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Made a Bad Decision: Fix It or Leave It?

futuredpt000

New Member
May 20, 2020
5
3
1
  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
So here's what I'm dealing with at the moment. Last fall, I applied to two DPT programs (a state school and an out-of-state private school). I was accepted into the state school first, as they did rolling admissions, and I ultimately ended up declining my offer. My decision was very rushed and not financially smart, as the school's tuition is around 45k total. The reason I declined was because the school was in the middle of nowhere, literally. But I now realize that that shouldn't have been such a dealbreaker for me. Why? Because the private school I later got accepted into has a tuition of almost 100k. Not to mention, the cost of living in the area ranges from 1000-1300 for a 1 bedroom apt, versus the cheaper cost of living at the state school in a rural area. At the time of me applying, I wasn't aware that the tuition was this high (their site is not updated). I was expecting about 75k, which is what the site said. I tried emailing the admissions committee at the state school and they basically said their class is full for the class of 2023 and I would have to reapply. I've accepted my admissions offer at the private school, but I'm starting to think that taking a gap year and reapplying would save me financially in the long run. It honestly just sucks that PTCAS deletes all your information and I would basically have to start the entire process again. I also don't know what I would do in my year off lol. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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futuredpt000

New Member
May 20, 2020
5
3
1
  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
If finances are the main concern, a factor in your decision should be the salary you would make as a DPT once you graduate. Reapplying would mean you are in the work-force a year later, potentially missing out on $89k--the median DPT salary from Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is true. I expect to work full-time and PRN when I graduate and aggressively pay off my loans, whether big or small. It would just make life easier if the loans weren't so much. Not sure if postponing school a year would help or hurt in the long run of things from a financial standpoint.
 
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JMarcusDPT

Jasmine Marcus, PT DPT CSCS
7+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2012
128
66
206
New York
  1. Physical Therapist
So here's what I'm dealing with at the moment. Last fall, I applied to two DPT programs (a state school and an out-of-state private school). I was accepted into the state school first, as they did rolling admissions, and I ultimately ended up declining my offer. My decision was very rushed and not financially smart, as the school's tuition is around 45k total. The reason I declined was because the school was in the middle of nowhere, literally. But I now realize that that shouldn't have been such a dealbreaker for me. Why? Because the private school I later got accepted into has a tuition of almost 100k. Not to mention, the cost of living in the area ranges from 1000-1300 for a 1 bedroom apt, versus the cheaper cost of living at the state school in a rural area. At the time of me applying, I wasn't aware that the tuition was this high (their site is not updated). I was expecting about 75k, which is what the site said. I tried emailing the admissions committee at the state school and they basically said their class is full for the class of 2023 and I would have to reapply. I've accepted my admissions offer at the private school, but I'm starting to think that taking a gap year and reapplying would save me financially in the long run. It honestly just sucks that PTCAS deletes all your information and I would basically have to start the entire process again. I also don't know what I would do in my year off lol. Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated.
A few other things to consider: PTCAS doesn't delete everything. It deletes some things and keeps others. If it means saving thousands of dollars, then it's worth it to take a few hours to update PTCAS. I agree that you should take the year you would be working into account, but 89,000 is a median salary. This is not a starting salary!
 
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May 26, 2019
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  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
The debt is only a problem if you think it's a problem. There are people out there with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt who are very happy. Why? Because of how they're thinking about the debt. Perhaps that it's the price of a wonderful education, or that it's simply a neutral circumstance of their situation. You actually get to decide- I know that sounds impossible, but it's true.

So, let's assume that the difference is about 60k in debt (this doesn't factor in loans for cost of living, since I don't know what the difference is there). For this next year, you have to pay for your cost of living out of whatever salary you make now, which is presumably lower than PT salary. In addition, you miss out on the 60 or 65k that you'll come out of school making, which is already equal to your debt. The interest on the loans is a factor, but not a massive one if you plan on paying them off quickly.

I know what I'd do, personally. I'd decide to think of the debt as the cost of a great experience, and therefore not a thing to regret or worry about. What you decide is completely up to you!
 
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wiseOldPT

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Jan 21, 2019
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The debt is only a problem if you think it's a problem. There are people out there with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt who are very happy. Why? Because of how they're thinking about the debt. Perhaps that it's the price of a wonderful education, or that it's simply a neutral circumstance of their situation. You actually get to decide- I know that sounds impossible, but it's true.
This sentiment scares me a bit... I think a lot of people taking out loans treat it like monopoly money, and you can be very glad you had the education you did, but there is no way that debt will not influence your life. With tuition, living expenses, and interest (interest accumulates even while you are still in school!) you are basically taking on a mortgage. An education can seem worth it, and fancy schools do have fancy perks, but those really won't get you any further in the long run.
Of course many people decide to pursue the expensive option, and love the education they got. But you need to have your eyes open to how that debt will influence your goals long term!
 
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May 26, 2019
192
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  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
This sentiment scares me a bit... I think a lot of people taking out loans treat it like monopoly money, and you can be very glad you had the education you did, but there is no way that debt will not influence your life. With tuition, living expenses, and interest (interest accumulates even while you are still in school!) you are basically taking on a mortgage. An education can seem worth it, and fancy schools do have fancy perks, but those really won't get you any further in the long run.
Of course many people decide to pursue the expensive option, and love the education they got. But you need to have your eyes open to how that debt will influence your goals long term!
Oh, it'll definitely influence your life! My point is simply that you can choose how to think about those influences. I quit a well-paying job that I got with a bachelor's degree to go, so far, about 25k in debt and now I'm going to take on a lot more to get my DPT. Being in debt right now, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. :giggle: I have my partner, I have my dogs, and I have my education- I honestly couldn't be happier. But that's only because I've learned how to manage my thinking around my circumstances.

In the past half year or so, I've discovered life coaching as a way to teach me how to control my thoughts, and I can say that nothing I've ever done has changed my life so drastically. I've tried meditation, therapy, psychiatric medication, the whole gamut, but learning how to control how I think about circumstances has been the key to me changing how I feel on a daily basis and how I act in light of those feelings. It changed me so much I realized I had to start coaching and share this with people.

On that note, if anyone is interested in learning more about what I mean, you can check out my site Home | No Bull Coaching. Life coaching is just teaching you the skills to look at your mind and showing you what you're really thinking and how to control that. I really would love to share the thing that worked for me because everyone, including myself, thinks they're the exception that can't learn that skill and can't change their thinking. Since I've experienced that change, I'm even willing to face my fear of appearing "salesy" by putting a link in my posts. A few years ago I never would have been willing to link up my site to a post because I would have been terrified that people would think I was being some gross salesperson. Now I'm just like, "I have an opportunity to help, so not telling people that would be a disservice to those who want it." It's a complete change of perspective. :cool:
 
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AZ.DPT

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Apr 27, 2020
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  1. Pre-Physical Therapy
Long post warning but I put a lot of effort into this response.

Reapply! Take the cheapest option!! Something that I almost never see mentioned here is interest rates on student loans. If the private school offers subsidized loans then this may benefit you, however, all of the private schools I have researched only offer unsubsidized loans, which means interest begins immediately.

For example, the interest rate for unsubsidized loans (only option for the private school I was most interested in) is 6.08% (which is insane), and tuition is about $115,000. My mother is a CPA so she mapped out the cost with her fancy tax software.

I asked her to map out the payments over a ten year period to pay off a $115,000 loan in full. The minimum payment would be $1,281 each month. This seems fine and manageable but a really really huge, hidden problem with this is that over the ten years I would end up spending $38,764.20 in interest alone (almost your in-state tuition). So finally after ten years of payments I would wind up spending a grand total of $153,763 on tuition alone. We did NOT account for lab equipment, books, technology, health insurance, cost of living, or anything else that may come up.

Take a minute to let that set in. You are giving up a chance to pay around the amount I would be paying in interest alone for your in-state tuition. You could pay that $45,000 off so quickly. In fact to prove this to you, I had my mom map out your unsubsidized loan repayment cost. Here are the results...

If you took out an unsubsidized loan for $45,000 at 6.08% and decided you wanted to pay it off in 10 years, your monthly payment would be $501.00 per month and you would wind up spending $15,000 on interest.

BUT if you chose to make the same payment from my private school example of $1,281 per month, you would pay off your student loans in full in only THREE YEARS. Do you understand how big that is? And you would only be spending $4,674 in total interest. Your public school may offer subsidized loans which means the amount paid toward interest would be lower and more would go toward the principal which in any case would mean a shorter loan payoff period!

If this isn't somehow convincing enough, consider the fact that you won't be in a position to take out a loan for a nice home nor will you be able to put away money into a 401K for retirement. Check out this article for more elaboration. https://www.studentloanplanner.com/average-physical-therapist-salary/

Friend, this is literally a no brainer. The fact that you were able to get into an in-state school is incredible and I'm sorry but in my opinion $150,000-$200,000 in debt that will follow you for decades is NOT even worth missing out on an unlikely "$89,000" in lost salary wages (you can bet tens of thousands of this will go to the government for taxes). Finally, I disagree that your in-state school would not re-admit you. If they liked you once they will like you again. Stuff happens and schools understand that, you could bring that up in your re-application in a positive light.

Good luck!
 
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AP191

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 2, 2013
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53
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  1. Physical Therapist
Long post warning but I put a lot of effort into this response.

Reapply! Take the cheapest option!! Something that I almost never see mentioned here is interest rates on student loans. If the private school offers subsidized loans then this may benefit you, however, all of the private schools I have researched only offer unsubsidized loans, which means interest begins immediately.

For example, the interest rate for unsubsidized loans (only option for the private school I was most interested in) is 6.08% (which is insane), and tuition is about $115,000. My mother is a CPA so she mapped out the cost with her fancy tax software.

I asked her to map out the payments over a ten year period to pay off a $115,000 loan in full. The minimum payment would be $1,281 each month. This seems fine and manageable but a really really huge, hidden problem with this is that over the ten years I would end up spending $38,764.20 in interest alone (almost your in-state tuition). So finally after ten years of payments I would wind up spending a grand total of $153,763 on tuition alone. We did NOT account for lab equipment, books, technology, health insurance, cost of living, or anything else that may come up.

Take a minute to let that set in. You are giving up a chance to pay around the amount I would be paying in interest alone for your in-state tuition. You could pay that $45,000 off so quickly. In fact to prove this to you, I had my mom map out your unsubsidized loan repayment cost. Here are the results...

If you took out an unsubsidized loan for $45,000 at 6.08% and decided you wanted to pay it off in 10 years, your monthly payment would be $501.00 per month and you would wind up spending $15,000 on interest.

BUT if you chose to make the same payment from my private school example of $1,281 per month, you would pay off your student loans in full in only THREE YEARS. Do you understand how big that is? And you would only be spending $4,674 in total interest. Your public school may offer subsidized loans which means the amount paid toward interest would be lower and more would go toward the principal which in any case would mean a shorter loan payoff period!

If this isn't somehow convincing enough, consider the fact that you won't be in a position to take out a loan for a nice home nor will you be able to put away money into a 401K for retirement. Check out this article for more elaboration. https://www.studentloanplanner.com/average-physical-therapist-salary/

Friend, this is literally a no brainer. The fact that you were able to get into an in-state school is incredible and I'm sorry but in my opinion $150,000-$200,000 in debt that will follow you for decades is NOT even worth missing out on an unlikely "$89,000" in lost salary wages (you can bet tens of thousands of this will go to the government for taxes). Finally, I disagree that your in-state school would not re-admit you. If they liked you once they will like you again. Stuff happens and schools understand that, you could bring that up in your re-application in a positive light.

Good luck!
Excellent post. More people should read this and do their own calculations. The ROI of many PT schools is just not there. It is the biggest problem this profession has currently You may think now that you will just pay it back later, but trust me, it is a huge burden when life comes your way and you need to pay for things that are unexpected and very expensive.

I thought the same way, and I am in the hole right now clawing my way out. It sucks.
 
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