Finances: The Burden of a Graduate


Once I realized that I wanted to seek a career in Student Affairs, I started making a plan for myself. This plan included thinking about what student leadership opportunities I could take advantage of, graduate programs and assistantships, and where I wanted to be once I finished graduate school. I am happy to say that this plan has worked and has landed me in a Residence Director position.

There was one piece to this plan that I failed to recognize, loan repayment. While I believed, and still do, in the plan that I made for myself I am starting to fully comprehend the financial burden that I have put myself into. Towards the end of my master’s program, repayment started to become a reality. I could no longer think of repayment as being something I would have to deal with in the future; the future had found its way into my mailbox.


It did not start to occur to me that I would be dealing with the debt that I created during undergraduate and graduate school at the same time until the end of my master’s program. That may sound silly, but I think that I might have been in denial about my financial situation for some time. It always seemed like something I would deal with “when I grew up.”


The fact of the matter is that if I would not have gone to graduate school I would not have a job that provides the benefits that I now receive as a Residence Director. While I am happy that I am able to sustain myself, I cannot help but think about all of the capital these companies are making off of me and other graduates from interest and school debt.

 

In the past few weeks I have been coming up with ways to cope with depression induced by my educational debt. I have found a few tools that have been helping me cope with anxiety and I thought that it might be helpful to share with other new professionals.
 

A few financial tips:

Mint.com is a very helpful tool that allows you to sink all of your existing accounts together. The best part is that you can create plans that will help you pay down any kinds of debt that you may have. It will also tell you what to pay off first based on the APR that you have on your accounts.


For all of us working in higher education, we are considered public servants. If you go to the Great Lakes
website, there is a form that allows you to file as a public servant. If you make 120 payments (10 years), they will wipe out the rest of your debt. Not all educational loans will be approved for this benefit, but most of the federal loans will. Along with this form, you can apply for an income based plan. This will allow for you to make more manageable payments on your accounts. Take a look at these forms and call your provider

To those of you who share my financial pain, there is hope and someday we will be free of our educational debt. For now, take a deep breath and understand that you are not alone in dealing with educational debt. Here is to hoping that our degrees pay off and allow us to climb the financial ladder. 


Katie LaSota
@katielasota 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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