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Loans advice

sav17

Full Member
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
Can I get advice on taking loans? Optometry school is a big investment and so expensive...i feel I may have to take over 20k in loans with interest and that terrifies me as this is my first time taking a huge amount. Is that a lot?

20k a year doesnt seem too bad as it can add to 80-100k for the 4 years in school and hopefully I can pay that all off in a few years after getting a job as an optometrist, but to those in opt school currently, or recently graduated, how are you handling it if you dont have parents to help? Is there enough time for part time jobs? Any advice would be nice.
 
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SRXT

New Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2016
9
5
11
  1. Optometry Student
20K a year is not bad, honestly. I'm a fourth year with zero financial help from family or anything and I've been taking 20K a semester for tuition and housing costs. To be completely honest, I didn't think about the ROI that much early on because I was passionate about optometry but 250K in loans is gonna be really daunting when I graduate. I'm going to try to attack it early on because the interest on that is no joke and it doesn't look like national loan forgiveness is gonna be a thing in this country anytime soon.
 

Ryan_eyeball

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2005
424
39
296
Kansas
  1. Optometrist
20K a year is not bad, honestly. I'm a fourth year with zero financial help from family or anything and I've been taking 20K a semester for tuition and housing costs. To be completely honest, I didn't think about the ROI that much early on because I was passionate about optometry but 250K in loans is gonna be really daunting when I graduate. I'm going to try to attack it early on because the interest on that is no joke and it doesn't look like national loan forgiveness is gonna be a thing in this country anytime soon.

If you're taking $20k a semester that comes out to around $160k over 4 years of OD school. Did you also bring in $90k in student loans from undergrad?

$250k in student loans is definitely something you want to lean into hard once you graduate especially if your interest rate is around 5-6%
 
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SRXT

New Member
2+ Year Member
Jan 18, 2016
9
5
11
  1. Optometry Student
If you're taking $20k a semester that comes out to around $160k over 4 years of OD school. Did you also bring in $90k in student loans from undergrad?

$250k in student loans is definitely something you want to lean into hard once you graduate especially if your interest rate is around 5-6%

$20K a semester including 3 summers. I actually only had $30K from undergrad because I went to an in-state school.
It's pretty bad, the fourth year doesn't even have a summer semester but the school increases the tuition for Fall and Spring to balance it out so you still pay 3 semesters worth of tuition for each of the four years.
 

Ryan_eyeball

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2005
424
39
296
Kansas
  1. Optometrist
OD school must have changed since I was in school. There was no academic summer semester between year 1-2. The summer between year 2-3 we could do part of our clinical hours which would lighten the clinical load in fall of year 3 . The summer between year 3-4 we were in internships full time. Going off hazy memory I believe I only had to pay tuition in the 3rd summer, and the average semester cost was around $9k
 

sav17

Full Member
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
If you're taking $20k a semester that comes out to around $160k over 4 years of OD school. Did you also bring in $90k in student loans from undergrad?

$250k in student loans is definitely something you want to lean into hard once you graduate especially if your interest rate is around 5-6%

I was lucky enough to finish undergrad with only 7k in loans total. So something more than 20k and with interest seems a lot to me. I was thinking that a part time job can cover a lot of that for the year so hopefully ill be fine... and my OD school doesnt have summers or its optional to take a class or two. Not all have summer curriculums!
I heard the starting salaries are 90k these days rather than over 100k...is that true for the usa (east side)?
 

sav17

Full Member
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
OD school must have changed since I was in school. There was no academic summer semester between year 1-2. The summer between year 2-3 we could do part of our clinical hours which would lighten the clinical load in fall of year 3 . The summer between year 3-4 we were in internships full time. Going off hazy memory I believe I only had to pay tuition in the 3rd summer, and the average semester cost was around $9k
9k wow....yeah times have change A LOT lol
 

AcademicEyes

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
199
77
81
  1. Optometrist
20K a year seems doable, but definitely do what you can to get scholarships. Working part-time may be worth it, but not if it will detract from your studies. Over the course of the four years I earned ~$45K in scholarships and ~15K in part-time work, which was extremely helpful. My family also wasn't able to help. I am on track for paying it off quickly, but I have a spouse who is able to take care of most of the household costs and helped pay for most of the rent with only a minor contribution from me so I could work on loan repayment and saving up. Even still, loan repayment for over $100K is daunting. Most people want to also buy a house, start a family, etc, and the costs really add up.
 
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sav17

Full Member
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
20K a year seems doable, but definitely do what you can to get scholarships. Working part-time may be worth it, but not if it will detract from your studies. Over the course of the four years I earned ~$45K in scholarships and ~15K in part-time work, which was extremely helpful. My family also wasn't able to help. I am on track for paying it off quickly, but I have a spouse who is able to take care of most of the household costs and helped pay for most of the rent with only a minor contribution from me so I could work on loan repayment and saving up. Even still, loan repayment for over $100K is daunting. Most people want to also buy a house, start a family, etc, and the costs really add up.
Wow 45k would pay my tuition for 2 school years.
What scholarship(s) did you get that was 10k a year, if you dont mind sharing? This 20k I have to pay is with the scholarship/fellowship grant i got, or else it would've been over 30k a year! But I hear you. Hopefully there are more scholarship opportunities and everything can work out.
 
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Ryan_eyeball

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 20, 2005
424
39
296
Kansas
  1. Optometrist
If you can keep your Optometry school loans under 100k you'll be in a good situation going forward. Starting salaries seem to have a range from $80k-$120k depending on the part of the country. Benefits are usually under appreciated by most employees since they do not see the monetary costs like a business owner. When you figure in vacation, health/disability/life insurance, sick time, PTO, 401k, etc these can add over $10k-$20k in total compensation to the newly minted OD salary.

Definitely apply for all available scholarships that are available. Thankfully, I secured a scholarship with UMSL that granted in state tuition vs out of state with an agreement with Kansas.

My biggest regret looking back at Optometry school was trying to live like a doctor to quickly. Solo apartment, and a new car added to my loan costs. Even though I was working I could have used that money more effectively to lower my total loans over the 4 years of OD school.
 

docforeye

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2011
11
7
161
  1. Optometrist
1) Education is not cheap, especially at a doctorate level. However, it is a good investment for your future.

2) An online loan payment calculator can give you a really good estimate of how much your monthly payment will be, so you can compare it to your future salary. In my opinion, the real question is how fast you want to be debt free.

- As fast as possible (2-3 years depend on your loan amount): work 6-7 days a week, or move to a small city or rural area. The low cost of living and less spending distraction will help you focus on your financial goal.

- 7-10 years: think about a residency opportunity (1 year after graduation), or a 5 days a week position. This is very easy to do if you live at a low cost of living area. You can support your family and contribute into a retirement plan.

- 20-30 years: debt does not scare you. You can do whatever you want!
 
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AcademicEyes

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2016
199
77
81
  1. Optometrist
Wow 45k would pay my tuition for 2 school years.
What scholarship(s) did you get that was 10k a year, if you dont mind sharing? This 20k I have to pay is with the scholarship/fellowship grant i got, or else it would've been over 30k a year! But I hear you. Hopefully there are more scholarship opportunities and everything can work out.

I don't mind! It was actually one school-specific scholarship my first year that was ~$27, and the rest of the ~18 was from random sources. The second largest ones were from VSP (~$5K), a graduate school scholarship I found for minorities (~5K), and one from UHCP ($2K).
 
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sav17

Full Member
Mar 27, 2020
11
4
1
  1. Pre-Optometry
I don't mind! It was actually one school-specific scholarship my first year that was ~$27, and the rest of the ~18 was from random sources. The second largest ones were from VSP (~$5K), a graduate school scholarship I found for minorities (~5K), and one from UHCP ($2K).
Thanks for sharing! I got one from my school and the UHCP one. Will look into others too. Thanks again :)
 
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ucbsowarrior

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2005
213
4
276
This is from an optometrist who has 15+ years experience

I would say max out the loans if they are subsidized, even if you don't need the money and work part-time during school. Interest free loans or super loan interest rate loans are a blessing if that capital is managed properly.

Live as cheap as you can as a student, remember to save enough to party and drink two beers on the daily and date.

Invest the rest and if you invest smartly and can compound at a rate of 18~20% per year, you'll be ahead of the game when you graduate.

I had a little savings when I started school in my days, worked part-time about 20~25 hours per week, had 4 partial scholarships, parents sent me 1400/month and maxed out my student loans and also took a minor outside of optometry school at Berkeley and took some courses at a business school in San Francisco (I knew that opto school didn't actually prepare students for what they needed in their career if they place to own and operate a practice.) Had a good time in school, dated awesome people outside of opto school and partied a lot, invested some of that money and in the end I was only negative less than $30k (owing less than $30k). One of the best investments and experiences I've had thus far was the graduate school experience, and it's not only due to opto school. It's due to having the time, energy and freedom to all the things I've listed (later in life with family and children, it's harder to do all those things).

Enjoy your youth, school and loans. Schooling is one of the best ways to invest and enrich yourself if you know what you are doing (which I'd say is only 15~20% of each class, potential less with the lax admission standards these days)
 

DrBTorres

Full Member
Oct 23, 2020
15
7
11
  1. Pre-Optometry
  2. Optometry Student
I don't mind! It was actually one school-specific scholarship my first year that was ~$27, and the rest of the ~18 was from random sources. The second largest ones were from VSP (~$5K), a graduate school scholarship I found for minorities (~5K), and one from UHCP ($2K).

Hi there, can you share more about the graduate school scholarship for minorities that you won?
 
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