October 7, 2015 at 12:42 am #4688ashajParticipant
While I am very passionate about PT and becoming a doctor, one of the most daunting things for me is the hefty cost and the loans needed to pay for school. Now, this really should not be a factor, or be a very small one considering that I have a strong drive and aspiration to become a physical therapist and that many other prospective students are in my shoes. Still, just thinking about the amount I will need to pay back, it is a scary thought and I do not want to spend a large part of my life just paying back loans.
Do you have any advice about loan repayment or tips about how I can have a comfortable lifestyle and pay back loans at the same time?October 21, 2015 at 9:59 pm #4721Jennifer BresnickKeymaster
This is definitely a tough one. The cost of education is rising so quickly, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop going up any time soon.
I advise the following (because I did most of them!):
- Attend a public college, if possible, because the tuition is cheaper and no one cares where you went after graduation
- Stick with federally-insured loans (Stafford loans), and stay away from private loans, if possible, because they are harder to consolidate and usually charge a higher interest rate
- Pay interest payments on unsubsidized loans during school, if you can, to reduce your overall loan amount prior to graduation
- Check out the government’s 10-year loan forgiveness program here and have your loans forgiven if you work at a VA facility for 10 years (vs. 30 years with a traditional loan pay off)
- Do some per diem work (part-time) on the side that equals the amount of your monthly loan payment (i.e., 2 Saturdays a month (8 hours per day) at $50/hour is $800 a month pre-tax)
- Pair up with another PT a couple years after graduation and do some travel physical therapy. Living expenses and other stipends paid to you and your roommate are tax free when you travel far enough from your permanent residence, and by teaming up, you can pocket nearly half of the living expenses.
Best of luck! Hope that helps!