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How are you paying for school?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by plumdearly, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. plumdearly

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    As a non-trad student, how are you currently paying for school?

    Me, I'm a wife and mother of two, so I'm paying out of pocket by working full-time and going to school part-time, but am thinking seriously of getting a student loan so that I can go to school full-time. I'm still working on my Associates :scared: and it's going really sloooow...

    I apply for scholarships almost weekly but no wins so far. And the hubby's now out of work, so relying on his income is not an option.

    I'd love to hear how you all are paying for school. I really need some options right now. :)
     
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  3. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Well, most medical students take out substantial Federal and private loans, usually to the full extent that they are allowed by the school, or the cost of attendance. I took out loans for my first year of medical school.

    Some medical students choose to do a military or primary care scholarship and receive full tuition + a stipend. That's my current situation. I am an Air Force HPSP (Health Professions Scholarship Program) recipient. Actually, "scholarship" is a misnomer for the HPSP, because it implies you get something for nothing, when in fact, you are repaying with service to the military. This isn't a viable solution for everyone and I wouldn't take the HPSP just for the money. You have to know what you are getting into with these kinds of programs. In some cases, a primary care scholarship might be a better alternative, if you are considering these types of things and definitely want to do primary care. Furthermore, some hospitals/states are offering scholarships if you meet certain requirements and are willing to commit to certain things.

    Again, most take out loans. It'll provide the most flexibility for you.
     
    #2 spicedmanna, Dec 14, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  4. sindadel

    7+ Year Member

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    I think the "work part time/go to school part time" is worthwhile as a non-trad for a couple of reasons:

    1. taking one or two classes at a time allows you to focus on getting A's
    2. it doesn't put all your eggs into one basket - what if you get done with your degree and med school isn't what you want to do anymore? Being deeper in debt than you have to be seems risky to me.

    Good luck on your journey.
     
  5. spicedmanna

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    Well, if that's the best option for ya, then it'll have to do. We do the best that we can. However, it might be worthwhile to consider that doing a class or two at a time might not generate maximum impact for many adcoms. It isn't as difficult to do well academically when you are just taking a class or two at a time and you aren't really demonstrating your ability to succeed in an academically challenging situation, such as with a full load of classes. Remember, adcoms are looking with an eye toward how you might do in medical school and they want people that show potential for academic success in a very tough academic environment.

    If I wanted to create the best application profile, I'd consider what options are available for me to be full time and to take a full load of classes. Yes, that might mean taking a risk by taking out loans, but the whole process from start to finish is inherently risky and going forward, you'll most likely will be making a huge time and monetary investment with very little return, at least for a good while. I don't see how taking out a loan now is going to add much to the whole picture. If you are going to be a physician, most likely you are going to be deep in debt. That's the reality of our system.

    If you aren't going to, or willing to, go all the way, then it probably isn't worth doing. It's a long, hard, and costly road. You want to play to win.
     
  6. sindadel

    7+ Year Member

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    The OP is working on her associates degree at this time (not just taking her pre-med coursework). As the end gets closer, it might well be a good idea in the pre-application year to do a full load of tough classes and get high grades. But the reality is that poor grades will hurt her application a LOT more than light class load.

    And since her husband has been laid off, taking out loans most likely involves tuition plus cost of living for a family of 4. We're talking on the order of $40,000 in debt for just ONE year. For the pre-degree.

    In my book, playing to win means:

    1. Steadily make progress towards your goal.
    2. Start volunteering NOW so that when applications come, you have a real history of commitment to service.
    3. Get really excellent grades and thoroughly understand your material.
    4. Honor your exisiting commitments to family/work.

    How you accomplish all these things will vary from person to person.
     
  7. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    Depending on what kind of job and benefits you have, you may want to consider putting some money towards your 401K. You can use your 401K funds towards your education when you need the money. I was able to put a lot of money towards my 401Ks and the jobs that I had were with large companies that had a match program. If you are in the same boat and have the same options, you could potentially start to grow your med school fund. I had enough when I started to use that money to pay for my first two years of education; after that, it's an interest free loan from my parents....
     
  8. plumdearly

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    Thanks Sinadel. Yes, one of the issues I currently have is that I don't want to take out a loan for more than what is necessary this early in my schooling. But, I want to do some catching up. I'm working on a 2 year degree that will ultimately take my 3.5 years to earn because of our financial situation, and once I get my Associates, I really want to earn my Bachelors in the expected 2 years, but can't do it working full-time.

    And I'm not getting any younger. :)

    You raise some good points, though. Doing this slowly has enabled me to keep a high GPA and to learn the material thoroughly. I could also increase my volunteer hours per month while I have the extra time.
     
  9. plumdearly

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    Thanks for this info! I wasn't aware you could do this, but I do have the option of contributing to a 401k once the hubby is working again.
     
  10. fireflygirl

    fireflygirl The Ultimate Blindian
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    Talk to the HR dept to see what your options are or at least an accountant so you can figure out how much you should contribute and how and when you can pull from it. But it's tax deferred money going into the 401K and then it isn't taxed coming out since you're contributing to your education but make sure you talk to someone who knows this stuff in and out so you don't get taxed out the wazzooo when you do decide to ue the money. Good luck!
     
  11. akinetopsia

    akinetopsia some dude
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    I am paying for my informal post-bac with savings. I know that doesn't exactly help you much. I could take out loans, but there's no reason as long as I can get through this post-bac in two or three years. I don't want to have to take out loans until if & when I get into medical school.
     

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