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 Post subject: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am
Posts: 1028
I thought it might be helpful to 0Ls and law students if graduates disclosed their actual monthly payments, their total debt, income level (if willing to disclose) and (if applicable) what kind of payment plan they're on.

Here's my info:

Debt: about $90,000 (despite paying in-state tuition at a low-cost state school and getting a full scholarship for 1L. Dat COA is no joke)
Payments: about $190/month
Income: Less than $60k
Plan: Pay as you earn
Important info: my wife also has a low income and similar amount of federal student loans, which affects the PAYE calculation.
Bonus points: working at a PSLF-elligible job (so best-case scenario I will only have to pay off about 30% of my debt before it is forgiven in 2023)

Mod comments: This thread is intended as a place to compile data about actual debt loads and payments from law school graduates. 0Ls, we hope you find this thread helpful, but remember that this is the Legal Employment forum where 0Ls are not supposed to post. If you have specific questions about anything posted here, this thread would be a better place to ask: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=220038#p7251652


Last edited by Void on Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:59 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm
Posts: 7704
Debt: 175k
Payments: 1k minimum (lowest available), additional 3-3.5k/mo for now to the highest interest loan, pay it off, rinse and repeat
Income: over $100k
Plan: 25 year fixed (hope to be done in 4-5 years)
Note: living at home to knock off as much principal as possible until after New Years


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:30 pm
Posts: 25
As a 0L, this is going to be incredibly helpful; thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am
Posts: 1028
gatorchomps wrote:
As a 0L, this is going to be incredibly helpful; thank you!


No prob- I would have loved to see this info when I was a 0L. I just hope more grads chime in.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 9:23 am
Posts: 105
This thread is invaluable. **subscribed**


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:49 am
Posts: 781
Debt: A little under $150K, plus $12K bar loan
Payments: A little over $1,700, trying to get it closer to $1,200 for now so I can prioritize dat credit card debt
Income: $160K me, ~$45K wife
Plan: Split between graduated 10-year and graduated 25-year; hoping to be done much faster; no prepayment penalty
Important info: Wife has over $100K LS debt as well but is planning on getting a Ph.D. and paying only interest during that time
Note: Currently living in an unnecessarily expensive area; planning on moving soon. Also somehow need to get a new car within a year.

0Ls: I got extremely lucky to land biglaw, and I can only hope I like it enough to stay long-term. This is a ton of debt for someone who's been about as fortunate as you can be, and many of you will wind up with almost double this if you pay sticker. It's going to take a long time to pay off, during which time our credit is not going to be good enough to get ideal mortgage rates and car loan rates. I know this doesn't mean much to you now, but when you actually have to think about it, it's stressful. My family will be counting on me to make enough (sustainably) to get us out of this massive debt. Every five-figure bonus I get in the next seven years will have to go straight to my creditors; enjoying it would be irresponsible. Please, please consider whether you want to put yourself in this position for a risky law degree.

Props to Void for trying to make this issue more real for 0Ls.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:46 pm
Posts: 62
Debt: $100,000
Job: PSLF-eligible
Income: $47K taxable between me and my spouse
Plan: Pay as you earn
Payments: TBD (see below)

Warning for those going on PAY-E: your lender may have no idea how to answer even the most basic questions about enrolling in the program, what documentation you need to provide, whether as a future joint tax filer you must provide spousal income in advance, etc. I am having a bear of a time getting them to finally process my application.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 6:22 pm
Posts: 3224
Debt: 156k when I graduated in 2012 plus about 9k in interest
Income: 160k
Payments: 800/month on IBR (based on stub year calculation) I did this so I could throw as much money as possible at high interest loans first. This number will jump significantly up next year so I will probably change it to 10 yr standard repayment plan.

Under a 10 yr plan I would be paying about 2000 per month.

After I built an emergency fund, I started throwing all my extra money at the loans. In the last 11 months I have paid about $30k in student loans and my principle is still 145k+. The tyranny of 7.9%

Edited for accuracy


Last edited by gk101 on Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 7:26 pm
Posts: 389
checking in, thanks guys


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:49 pm
Posts: 1343
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This is great information to have. Thanks to all the contributors for their honesty and willingness to help future students make informed decisions.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 9:23 am
Posts: 105
cannibal ox wrote:
This is great information to have. Thanks to all the contributors for their honesty and willingness to help future students make informed decisions.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am
Posts: 14708
Mod note: I have moved this topic to the Legal Employment Forum because I think it might get more responses if people can post their numbers anonymously. 0Ls, generally you are not allowed to post in the Legal Employment forum, but you are more than welcome to read here, and "thanks" comments and the like are not a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: 60k (includes interest)
Payments: Minimum around 700 (I think), but I'll be putting 1.5k/mo toward the loans
Income: 175k (combined w/ wife's salary)
Plan: 10 year, but hope to pay it off in 5 years
Note: I could put more per month towards loans but we are saving for a down payment, putting a small amount away per month for an emergency fund, and contributing 5% to my firm's 401k


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Law School Debt: 0 - scholarship and went at night

Mortgage = $2100 a month, but working to pay it off in less than 30 year

Salary = $120k


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: around 66K with scholarships
Income : 160K

Paid off within 10 months of biglaw. Paid about 20K after 2L SA employment, knocking total down to $46K, did TA/RA while 2L/3L which knocked off another $10K. Paid around $36K within 10 months of biglaw by being incredibly stingy. Wife works and helped with bills which helped, but I paid for rent.

Currently have $30K in the bank and another $20K in 401K. Live in NYC.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: ~140k plus bar loan
Payments: 400/month on IBR
Income: 85k

My job is PSLF eligible so I don't pay a penny more than IBR requires, and a portion of my payment is covered by a LRAP program. I probably pay around $90 a month or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: ~$90k
Payments: a little under $600/mo
Income: ~$80k (PSLF eligible fed job)
Plan: IBR


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: ~$200k (T14 on full loans is rather expensive)
Income: ~$66k (fed clerk) + spouse ~$100k (my spouse has non-IBR eligible student loans)
Payments: ~$1200/month (IBR) (~ 1/3 of my take home)

Clerking is a pretty expensive endeavor, and law schools don't really help you. If I had any other government job, my school would cover much of my payment by a LRAP program.

The experiences I'm getting through my two clerkships are great, and probably worthwhile, but I'll be quite far behind the ball when I'm actually able to start making a real dent in my loans. My post-clerkship goal is to pay ~$40-50k / year on my loans until I pay them off.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:56 am
Posts: 1028
Anonymous User wrote:
Debt: ~$200k (T14 on full loans is rather expensive)
Income: ~$66k (fed clerk) + spouse ~$100k (my spouse has non-IBR eligible student loans)
Payments: ~$1200/month (IBR) (~ 1/3 of my take home)

Clerking is a pretty expensive endeavor, and law schools don't really help you. If I had any other government job, my school would cover much of my payment by a LRAP program.

The experiences I'm getting through my two clerkships are great, and probably worthwhile, but I'll be quite far behind the ball when I'm actually able to start making a real dent in my loans. My post-clerkship goal is to pay ~$40-50k / year on my loans until I pay them off.


Or you could try for a PSLF-elligible job and just do 8 more years at the minimum payment and be done! (Assuming you have 2 years of clerking already)


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 pm
Posts: 2820
Location: You belong with me&e.
This is awesome. Checking in.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: ~$110k
Payments: $381.67/month
Income: ~$66k (PSLF eligible fed job)
Plan: IBR


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am
Posts: 213820
Debt: ~148k (DNCG with 42k scholarship) including capitalized interest
Split: $82k in 2 GradPlus loans at 7.9%, $66k in 2 Stafford loans at 6.55%
Plan: 10 year repayment
Minimum Payment: $1,758/month
Payment that I actually make: $2,500/month (extra goes to the Grad Plus)
Salary: $160k

Principal at end of year 1: $130,835.18


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:30 pm
Posts: 88
Current 1L tagging, looking at ~100k


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:40 pm
Posts: 35
Can the mods sticky this thread?


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 Post subject: Re: Student loan payments: Actual numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:23 am
Posts: 1092
POTUS2044 wrote:
Current 1L tagging, looking at ~100k



Great idea Void


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