How much debt is *too* much debt?

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:57 pm

Evening everyone,

I've got some questions about some financial aid and debt here. I'm an independent student with about 110k in undergrad loan debt from a public university no less. Obviously this puts me in a small minority of people with "crushing undergraduate debt." and I'm now looking at attending a T2 private law school, which would require borrowing another 150k, more or less. Various searches here and on the rest of the interwebs suggests this is quite uncommon, but certainly not unheard of, or unmanageable given the right circumstances.

But let's be realistic here. I'm drunk. And because I'm an independent student with no family, or close relations.. or even friends, I'm entrusting my financial well being to strangers on the internet. My only other law school offer that was remotely appealing was to a T4 school with a 50% scholarship. But when you're talking about $185k total debt at graduation vs. $260k, I figure it'll be an immense (impossible) struggle either way. I blame my parents for.. dying.

Anyway, someone tell me I'm not nuts. Give me an inspirational story or two about someone you know with more debt than that living large. Big house, five cars. Or at least not giving back alley handjobs for sammich money.


Thanks guys.

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby rayiner » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:01 pm

Is the $105k in undergrad debt in federal loans? If so, take the T2 then hope you can scrape out some public interest job that qualifies for federal IBR (payments capped to 10% of income for 10 years, then forgiven tax-free by the government).

On a related note, what possessed you to get $105k into debt for an unmarketable undergraduate degree?

User avatar
4for44
Posts: 209
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:05 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby 4for44 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:05 pm

Im a 0L too so take this with a grain of salt. But from what Ive learned...

T2 Schools will at least get you jobs (Not great or even good jobs), but jobs...

T4 schools will be a waste of money/ you will not get a legal job- Therefore no way to pay off debt.

My advice... WORK FOR A COUPLE YEARS, USE YOUR UG DEGREE... pay off a little bit of your debt and try to get a better LSAT (or if LSAT was solid at least get work experience). Try to get in T1 even T14 and then you can justifiably pay sticker.

Chin up- I know quite a few ppl with that much debt in UG... might just be your UG, but its not too unusual

User avatar
stratocophic
Posts: 2207
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:24 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby stratocophic » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:10 pm

fewds320 wrote:Evening everyone,

I've got some questions about some financial aid and debt here. I'm an independent student with about 110k in undergrad loan debt from a public university no less. Obviously this puts me in a small minority of people with "crushing undergraduate debt." and I'm now looking at attending a T2 private law school, which would require borrowing another 150k, more or less. Various searches here and on the rest of the interwebs suggests this is quite uncommon, but certainly not unheard of, or unmanageable given the right circumstances.

But let's be realistic here. I'm drunk. And because I'm an independent student with no family, or close relations.. or even friends, I'm entrusting my financial well being to strangers on the internet. My only other law school offer that was remotely appealing was to a T4 school with a 50% scholarship. But when you're talking about $185k total debt at graduation vs. $260k, I figure it'll be an immense (impossible) struggle either way. I blame my parents for.. dying.

Anyway, someone tell me I'm not nuts. Give me an inspirational story or two about someone you know with more debt than that living large. Big house, five cars. Or at least not giving back alley handjobs for sammich money.


Thanks guys.
TLSers generally recoil from debt and T2 schools like vampires from sunlight, so I think you're safe in the "can I trust this advice" department. You also can generally go by post counts for the utility of advice, but not always. rayiner and 4for44 have offered options 1a and 1b. Either get rid of some of your current debt using you UG degree or go to the T2 and do PI. You almost certainly won't be able to pay it off without living like a monk for an incredible length of time if you go with a firm job.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:13 pm

I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:19 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.


I already did that to get into the T2. I don't possess the ability to score well enough on the LSAT; the requisite GPA, or much else to gain entry into a law school that would make all my financial nightmares disappear. The debt is high because the state I live in charges a lot for tuition, and I had no family assistance of any kind. I don't believe this should preclude me from pursuing a course of study I'd enjoy. The T2 has some excellent programs..

Without having the benefit of parents, or family.. I don't have the benefit of solid, real-world advice. I don't, nor have I lived in the real world. I've been in school since I was like, 6. I'm 27. So I don't know what it feels like to pay bills, mortgages, family expenses, and all that jazz while also shouldering gigantic student debt loads. I'm sure it can't be easy, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that professional legal studies are still an option for poor people who lack the ability to get into the nation's absolute best law schools.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby General Tso » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:37 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.


I think OP is a flame. If not a flame -- You are a moron for borrowing that much money for UG and an even bigger moron if you borrow 150k more to go to a mediocre law school.

You need to do what this person says -- get a better LSAT score and go to law school for free. Many people with just 100k in law school debt are screwed in this economy. How the hell do you plan on paying off over $200,000 in student loans with a mediocre job paying (if you are lucky) 60-70k per year?

If your law school isn't free or close to free, you are a making a bad choice.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:40 pm

swheat wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.


I think OP is a flame. If not a flame -- You are a moron for borrowing that much money for UG and an even bigger moron if you borrow 150k more to go to a mediocre law school.

You need to do what this person says -- get a better LSAT score and go to law school for free. Many people with just 100k in law school debt are screwed in this economy. How the hell do you plan on paying off over $200,000 in student loans with a mediocre job paying (if you are lucky) 60-70k per year?

If your law school isn't free or close to free, you are a making a bad choice.




Touche.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby General Tso » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:40 pm

fewds320 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.


I already did that to get into the T2. I don't possess the ability to score well enough on the LSAT; the requisite GPA, or much else to gain entry into a law school that would make all my financial nightmares disappear. The debt is high because the state I live in charges a lot for tuition, and I had no family assistance of any kind. I don't believe this should preclude me from pursuing a course of study I'd enjoy. The T2 has some excellent programs..

Without having the benefit of parents, or family.. I don't have the benefit of solid, real-world advice. I don't, nor have I lived in the real world. I've been in school since I was like, 6. I'm 27. So I don't know what it feels like to pay bills, mortgages, family expenses, and all that jazz while also shouldering gigantic student debt loads. I'm sure it can't be easy, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that professional legal studies are still an option for poor people who lack the ability to get into the nation's absolute best law schools.


yeah complete flame

and not even funny

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:41 pm

It's not a flame. I just don't know how to respond to being called a moron without escalating this into something that would only detract from what it's supposed to be about.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby General Tso » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:42 pm

lets find the xoxo thread titled "Tee hee! let's get our shits and giggles off overly optimistic TLS suckers! Heehee!"

PoliticalJunkie
Posts: 228
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:44 pm

Use IBR.

Most of the IBR information on TLS is wrong. IBR is not solely based on income, but rather a debt:income ratio. So, having 300K+ worth of school debt and making say, 95K/yr after [i]may[i] make you eligible for IBR.

You don't need to be in PI to get IBR (and there are no caps) I know a few attorneys making 110K + and they are on IBR so the key is the debt to income ratio.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:46 pm

I don't think OP is flame.

Whether he is or not, I can tell you that I go to a T2 and I see a lot of people graduate either jobless or without enough income to handle their debt load.

Why do you feel like you need to be a lawyer? Honestly you could probably develop some great job skills in some other field in the same amount of time and wind up better off.

User avatar
soundgardener
Posts: 80
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:17 am

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby soundgardener » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:50 pm

fewds320 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:I mean this with all my heart: it makes me sad to watch people like you go so deep into debt when you don't have to, especially to go to a T2 that won't give you very good job prospects. Don't do this to yourself. Work, pay off debt, practice for better LSAT score if you still want law school.


I already did that to get into the T2. I don't possess the ability to score well enough on the LSAT; the requisite GPA, or much else to gain entry into a law school that would make all my financial nightmares disappear. The debt is high because the state I live in charges a lot for tuition, and I had no family assistance of any kind. I don't believe this should preclude me from pursuing a course of study I'd enjoy. The T2 has some excellent programs..

Without having the benefit of parents, or family.. I don't have the benefit of solid, real-world advice. I don't, nor have I lived in the real world. I've been in school since I was like, 6. I'm 27. So I don't know what it feels like to pay bills, mortgages, family expenses, and all that jazz while also shouldering gigantic student debt loads. I'm sure it can't be easy, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that professional legal studies are still an option for poor people who lack the ability to get into the nation's absolute best law schools.


Flamiest flame I've ever seen.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:53 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:I don't think OP is flame.

Whether he is or not, I can tell you that I go to a T2 and I see a lot of people graduate either jobless or without enough income to handle their debt load.

Why do you feel like you need to be a lawyer? Honestly you could probably develop some great job skills in some other field in the same amount of time and wind up better off.



I asked something about financial aid and it's now about whether my post is legitimate? I wish I was making this shit up. I apologize for my poor life choices and going to undergrad at all. I should have accepted the statistics, and when my cancer-stricken single welfare-mother died and I went into foster care, I would have been better served pursuing technical school, trade school, or gang violence to get by.

I'll not delve into my personal reasons for wanting to pursue the study of law, or justify it to be picked apart by someone. Like everything else that I've posted. I simply wanted to know more info about repayment options, like IBR, and discharges of federal debt for those in public service so that I can have some hope of a relatively normal life while still being able to pursue a career that I'd enjoy.

ppjd
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:33 am

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby ppjd » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:05 pm

If what you are saying is true, I truly feel for you. I cannot imagine being in that much debt and there is no way I would add an additional $200k to that even if you were going to one of the top 4 law schools. That is just entirely too much debt.

It is possible to get a generous scholarship to a TTTT with a 150 LSAT score. My suggestion mirrors many of the others, practice harder and longer for the LSAT and retake. Out of curiosity, why were you in school for so long?? Did you attend graduate school as well? At 27yrs old you should have some "real life" experience, there really is no excuse not to. It is mathmatically impossible for you to have been in school continuously since you were 6 unless you have a couple graduate degrees. Even if you graduated HS at 19 that means it took you 8 years to complete a UG degree...makes no sense.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:07 pm

ppjd wrote:If what you are saying is true, I truly feel for you. I cannot imagine being in that much debt and there is no way I would add an additional $200k to that even if you were going to one of the top 4 law schools. That is just entirely too much debt.

It is possible to get a generous scholarship to a TTTT with a 150 LSAT score. My suggestion mirrors many of the others, practice harder and longer for the LSAT and retake. Out of curiosity, why were you in school for so long?? Did you attend graduate school as well? At 27yrs old you should have some "real life" experience, there really is no excuse not to. It is mathmatically impossible for you to have been in school continuously since you were 6 unless you have a couple graduate degrees. Even if you graduated HS at 19 that means it took you 8 years to complete a UG degree...makes no sense.


It doesnt make sense b/c this was a poorly thought out attempt at a joke by some loser who was hoping that TLS would be all sunshine and rainbows over this fictional poor soul.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:41 pm

ppjd wrote:If what you are saying is true, I truly feel for you. I cannot imagine being in that much debt and there is no way I would add an additional $200k to that even if you were going to one of the top 4 law schools. That is just entirely too much debt.

It is possible to get a generous scholarship to a TTTT with a 150 LSAT score. My suggestion mirrors many of the others, practice harder and longer for the LSAT and retake. Out of curiosity, why were you in school for so long?? Did you attend graduate school as well? At 27yrs old you should have some "real life" experience, there really is no excuse not to. It is mathmatically impossible for you to have been in school continuously since you were 6 unless you have a couple graduate degrees. Even if you graduated HS at 19 that means it took you 8 years to complete a UG degree...makes no sense.


Well, it's complicated. I was in school from the time I started (age 6) until I graduated college in August 2008 at 25. After that, I snagged a pretty crappy full time job for a year, and then lost it about a year after that. So yes, I have some "real world" experience, but it's remarkably limited for someone my age. I didn't graduate HS, but dropped out at 19 (and a half). With the nearly 5.5 years to finish UG, it's not surprising.

I'd also like to add it's retarded that I came here for advice and have to justify the legitimacy of my situation. Something is seriously wrong with people on this forum.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:42 pm

Also --

What about summer associate positions? As is my understanding, one can at least expect to snag a decent one during the summer between second and third years of law school. How much can one reasonably expect to earn and contribute to paying down total debt?

User avatar
daesonesb
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:18 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby daesonesb » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:44 pm

fewds320 wrote:Also --

What about summer associate positions? As is my understanding, one can at least expect to snag a decent one during the summer between second and third years of law school. How much can one reasonably expect to earn and contribute to paying down total debt?

--ImageRemoved--
Don't spend it all at once, eh?

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:45 pm

I'm drunk here fella. Are you suggesting summer associate positions either aren't assured or don't pay well enough to consider the income versus the total law school debt? If that's the case, I suppose I have little else to rely on except the IBR programs. With the switch recently to direct lending of PLUS loans, at least I can keep the vast majority of this crushing debt Federal, and thus, able to be discharged after 10 years of public service.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:55 pm

swheat wrote:
ppjd wrote:If what you are saying is true, I truly feel for you. I cannot imagine being in that much debt and there is no way I would add an additional $200k to that even if you were going to one of the top 4 law schools. That is just entirely too much debt.

It is possible to get a generous scholarship to a TTTT with a 150 LSAT score. My suggestion mirrors many of the others, practice harder and longer for the LSAT and retake. Out of curiosity, why were you in school for so long?? Did you attend graduate school as well? At 27yrs old you should have some "real life" experience, there really is no excuse not to. It is mathmatically impossible for you to have been in school continuously since you were 6 unless you have a couple graduate degrees. Even if you graduated HS at 19 that means it took you 8 years to complete a UG degree...makes no sense.


It doesnt make sense b/c this was a poorly thought out attempt at a joke by some loser who was hoping that TLS would be all sunshine and rainbows over this fictional poor soul.



I know this dude is seriously hoping I'll bite and flame him back, but I really don't understand why he's attacking the legitimacy of my situation. I'd give up a testicle to be fictitious.

fewds320
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby fewds320 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:59 pm

Also -

I've often wondered how I've managed to be in school for as long as I have. The best explanation I have is as follows: I started school in 1st grade when I was six years old, and was skipped to 2nd within two weeks. This put me on regular track for my age until the 7th grade, which I failed due to a combination of reasons. That failure put me a year behind, so when I graduated, I was 19 instead of 18. I took a semester off after graduation before starting college, so I started in January 2003, a few days after I turned 20. I had added a second major and a minor during undergrad, so I was in undergrad for about 5.5 years. That put me at 26 by the time I finally graduated undergrad. I worked a crappy retail job for the last year or so. That explains my age, and limited life experience.

EDIT -

I fully admit it sucks balls. I'd be grateful to trade lives with anyone willing, but it seems I'm stuck with the hand I've been dealt.

EDIT v.2 -

Is it possible that one can argue some sort of scholarship or grant out of a law school for second year, if one does well enough during the first year? I'm really just trying to come up with anything I haven't thought of to bring down the cost...

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby General Tso » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:11 am

okay, sorry for flaming you earlier

here's my real advice. don't go to law school until you can afford it. if you need to pursue additional education right now to get into a higher paying field, here is what I recommend:

find a certificate program at some university's extension. Out here in CA, most of the UC schools have very large extension programs. these do not have competitive admission....they dont need your UG transcript or any test scores. you can study something like computer science, management, or finance. the cost of such a program? around $5,000 to $6,000 total.

the benefits? well all I know is my g/f's mom was out of work for around 6 months, started a certificate program in computer science, and was hired by a top (think Sony/HP/Intel) silicon valley firm BEFORE SHE EVEN FINISHED THE CERTIFICATE. The recruiter told her that the reason he called her in was because she had UC Berkeley on her resume.

if you choose wisely, I don't see why a certificate program wouldnt boost your job prospects almost immediately. Think about this as an investement -- if you raised your salary by 5, 6, 7 thousand a year, and only had to pay out $5k to do it, it would be a far better investment than to spend $150k on a law degree only to boost your income by 10-15k.

I am not saying write off law altogether, but you need to do 2 things in the short term: 1) get a better LSAT score and hopefully get a greater than 1/2 scholarship somewhere 2) PAY DOWN SOME OF THAT DEBT

If I were you, I'd be thinking about starting law school several years from now

User avatar
quickquestionthanks
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:30 pm

Re: How much debt is *too* much debt?

Postby quickquestionthanks » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:25 am

I say you should fake your death and move to Mexico. Come back in 10 years and go by Cornelius Higginbottom. Lie your way to the top.




Return to “Financial Aid”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest