How much is too much loans?

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AAlaw97

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How much is too much loans?

Post by AAlaw97 » Sun Jul 11, 2021 11:41 am

I’ve been dwelling on this for a while and I’ve gotten mixed reviews. I applied last admission cycle and I will be starting law school this fall at Boston University. BU gave me the best financial aid offer (36k for 3 years, 12k/ year) out of all the schools I was accepted to (USC gave no financial aid, Hastings offered a conditional 30k, and Chapman gave me a conditional full ride). I was really tempted with the Chapman offer, but after talking to my advisor, she said be weary of conditional offer. I’m also looking into pursuing big law and I know ranking matters a lot for me to get there (even if I don’t do BL, Chapman’s employment statistics look concerning).

Now a few months later, I officially decided to go to Boston University. But as a first generation student, the idea of having this much loans is scary. I was a Pell Grant recipient during my undergrad, so I was lucky enough to have less than 30k of undergraduate student loans. After law school I am looking at 210k, possibly more, of student loans between undergrad and law school.

I know this is a long and winded message, but I guess my questions is, is Boston University worth 200k? I don’t know where or who else to ask this question. If anyone has any experience with student loan repayment and was at the same place as I am now, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

crazywafflez

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Re: How much is too much loans?

Post by crazywafflez » Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:22 pm

AAlaw97 wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 11:41 am
I’ve been dwelling on this for a while and I’ve gotten mixed reviews. I applied last admission cycle and I will be starting law school this fall at Boston University. BU gave me the best financial aid offer (36k for 3 years, 12k/ year) out of all the schools I was accepted to (USC gave no financial aid, Hastings offered a conditional 30k, and Chapman gave me a conditional full ride). I was really tempted with the Chapman offer, but after talking to my advisor, she said be weary of conditional offer. I’m also looking into pursuing big law and I know ranking matters a lot for me to get there (even if I don’t do BL, Chapman’s employment statistics look concerning).

Now a few months later, I officially decided to go to Boston University. But as a first generation student, the idea of having this much loans is scary. I was a Pell Grant recipient during my undergrad, so I was lucky enough to have less than 30k of undergraduate student loans. After law school I am looking at 210k, possibly more, of student loans between undergrad and law school.

I know this is a long and winded message, but I guess my questions is, is Boston University worth 200k? I don’t know where or who else to ask this question. If anyone has any experience with student loan repayment and was at the same place as I am now, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I'll try my best to answer, I was in your shoes a few years ago. I had no UG debt, but owed about 20k on grad school loans. I went to a T1 school on about a 3/4 scholarship (think Emory/GW/W&M type school)- I sometimes wish I had taken the T2 on full scholarship, but I do have a job that can pay off my debt (I did not get biglaw). I'm about 60k in debt (I think 30k from tuition and about 30k from living expenses roughly- although it cost me about 15k a year to live I used some money from savings for living expenses- so if I had taken out full loans for living it would have cost me about 15k-20k more total, so would've been closer to 80k in debt). I made my calculations (wrongly) on assuming that the T1 had a higher chance for biglaw and portability (it does by like 5-10% compared to my regional state schools I had applied to) and assumed that the 30k difference wouldn't be a big deal. I seriously considered my T20 sticker option (Vandy/WashU/UT) but decided against that level of debt and wasn't sold on biglaw either- so my school pick was sort of a compromise?
Now, I would not have made the same choice I did- I feel I should've gone to my state school on the fullride, or taken the more calculated risk and gone to the T20 if I had been sold on biglaw (albeit, that would still have been a risky move and I'm fairly risk adverse, so I would most likely have chosen the T2).
However, BU/BC are about as close as you can get to the Vandy/WashU/UT/UCLA/USC type schools- in a good economy they have similar placement power in the boston market. I personally wouldn't pay over 100k for any school anymore unless I knew I was going biglaw and knew I had a substantial chance of getting it(i.e. median or below median from my school). So to me, I wouldn't go into over 100-120k debt for any school aside from the T13. I can see an argument though for folks doing it for the T20 schools, I am just fearful of debt, and paying it off now is not fun.
My own personal comfortability is something akin to this, but I'd encourage folks to be in as little debt as possible:
T2 schools around 30-50k in debt (essentially living expenses and you went on a fullride).
T1 schools similar (maybe marginally more room if I'm going to be in a big city and salaries make room for that- i.e. small law firms or govt gigs pay 70k here, I'd be okay going 70k in debt etc).
T20 schools- this is a judgment call, I would try not to breach the 100k debt threshold, but can see an argument for doing so.
T13- probs sticker if I knew I wanted biglaw, however, it would kill me to do it and I'd much rather go to Cornell or NW on a fullride than SHCCN at sticker.
The goal is to make sure your debt doesn't exceed your expected realistic salary, for me at least.
BU can be worth it if you clinch biglaw, and I've heard of people going 200k in debt for Case Western type schools which is significantly worse, but I personally would not go into that kind of debt for BU. It is better than your other options, but I would've retaken the LSAT and reapplied in your shoes. There are worse schools to be coming from with that kind of debt, obviously, but I would not go to BU/BC for that kind of debt on a 50% chance (or worse depending on the economy) at biglaw.
Sorry for the long rant and post- but I'd seriously consider retaking and reapplying.

AAlaw97

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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 11:36 am

Re: How much is too much loans?

Post by AAlaw97 » Sun Jul 11, 2021 3:42 pm

crazywafflez wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:22 pm
AAlaw97 wrote:
Sun Jul 11, 2021 11:41 am
I’ve been dwelling on this for a while and I’ve gotten mixed reviews. I applied last admission cycle and I will be starting law school this fall at Boston University. BU gave me the best financial aid offer (36k for 3 years, 12k/ year) out of all the schools I was accepted to (USC gave no financial aid, Hastings offered a conditional 30k, and Chapman gave me a conditional full ride). I was really tempted with the Chapman offer, but after talking to my advisor, she said be weary of conditional offer. I’m also looking into pursuing big law and I know ranking matters a lot for me to get there (even if I don’t do BL, Chapman’s employment statistics look concerning).

Now a few months later, I officially decided to go to Boston University. But as a first generation student, the idea of having this much loans is scary. I was a Pell Grant recipient during my undergrad, so I was lucky enough to have less than 30k of undergraduate student loans. After law school I am looking at 210k, possibly more, of student loans between undergrad and law school.

I know this is a long and winded message, but I guess my questions is, is Boston University worth 200k? I don’t know where or who else to ask this question. If anyone has any experience with student loan repayment and was at the same place as I am now, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I'll try my best to answer, I was in your shoes a few years ago. I had no UG debt, but owed about 20k on grad school loans. I went to a T1 school on about a 3/4 scholarship (think Emory/GW/W&M type school)- I sometimes wish I had taken the T2 on full scholarship, but I do have a job that can pay off my debt (I did not get biglaw). I'm about 60k in debt (I think 30k from tuition and about 30k from living expenses roughly- although it cost me about 15k a year to live I used some money from savings for living expenses- so if I had taken out full loans for living it would have cost me about 15k-20k more total, so would've been closer to 80k in debt). I made my calculations (wrongly) on assuming that the T1 had a higher chance for biglaw and portability (it does by like 5-10% compared to my regional state schools I had applied to) and assumed that the 30k difference wouldn't be a big deal. I seriously considered my T20 sticker option (Vandy/WashU/UT) but decided against that level of debt and wasn't sold on biglaw either- so my school pick was sort of a compromise?
Now, I would not have made the same choice I did- I feel I should've gone to my state school on the fullride, or taken the more calculated risk and gone to the T20 if I had been sold on biglaw (albeit, that would still have been a risky move and I'm fairly risk adverse, so I would most likely have chosen the T2).
However, BU/BC are about as close as you can get to the Vandy/WashU/UT/UCLA/USC type schools- in a good economy they have similar placement power in the boston market. I personally wouldn't pay over 100k for any school anymore unless I knew I was going biglaw and knew I had a substantial chance of getting it(i.e. median or below median from my school). So to me, I wouldn't go into over 100-120k debt for any school aside from the T13. I can see an argument though for folks doing it for the T20 schools, I am just fearful of debt, and paying it off now is not fun.
My own personal comfortability is something akin to this, but I'd encourage folks to be in as little debt as possible:
T2 schools around 30-50k in debt (essentially living expenses and you went on a fullride).
T1 schools similar (maybe marginally more room if I'm going to be in a big city and salaries make room for that- i.e. small law firms or govt gigs pay 70k here, I'd be okay going 70k in debt etc).
T20 schools- this is a judgment call, I would try not to breach the 100k debt threshold, but can see an argument for doing so.
T13- probs sticker if I knew I wanted biglaw, however, it would kill me to do it and I'd much rather go to Cornell or NW on a fullride than SHCCN at sticker.
The goal is to make sure your debt doesn't exceed your expected realistic salary, for me at least.
BU can be worth it if you clinch biglaw, and I've heard of people going 200k in debt for Case Western type schools which is significantly worse, but I personally would not go into that kind of debt for BU. It is better than your other options, but I would've retaken the LSAT and reapplied in your shoes. There are worse schools to be coming from with that kind of debt, obviously, but I would not go to BU/BC for that kind of debt on a 50% chance (or worse depending on the economy) at biglaw.
Sorry for the long rant and post- but I'd seriously consider retaking and reapplying.
Thank you so much for this! I really appreciate your input and honesty. I really did consider retaking and reapplying, but I have taken the LSAT 3 times. I’ve also read that the upcoming application cycle will be just as competitive or more as the last cycle. So I hesitated and now I’m at this limbo between my job ending and starting law school. Retaking after 3 tries and prepping for the LSAT again after a year of break just seems daunting. And a job at this point doesn’t seem feasible because who would hire someone just for less than a year of employment. I’m just throwing out my thought process out there, but your initial message really helped me put things into perspective! Thank you!

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