lonesoui wrote:Well, it raises more questions. Let's use Stanford law as an example. Tuition is roughly $50,000. Now, I won't add in BAH, that is really for rent, utilities, food, insurance, personal items, etc. We'll dedicate the entire BAH to one's personal use, and not to include it in the tuition. Here's the break up:
First Fall term: 25k tuition - 17.5K GI bill = 7500, yellow ribbon for Stanford sits at around 10.5k, which basically covers first term.
1st spring term, and 2nd fall term tuition is: 50K - 17.5K(calendar year cap) = 32.5k Yellow ribbon is 10.5k x 2 = 21k. There's a difference of 11.5k for this calendar year, as well as the next. And the last spring term will be like that of the first fall term, covered totally. So you're looking at coming out with 23k in debt
Fall and spring terms are one. 50K tuition, 17.5k gi bill cap, yellow ribbon at 21k. Each academic year, you will be in 11.5k in debt multiplied by 3 academic years. 34.5k in debt when you graduate.
It's hard enough that the job market for lawyers is flooded, but being in debt is not something I want to look forward to, especially in this economy. Would it be more wise to look for schools that are capped at a minimum of $15k in the yellow ribbon contributions, that way all or most of the tuition is covered, calendar or academic?
It is academic year. See: http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_ ... ogram.html
As for your debt aversion, $35K is pretty much just a moderately high car loan, so I would say that if that level of debt makes you nervous, you'll need pretty much full ride or nothing-- and even going to a state school isn't going to get you that since you still have to eat/live beyond rent (See below) . It's especially puzzling for me that you seem to be willing to go 23K in debt, but not 35K. So, in reality the question here would be "Is SLS worth an additional 12K in debt?" The answer for most in this case would be a pretty easy yes.
As Jarv mentioned, you need to calculate total COA-- not just tuition-- and factor in the BAH benefit, the book benefit, the Bar Exam benefit, heck even the tax advantage of higher ed expense and student loan interest deductions, etc. if you're really as debt averse as your post suggests.
Finally, are job prospects as rosy now as pre-crash? No. Is the market flooded with lawyers? Yes. However, the market is not flooded with SLS lawyers and you'll likely be fine job-wise if that's your option.
For example, look at these calculations from an online student loan calculator. I used the regular 10 year amortization and the Stafford loan rate (since you won't need to dip into Grad PLUS if you can keep your debt to 35K.
Loan Balance: $35,000.00
Adjusted Loan Balance: $35,000.00
Loan Interest Rate: 6.80%
Loan Fees: 0.00%
Loan Term: 10 years
Minimum Payment: $50.00
Total Years in College: 3 years
Average Debt per Year: $11,666.67
Monthly Loan Payment: $402.78
Number of Payments: 120
Cumulative Payments: $48,333.80
Total Interest Paid: $13,333.80
Note: The monthly loan payment was calculated at 119 payments of $402.78 plus a final payment of $402.98.
It is estimated that you will need an annual salary of at least $48,333.60 to be able to afford to repay this loan. This estimate assumes that 10% of your gross monthly income will be devoted to repaying your student loans. This corresponds to a debt-to-income ratio of 0.7. If you use 15% of your gross monthly income to repay the loan, you will need an annual salary of only $32,222.40, but you may experience some financial difficulty.This corresponds to a debt-to-income ratio of 1.1.
Pretty much everything is going to pay $50K. And if you were to have a job at that level that made things tight, I'm guessing you'd qualify for the school's LRAP/IBR plan, too.
So, ultimately it is up to how much you can stomach in terms of debt. But you really ought to be looking at the forest, not just the trees.
[Edit to add: I'm thinking specifically of SLS in my analysis above. However, with the 50K income required, pretty much everything but hard core public interest will likely get you to that level wherever you go. So, it comes down more to odds of being hired than odds of getting big-law at these debt levels.]