might be the better thing to do for yourself. You'd of course have to see if loans will start to go into repayment or not (if they're currently deferred) and check what that means for your school.

Lastly, I understand why you're getting braces and from what you're saying it doesn't seem like you have any other option, which is fine. But with that said, you need to work your life around that necessary expense. Maybe taking some time off from school to work full-time is one way to do that. My intention isn't to judge you so I don't want to call YOU irresponsible, but the act of going without medical insurance as an adult when I'm SURE there is a way you could get state insurance or get student loans to cover it is irresponsible.


I have to go four straight years or my scholarship (which covers 75%) doesn't get renewed. I'm considering taking a year off between UG and law school, though. And I'm working on budgeting in the health insurance. Yes, I should have had it before, it was irresponsible of me, I get that and regret it every day. I was just looking for opinions on how it would affect me in getting loans/getting admitted to the bar. As in, if I managed to get the *medical* debt paid off before applying for things like GradPlus, if I could get approved without a cosigner? Or will I be forever screwed anyway because the C&F will look at me like a debt-evading hoodlum? :P The medical bills ARE sent to collections and are about 1.5 years old, just for the record.

ughOSU
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby ughOSU » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:22 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:
ughOSU wrote:I was going to make a sarcastic comment about you not being ahead, but yea it seems that you've kinda being screwed by the system. I recommend this for almost everyone, but it really may be worthwhile for you to take a couple years off to make money, pay down debts, and try to bump your credit rating to a respectable level. It would be a shame to have T10 numbers and go to a T30 because you couldn't take out a loan. Of course, if you don't land a job that will make you money, you may end up getting screwed on this plan by the interest accumulating...

Also, I have a bit of experience dealing with paying debts in our medical system. Have you called the hospital's billing department? They may not have turned the bills over to a collections agency yet, it which case there may still be time for you to take out an educational loan to pay off your bills. Educational debt is much better than medical debt. You can also ask for an extension on the time before they turn your bills over to a collections agency. I think most hospitals give you 6 months initially.


I'm sorry but this is NOT being screwed by the system. $128/month for medical insurance is as necessary as the car payment and rent - you FIND a way to make it happen, espeically if you're taking out student loans. I was on food stamps, too, and I had insurance. It's a matter of personal responsibility.

Fair enough, and I don't mind that line of thinking. However, I know that if I didn't have parents that stressed the importance of having medical insurance to me, I probably wouldn't have seen the problem with being uninsured before I was at least 24. Likewise for dental care. Additionally, going to a hospital and them making you more sick really sucks a lot, especially if you're uninsured. To me, that mainly amounts to an extortion scheme. On top of that, the treatment he received probably cost him twice what it would cost an insurance company because hospitals really fuck over the uninsured on the basis that it's harder to recover money from uninsured patients. No doubt, that's true, but I wouldn't expect college students to know all this. It's also really ridiculous that hospitals never quote any price estimates, and thus preclude uninsured persons from making an economically proper decision. It's a system that only works for the insured, and even for them not all that well. Finally, being independent and unable to claim yourself as dependent is an unfortunate reality for a lot of college students, and does cost some people a lot of money.

Notice, I didn't say that he's entitled to having his debts forgiven or anything ridiculous like that. Just that it sucks and he was, in many ways, screwed by the system.

e: Just fyi, "screwed by the system" is a term I use more loosly than most. I feel like we're all screwed by the system to a certain extent, although I could see how you interpreted my use of that term as an overstatement of what I was trying to say.

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CmonSD
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby CmonSD » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:37 pm

Unless I missed something......you should get insurance, pay the extra 15-20 to add dental and save some money there. I had insurance through a crappy restaurant and it still took the braces down 3k or so. Just something to consider if you can.

Renzo
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Re: Horrible credit, undergrad debt, stop while I'm ahead?

Postby Renzo » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:32 pm

HBK wrote:Have you ever considered getting a job? I mean, undergrad is not that hard. I know a lot of people on this site worked and went to undergrad. I did. You can use whatever you earn to pay off the medical debt and to buy insurance so it doesn't happen again.

And why the rush to get braces?

You sound all around irresponsible. You should consider getting out into the real world to gain some maturity before you pursue a JD.

* Also- all hospitals have charity programs. All you need to do is apply. If you qualify, they will knock a substantial amount off that debt.

ITT: privileged fucks say, "let them eat cake!"




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