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Please help with my decision!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Physical Therapy' started by Jack Sparrow, 02.27.12.

  1. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    Hello,

    I was accepted to 2 DPT programs. School A is higher ranked, out of state, and will cost me $109K total. School B is lower ranked, in-state, and will cost me $83K total.

    I already have $59K debt from undergrad, part of which is from private loans. Would it be financially insane to go to school A which costs more but much more prestigious and attractive? Or is it wise to settle with school B which has a somewhat questionable reputation but is an accredited program nonetheless?

    A couple of other things to consider - attending school A costs $47K for the first year. Only $20.5K will be covered by federal loans, so I will need to take out $27K in private loans. For both schools, I will also need to take out private loans to pay for living expenses (e.g. car, rent, health insurance, car insurance, food) for at least my first year.

    In summary, I am looking at $168K + living expenses for school A or $142K + living expenses for school B. My parents can't help me financially with ANYTHING, so I have to rely heavily on loans just to get by.

    School A is UMDNJ Stratford and school B is Widener. :D

    Advice?
  2. imallama

    imallama

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    I'd suggest the cheaper route if finances are a big concern. At the end of the day, going to school A doesn't necessarily mean that your salary will be higher than school B.
  3. stopitmarcy

    stopitmarcy

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    this!!!
  4. fallingreason

    fallingreason

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    Go with the cheaper school. Every little bit helps since PTs don't make that much.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I777 using SDN Mobile
  5. ptdpt

    ptdpt

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    Less debt!!
  6. Tiumoy

    Tiumoy

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    Pay rate for starting therapists is fixed. So as long as your schools accredited its all good.
  7. NeophyteParkour

    NeophyteParkour

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    I agree with everyone else. You can pay less for the same thing. As long as the school has a good pass rate, go with the cheaper one.
  8. CherokeeWahine

    CherokeeWahine

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    Less debt is definitely good.

    But... playing devil's advocate here: you wouldn't have to take private loans to cover the rest of what the Stafford loan doesn't cover. You could take the grad plus loan (which has a fixed interest rate vs. variable interest rates with private loans) to cover the rest if you really wanted to go to UMDNJ Stratford.

    But ultimately, having less debt coming out of PT school would be ideal.
  9. almcam1921

    almcam1921

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    I think, though, if you're going to be miserable at the cheaper school, or if you're going to go through the next 3 years hating your life and wondering what if, suck it up and take out the loans. While it's hard, PTs do somehow manage to pay back the money they take out. It MUST be possible
  10. ammonihah99

    ammonihah99

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    I'm all about the debt, so I would go cheaper.
  11. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    If loan debt is cleared after 10 years of paying on time, what difference does it make?
  12. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    I really might be committing financial suicide by going to UMDNJ Stratford. :eek:

    I would probably need to take out a private bank loan to pay for living expenses. :eek:
  13. CherokeeWahine

    CherokeeWahine

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    Why a private loan? Why not the grad plus loan?
  14. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    Out of state tuition for the first year is 47K. I would get 20.5K from Stafford loans, then the remainder would be covered by the Graduate Plus loan, which would be 27K. I'm not sure if I would get more money on top of that to pay for living expenses, which is why I might need a private bank loan. What is the maximum students can receive in the Graduate plus loan?

    For my 2nd and 3rd years I would be paying roughly the same at both UMDNJ Stratford and Widener.

    I didn't anticipate to be making such critical decisions when applying to graduate school. The reality of student debt is kicking in. In only 3 short years from now I'll have to start paying back these student loans. I would personally be more happy going to UMDNJ Stratford, as would my family, but in 3 years and with all the student debt that may not be the case. Either way it's too much debt for DPT, as we all know. My family is suggesting that I consider accelerated BSN this reason. But I would be happier working as a PT.
  15. greenwoodwa

    greenwoodwa

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    I'm not familiar with the location of either school, but cost of living in each is another factor you might want to consider. If it costs you 5k more a year to live at school B versus school A then the cost difference isn't going to be as great....of course, if it's the opposite, then that's a different story. In regards to school rankings, every PT I've talked to has told me that where you go to school doesn't make a better PT or give you an edge in find a job, it's what you do once you graduate - continued ed, how passionate you are about learning more, etc.

    I tend to agree with what everyone else said about going to the cheaper school. However, location was also important to me and definitely influenced my decision in where I chose to go. My two biggest determinants were cost and location.

    In the end, I would do what you are most comfortable with. Even though 26k is a lot of money, I would think it would only take an additional 1-2 years to pay off that amount of debt if you're careful with your money and try to pay it off quickly.
  16. greenwoodwa

    greenwoodwa

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    btw....if you haven't contacted the school already about it, I would make sure that you would qualify for paying in state tuition after a year of residency. I know in Washington, unless you are going to a trade school, you have to pay out of state tuition until you graduate.
  17. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    Living expenses would be about the same for both UMDNJ Stratford and Widener, and they are both equally as far away from where I live now.

    I called UMDNJ Stratford and they said that if I applied for residency I would get in-state tuition after my 1st year.

    I can't imagine the amount of pressure I would have the first year of DPT school with taking so much debt and still having to manage focusing on and PASSING graduate school.

    Furthermore, my family is poor and every member of my family besides me has moved back to our native country. So I am the only one here in the United States and I don't have the comfort of financial stability or near by family support. This only ADDS to the pressure.

    I don't know what is the right decision to make.
  18. CherokeeWahine

    CherokeeWahine

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    Cost of living (housing, food, etc.) is generally included in your student aid package, and most schools are pretty generous with that portion of your financial aid package. Call the financial aid department of UMDNJ Stratford to find out for sure.

    From the Student Aid webpage:
    "The maximum PLUS Loan amount you can borrow is your cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial assistance you will receive."

    There is no "cap" on how much you can borrow with the grad plus loan, as noted here:
    "There are no set annual or aggregate limits. You may borrow up to your full
    cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid you receive (including
    Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, scholarships, and
    certain fellowships)."

    If UMDNJ Stratford would truly make you happier, go there!
  19. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow

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    Thoughts about this?
  20. ptdpt

    ptdpt

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    You have to DIG deep within yourself and find the answer. I think we all have chimed in favor of one or the other.You already have undergrad debt so I would try to limit your grad school debt, but if you believe you will enjoy your educational expereince at UMDNJ over Widner, go for it.

    You have to remember that you will have other major life expenses beyond education, so keep this is mind. Think about your future after DPT school.
  21. Runner107

    Runner107

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    As long as it is accredited, and they have a good curriculum...go the cheaper route! It's all about what YOU make of it! If you are dedicated and passionate of becoming a good PT, and bust your butt off....I can assure you that it will not matter as long as you give it your best!
  22. rangardrum

    rangardrum

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    Holy crap that's a lot of money for one year! I'd choose the cheaper school so long as it has good passage rates.
  23. Kepania

    Kepania

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    Sheesh and I thought California schools were pricey!!! Bottom line...
    If you like the cheaper school, then DEFINITELY go to the cheaper school!!!

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