Aug 1, 2012
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Physical Therapy Student
I just want to get a feel for how everyone is doing financially. I've been accepted to a couple programs and will absolutely be starting PT school next year, and while I have no doubts about my passion to be a PT, and would do it for less than what the average salary is today, but I know that I still need to worry about how things will be financially once I graduate and am practicing. No one likes the crushing feeling of being in debt, and I hope to dig myself out of it as quickly as I can.

I know the main advice given is to attend the cheapest school possible, however not all of us are given the opportunity to attend a relatively cheap school. I'm likely looking at 70-80k in tuition for the school I'm planning on attending.

So I just want to know how you guys are feeling about paying back your loans, especially those of you that attended a more expensive school? What are you making and how much are you able to pay on loans per month? Are you doing some PRN work on nights/weekends?

Also, what kind of loans did you take out? How were you able to pay for all of your tuition/expenses? Did you need to take out some private loans as well?

Any specific or just general advice would be much appreciated!
 

NewDPT31

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Aug 31, 2011
175
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Chicago, Illinois
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DPT / OTD
Grad May 2011. 155k in federal. 85k in private.
Work for non profit hospital, make 77k base. Work PRN on weekends(3-4 weekend days a month) for $50/hr.(this works because I do 4-10s during the week so I always have 3 day weekends)
Consolidated and did IBR to repay-around 680/month. Then I put around 800 or so/month towards private. It's nice to see the private loan balance go down.
It's very stressful, but it works out. I have a nice apartment in a safe neighborhood, drive a good car and go out whenever I want(single).
I wish I hadn't gone to undergrad in the Pre-all federal loans world. I couldve just done all Federal and make the same 680/month payment for all loans, instead of paying for these damn private loans as well. 680/month is pretty easy, I really don't ever think about it. I'm just focusing on paying off the private, as they won't be forgiven.
 
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Aug 1, 2012
78
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Physical Therapy Student
Grad May 2011. 155k in federal. 85k in private.
Work for non profit hospital, make 77k base. Work PRN on weekends(3-4 weekend days a month) for $50/hr.(this works because I do 4-10s during the week so I always have 3 day weekends)
Consolidated and did IBR to repay-around 680/month. Then I put around 800 or so/month towards private. It's nice to see the private loan balance go down.
It's very stressful, but it works out. I have a nice apartment in a safe neighborhood, drive a good car and go out whenever I want(single).
I wish I hadn't gone to undergrad in the Pre-all federal loans world. I couldve just done all Federal and make the same 680/month payment for all loans, instead of paying for these damn private loans as well. 680/month is pretty easy, I really don't ever think about it. I'm just focusing on paying off the private, as they won't be forgiven.
Thank you for the information! That makes me feel a bit better about the whole situation. So far I only have federal loans, and I'm hoping to keep it that way if I can. I looked at some of your other posts, and it seems like you know a lot about the financial side of this whole thing, so I would like you ask your opinion on a plan. Do you think a good way to go about all this is for me to only take out federal loans (unsubsidized and GRAD PLUS), consolidate them when I graduate, do an IBR, and then work 10 years in a non-profit setting? I would really like to pick up PRN work as well when able. I know that's pretty much just repeating what you already said, but does that sound like a good idea? Was a plan similar to that common among your classmates or other PTs that you know?

Thanks again for the help!
 

NewDPT31

5+ Year Member
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Aug 31, 2011
175
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Chicago, Illinois
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DPT / OTD
A lot of my classmates graduated with $200k+ debt, and a ton also with 100k+. We all make it work. I feel like I am doing the best possible plan for my situation. The stress is less on me working and paying it off, and more on the government holding up their end of the bargain.
 

NewTestament

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Nov 4, 2010
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DPT / OTD
It also depends on how much debt you accrued as an undergraduate. If you're smart, you're going to an in-state school and living at home and spending <$30k on undergraduate school. Where you go as an undergraduate makes no difference anymore, and it amazes me that schools can justify their increasing costs when most students will need a graduate degree to get a good position in their field.

Kevin
 
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markelmarcel

7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
1,109
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DPT / OTD
I am about to graduate! (Only 12 days away!!) I looked at my loans and it says to pay them off in 10 years (yeah right) it would be close to $900 a month. That's just insane. So, I'm hoping to consolidate them all and have a lower payment. I just went for my first interview yesterday, so finances are starting to come around, but I still don't know just yet...

I know that I may travel for my job and that means I'm going to have to get a new car... My significant other and I live together and he has been paying all the bills for us, so I'm going to start contributing with that, so those are concerns I have with balancing paying for loans.

But, I have no debt from undergrad, and only about ~75k for PT school. I think I'm in a much better position than most, so I'll be thankful for that!
 

NewDPT31

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Aug 31, 2011
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DPT / OTD
I am about to graduate! (Only 12 days away!!) I looked at my loans and it says to pay them off in 10 years (yeah right) it would be close to $900 a month. That's just insane. So, I'm hoping to consolidate them all and have a lower payment. I just went for my first interview yesterday, so finances are starting to come around, but I still don't know just yet...

I know that I may travel for my job and that means I'm going to have to get a new car... My significant other and I live together and he has been paying all the bills for us, so I'm going to start contributing with that, so those are concerns I have with balancing paying for loans.

But, I have no debt from undergrad, and only about ~75k for PT school. I think I'm in a much better position than most, so I'll be thankful for that!
Dude or Dudette,
$900/month is a lot, but not unmanageable. I have a few friends that travel, and the pay is good, but don't feel like you HAVE to travel to pay that off(just spitballing, if you really want to travel, by all means). a few days a month of PRN pretty much negates that. Good luck and congrats!
 
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Aug 1, 2012
78
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Physical Therapy Student
Wow thank you guys all so much for the insight. I'm feeling a lot better going into making these financial decisions and knowing some of the options available to me.

Kevin, yeah I have stayed at in-state and for my undergrad, so my debt there isn't terrible.

So another question... I've been looking around online but haven't really found any clear cut explanations on how GRAD PLUS loans work. How much are you able to take out with a GRAD PLUS loan? Is it based on what your school says the total expenses are, minus what you get for the unsub loan? Is how much you get credit based (I know the interest rate is fixed)? It is a federal loan, so you're able to consolidate it with your other federal loans, right?
 

NewDPT31

5+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2011
175
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Chicago, Illinois
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DPT / OTD
Wow thank you guys all so much for the insight. I'm feeling a lot better going into making these financial decisions and knowing some of the options available to me.

Kevin, yeah I have stayed at in-state and for my undergrad, so my debt there isn't terrible.

So another question... I've been looking around online but haven't really found any clear cut explanations on how GRAD PLUS loans work. How much are you able to take out with a GRAD PLUS loan? Is it based on what your school says the total expenses are, minus what you get for the unsub loan? Is how much you get credit based (I know the interest rate is fixed)? It is a federal loan, so you're able to consolidate it with your other federal loans, right?
https://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/plus

Grad plus are semi based on credit, but unless you have a horrible credit history you will be fine. It covers everything, including extra expenses for housing, etc. It can be consolidated post graduation with undergrad federal loans and then put into a repayment plan like IBR, etc.
AVOID THE PARENT GRAD LOAN. IT CANNOT BE CONSOLIDATED WITH YOUR OTHER STUFF.
 
Mar 28, 2012
5
1
Status
DPT / OTD
I have a question for NewDPT31. I see that you mentioned that you are doing IBR for your repayment plan. I am a second year student and I have been mulling over whether or not I want to do the IBR or just work my tail off for the first few years out of school and pay my loans off as fast as possible. Both have pros and cons. I would much rather do the IBR but I am just concerned with the government holding up its end of the deal, kind of like how you mentioned in one of your posts. From what I understand about the IBR, you pay a calculated percentage based on your income to debt ratio and then after 20 years your loan is completely forgiven. Is this correct? My biggest fear is that something is going to happen with the government and I am going to be 15 years into my repayment plan and they are going to say, "sorry, we need you to pay the whole amount." This would be terrible considering interest would have continued to accumulate, which would make my debt even greater than if I just took the traditional 10 year repayment route. Anyways, I was just wondering if you share any of these same concerns with doing the IBR and if what I have stated is overall correct.
 
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NewDPT31

5+ Year Member
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Aug 31, 2011
175
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DPT / OTD
I have a question for NewDPT31. I see that you mentioned your are doing IBR for your repayment plan. I am a second year student and I have been mulling over whether or not I want to do the IBR or just work my tail off for the first few years out of school and pay my loans off as fast as possible. Both have pros and cons. I would much rather do the IBR but I am just concerned with the government holding up its end of the deal, kind of like how you mentioned in one of your posts. From what I understand about the IBR, you pay a calculated percentage based on your income to debt ratio and then after 20 years your loan is completely forgiven. Is this correct? My biggest fear is that something is going to happen with the government and I am going to be 15 years into my repayment plan and they are going to say, "sorry, we need you to pay the whole amount." This would be terrible considering interest would have continued to accumulate, which would make my debt even greater than if I just took the traditional 10 year repayment route. Anyways, I was just wondering if you share any of these same concerns with doing the IBR and if what I have stated is overall correct.
That is entirely my fear. I work at a non for profit hospital though, and am going the PSLF route(public service loan forgiveness). It's 10 years. Also with this route, your loans that are forgiven DO NOT count as earned income. So say I work for a private PT clinic, and i pay IBR for 20 years. The gov forgives $100k. Well that counts as income, and i'd be hit with a ~30% tax that year on that $100k. But with PSLF, you don't pay taxes on that. And most hospitals are non profit(except like kindred, other big companies). So I work for hospital outpatient. Still great pay, get to do OP, and work for non/profit.
BUT YES. I'm hoping to not get Screwed over by the powers that be in D.C. The fear is that once the public and lawmakers see people getting $100k forgiven, they will want to put a stop to it. Will it happen? no idea. Will it be talked about? probably. Will people in it be grandfathered? God I hope.
Every year you have to send in your tax form so they can re-calculate based on income.(here's a secret-consolidate ASAP after you graduate. Since you will have little to no income, your payments for that first year will be next to nothing. And every month counts.). With PSLF, you send in a form with your hospital HR dept giving some sort of letter proving non profit status, and then you get a sheet back every year authenticating that you do qualify for PSLF.
 
Jun 9, 2012
565
84
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Other Health Professions Student
Hey guys. I'm starting PT school in may and am worried about being able to get grad plus loans. I had a hospital bill that went unpaid for some time and was listed on my credit. I'm in the process of getting it removed, but other than that my sheet is completely immaculate.

I even got a secured credit card to start building my credit and have been paying it religiously for at least 6 months. Should I have any problems getting grad plus? If you guys aren't really sure, any idea who I can talk to find out if I can get them?

Thanks!
JD
 
Oct 10, 2013
121
11
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Hey guys. I'm starting PT school in may and am worried about being able to get grad plus loans. I had a hospital bill that went unpaid for some time and was listed on my credit. I'm in the process of getting it removed, but other than that my sheet is completely immaculate.

I even got a secured credit card to start building my credit and have been paying it religiously for at least 6 months. Should I have any problems getting grad plus? If you guys aren't really sure, any idea who I can talk to find out if I can get them?

Thanks!
JD
Take care of the hospital bill and you'll have no problem. They just don't want delinquencies, they don't care whether you have "good" credit. I had to research this very heavily because I had a lot of medical bills on my credit, they were set to drop off in 2017 but I wound up having to pay for delete. Feel free to PM me if you need any help getting it off your report.
 
Jun 9, 2012
565
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Livelifelifting, I messaged you but is there someone I can call to find out if I'm eligible for grad PLUS?
 

callmecrazy

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Jul 17, 2008
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So I just want to know how you guys are feeling about paying back your loans, especially those of you that attended a more expensive school? What are you making and how much are you able to pay on loans per month? Are you doing some PRN work on nights/weekends?

Also, what kind of loans did you take out? How were you able to pay for all of your tuition/expenses? Did you need to take out some private loans as well?
I really stressed about my debt right out of school, but definitely have a better grasp a year later. I work on a school year schedule and some PRN over summer and holiday breaks. I only had about $5k carryover from undergrad, added that to grad loans, and all were federal. Because I didn't know better, I just consolidated and went on the extended plan. The payments are just shy of $1k/month. Because I filed my taxes as "married filing jointly", my IBR payments would have been around $1500-1600/month. Ouch.

The next step for me will be to file my 2013 taxes as "married filing separately", at which time only my income will be looked at to calculate IBR. This will drastically drop my monthly payments. It will also qualify me for PSLF because I work for a non-profit, and I'll be looking forward to forgiveness in 10 years. If PSLF disappears before that, then I'll be praying IBR forgiveness sticks around. And if IBR forgiveness disappears... I guess I'll just be paying a couple hundred dollars a month for the rest of my life. :thumbup:

That said, all my PT friends are on different paths to repayment depending on their debt total and personal situations. Do your research to find out what is best for YOU, preferably before you even start paying.
 
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bnwj89

SPT
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Contact your financial aid office at the school you'll be attending. They will be very knowledgeable and able to answer your questions
 

markelmarcel

7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
1,109
79
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DPT / OTD
Dude or Dudette,
$900/month is a lot, but not unmanageable. I have a few friends that travel, and the pay is good, but don't feel like you HAVE to travel to pay that off(just spitballing, if you really want to travel, by all means). a few days a month of PRN pretty much negates that. Good luck and congrats!
Well, $900/month is more than my current mortgage payment, so I definitely feel it is a lot of money (like $300 more...). Also, I know I could do some extra work on the side the first few years to get it down, but I just don't see myself making that high of a payment each month given the fact that I need to start contributing more to my household and will probably need to buy a car in the next 6 months or so. And, one of the job opportunities that has come my way has been home care (thus the traveling comment) and my car that I currently have is starting to show its age. It's broken down 2x in the past 3 months. Eek! Haha.

Thanks for the luck and the congrats! It's been a long haul! :)
 
Oct 10, 2013
121
11
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Apply and they'll tell you. Wasn't this discussed many moons ago?
God forbid someone wants to research the process in advance. Knowing the criteria now will allow him to clean up that bill and not have to deal with appealing the rejection he'll get if he has that collection.
 
Jun 9, 2012
565
84
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Azi, if I apply, and they say no, would It be more difficult to get them when asking again? It makes sense to ask because I'd want to get it figured out before I apply. And yes, this has been in the process for months. The credit agency likes to play phone tag.

Also, I can't apply till January anyway so I have some time to figure it out. I'll call again today.
 

Azimuthal

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Jan 29, 2012
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God forbid someone wants to research the process in advance. Knowing the criteria now will allow him to clean up that bill and not have to deal with appealing the rejection he'll get if he has that collection.
I'm was speaking to a regular poster, as in "we" have spoke about his issue. Some of us have been following this issue with him and have a lot more background on it. God forbid.
 
Oct 10, 2013
121
11
Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
I'm was speaking to a regular poster, as in "we" have spoke about his issue. Some of us have been following this issue with him and have a lot more background on it. God forbid.
You said "apply and they'll tell you" I interpreted that as being short and kind of rude, is all. He could fix it now and not have to deal with appealing. I wasn't commenting on the rest of your post.
 

Azimuthal

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Jan 29, 2012
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Azi, if I apply, and they say no, would It be more difficult to get them when asking again? It makes sense to ask because I'd want to get it figured out before I apply. And yes, this has been in the process for months. The credit agency likes to play phone tag.

Also, I can't apply till January anyway so I have some time to figure it out. I'll call again today.
Did you try to speak with the collections agency? You may be able to negotiate a lower payment also. It may be your best bet if you can not get the credit agencies to remove the remark in time. As another poster stated, the amount is not that much as far as I remember. Also, it may take 3-6 months to have to mark removed after agency approval. Almost immediately, if "paid in full", which can be your negotiated amount.

I'm speaking from experience here. I was a moron (prob. still am). When I just turned18 a friend convinced me to sign her up for a cell phone in which she will make the monthly payments. She defaulted, never told me, and Cingular Wireless (yes, I'm old) sold my account to collection. I didn't find out until 3 years later, when I tried to buy a car. Checking your credit beforehand was fairly new back then and almost unheard of. Claim: $2400. I told them my situation and how I didn't even know about the default. Cingular never attempted to contact me, although their records show "1 attempt". I gave them a price I could afford as an E-3 in the Navy; $1100. Less than 30 days later my credit showed "paid in full" as that was promised by the collection agency. My credit has been clean since. Give them a number you can afford, tell them your situation. They WANT to settle. They bought your account pennies on the dollar and the longer they wait, the more they lose. Try it out. I'm starting to worry about you.
 
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Jun 9, 2012
565
84
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Other Health Professions Student
I appreciate the advice Azi, but now now guys no need to argue. This post was probably even in the wrong topic but It felt appropriate at the time.

I called today and they told me they're still waiting to hear back from the hospital and should hear soon. They're letting me know when they hear something. Hopefully it gets taken care of. If not, I do have a plan in place. So thanks again guys. Honestly didn't mean to be a pest, just wanted some genuine advice from some people who may have been through the process themselves.
 
Sep 21, 2013
4
2
Status
I'm glad someone decide to bring this up as the financial situation is the only thing I'm really hesitant about PT as a career. I am currently applying to DPT schools and want to get a grasp on everything loan wise before making my decision to pursue a DPT. If you guys could confirm/disprove/comment on any points I'm about to list, I'd appreciate it! This is what I understand...

LOANS
The first government loan we can take out is the stafford loan. It has a max of $20,500 a year and is not credit based. The interest rate is 5.4% and interest starts accruing right away, although payments on the loan are not required until 6 months post graduation. The federal origination fee is small (1.072%) and it would be advantageous to make payments on the interest during school if you can.

The second government loan you can take is the graduate PLUS loan. This loan is credit based, and there is no limit to this loan as it will cover all costs of your graduate degree (tuition, room and board, etc) that the stafford loan does not cover. The interest rate is a little higher at 6.4% and again, interest accrues right away and repayments start 6 months post graduation. The federal origination fee is much higher (4.02%) for this loan.

REPAYMENT
As far as repayment goes, I think no one uses the standard 10 year repayment plan because it simply is way too much money to pay back as a starting PT. From what I understand there are 2 options here:

1) Income based repayment (non profit): Work for a non profit organization for 10 years and at the end of the 10 years of repayment the remainder of the loan is forgiven TAX FREE.

2) Income based repayment (NOT non profit): At the end of 20 years of repayment, the remainder of the loan is forgiven BUT is SUBJECTIVE TO TAXES at whatever tax bracket that remainder would be at. It will be taxed as 'income'.

And the way IBR is calculate is as follows: (Adjusted Gross Income - 150% of the poverty line) * 10% = Repayment for a year
EX) Say you make 60k a year. The poverty line for a single adult is 12k, so taking 150% of that = 18k. 60k - 18k = 42k. 10% of 42k is $4,200 divided by 12 monthly payments equals $350 a month. And from what I understand there is no penalty for paying off the loan earlier, and you can always make larger payments once you are in a financial situation to do so.

Does this sound accurate to everyone out there?
 
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OP
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Aug 1, 2012
78
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Physical Therapy Student
Hey Mikey, great questions and points you brought up. That is all some of the information I was looking for too, along with some new information that I didn't know! So thanks for that.

I could be wrong, but I believe the interest rate on the PLUS loan is somewhere around 8% now. (7.9 maybe?) Maybe I'm wrong, I hope I'm wrong! Also, I have heard people talk about taking out private loans to cover what government loans will not. Why would anyone do this if the PLUS loan is essentially unlimited and able to cover all additional costs? You can't consolidate those private loans like you can with the PLUS loan, but I guess everyone's situation is different and maybe consolidation isn't smart for certain situations?

One more thing... is the Stafford loan the same thing is the unsubsidized loan? For some reason I was under the impression that the $20,500 unsub loan was different from the Stafford loan. Again, I could very easily be wrong here.
 
Sep 21, 2013
4
2
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Yes, I believe the unsubsidized government loans arethe exact same thing as the Stafford loan. As far as private loans from what I understand from talking to financial counselors:

- you might be able to get a much lower interest rate; however, the interest rate is variable (based on things like PRIME, etc). Meaning, while this year its pretty low (not sure how low but definitely lower than 6%), it is subject to increase/decreases throughout the remainder of your loan. Meaning, say you only needed to borrow a little bit of money for grad school, or you knew you are getting some sort of financial help down the road, or you know you will be able to pay off your debts rather quickly (i.e. in another career like at a top 10 law school), you would go the private route so you pay less interest. These private loans, from what I understand, have much stricter repayment plans (i.e. shorter repayment period, no such thing as income based repayment, no forgiveness of loans, etc) and again should only be taken out if you for sure know you'll be able to pay them off in their entirety. Also, these private loans cannot be consolidated like the governmental loans are.

If there are any recent graduates paying back their loans with IBR I would love to hear your thoughts on it all!
 

callmecrazy

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One more thing... is the Stafford loan the same thing is the unsubsidized loan? For some reason I was under the impression that the $20,500 unsub loan was different from the Stafford loan. Again, I could very easily be wrong here.
Stafford loans come as two types: subsidized and unsubsidized. Graduate students used to qualify for both, but as of 2012 only undergraduates are eligible for the subsidized Stafford. So when (potential) grad students talk about Stafford and unsubsidized loans, they are almost always using them synonymously. Though in reality, the term "unsubsidized" describes any loan that accrues interest while you are in school.
 
Mar 28, 2012
5
1
Status
DPT / OTD
Thanks for the information NewDPT31. I was unaware that there were additional benefits when working for a non-profit organization. As far as the PSLF route goes, do you have to work with the same hospital for 10 years or is there some flexibility if you need to work at a different hospital within the same organization?
 

callmecrazy

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Thanks for the information NewDPT31. I was unaware that there were additional benefits when working for a non-profit organization. As far as the PSLF route goes, do you have to work with the same hospital for 10 years or is there some flexibility if you need to work at a different hospital within the same organization?
You can change between any number of employers, as long as they are eligible. The 10 years doesn't have to be continuous either, as the criteria is 120 qualifying payments.
 
May 14, 2012
19
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If I'm doing IBR, does it make sense to do the minimum payment since the remainder of the loan is forgiven after 25 years?
If you plan on having it eventually forgiven, then absolutely pay the minimum. But if you are trying to pay it off sooner, then it would make more sense to pay as much as you can each month.
 

TheWeeIceMan

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If I'm doing IBR, does it make sense to do the minimum payment since the remainder of the loan is forgiven after 25 years?
Well, you still have to worry about paying the tax on that forgiven amount, so it might be better not to let the interest balloon.
 
OP
H
Aug 1, 2012
78
10
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Physical Therapy Student
Well, you still have to worry about paying the tax on that forgiven amount, so it might be better not to let the interest balloon.
Good point! I forgot about that. However, I believe the forgiven amount is not taxed if you go the forgiveness after 10 years route, where you work at a non-profit facility. Definitely something to think about!
 

TheWeeIceMan

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Good point! I forgot about that. However, I believe the forgiven amount is not taxed if you go the forgiveness after 10 years route, where you work at a non-profit facility. Definitely something to think about!
Oh, my bad. Didn't know you guys were talking about PSLF.
 
Mar 4, 2013
79
5
Status
It also depends on how much debt you accrued as an undergraduate. If you're smart, you're going to an in-state school and living at home and spending <$30k on undergraduate school. Where you go as an undergraduate makes no difference anymore, and it amazes me that schools can justify their increasing costs when most students will need a graduate degree to get a good position in their field.

Kevin
Universities increase cost because your legislature keeps slashing the higher education budget. Go complain to your governor, not your public university. When your governor says, "Hey if I slash more popular programs then I won't get reelected/my party will suffer." Then go complain to your society for electing the leaders they have over the past 30 years.

Also, If the public U is a flagship, research university, then they have to do a lot to be globally competitive(depending where you are, for some, nationally competitive). If we don't America, will lose one of the few strengths they have left.

Obviously there are other factors out there like increased and expensive red tape(for "assessment" by federal government) and corruption at the senior administration(as with any field), but those aren't the primary factors.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

Economics of the education sector is depressing though.
 

DPTErudition

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That is a good point. My loans are about 92k. I might pay a little extra on each payment, but I don't think I'll try too aggressively. I thought about saving 100 a month for the 25 years. That way I'd have 30k to take care of whatever taxes I'd owe for forgiveness. I'm still not sure which way to go.
 
Last edited:
Jul 23, 2012
66
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Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
I'm glad someone decide to bring this up as the financial situation is the only thing I'm really hesitant about PT as a career. I am currently applying to DPT schools and want to get a grasp on everything loan wise before making my decision to pursue a DPT. If you guys could confirm/disprove/comment on any points I'm about to list, I'd appreciate it! This is what I understand...

LOANS
The first government loan we can take out is the stafford loan. It has a max of $20,500 a year and is not credit based. The interest rate is 5.4% and interest starts accruing right away, although payments on the loan are not required until 6 months post graduation. The federal origination fee is small (1.072%) and it would be advantageous to make payments on the interest during school if you can.

The second government loan you can take is the graduate PLUS loan. This loan is credit based, and there is no limit to this loan as it will cover all costs of your graduate degree (tuition, room and board, etc) that the stafford loan does not cover. The interest rate is a little higher at 6.4% and again, interest accrues right away and repayments start 6 months post graduation. The federal origination fee is much higher (4.02%) for this loan.

REPAYMENT
As far as repayment goes, I think no one uses the standard 10 year repayment plan because it simply is way too much money to pay back as a starting PT. From what I understand there are 2 options here:

1) Income based repayment (non profit): Work for a non profit organization for 10 years and at the end of the 10 years of repayment the remainder of the loan is forgiven TAX FREE.

2) Income based repayment (NOT non profit): At the end of 20 years of repayment, the remainder of the loan is forgiven BUT is SUBJECTIVE TO TAXES at whatever tax bracket that remainder would be at. It will be taxed as 'income'.

And the way IBR is calculate is as follows: (Adjusted Gross Income - 150% of the poverty line) * 10% = Repayment for a year
EX) Say you make 60k a year. The poverty line for a single adult is 12k, so taking 150% of that = 18k. 60k - 18k = 42k. 10% of 42k is $4,200 divided by 12 monthly payments equals $350 a month. And from what I understand there is no penalty for paying off the loan earlier, and you can always make larger payments once you are in a financial situation to do so.

Does this sound accurate to everyone out there?

Sounds correct to me. I'm a first year and facing all the loan stuff. One correction to the above info is you can't just take as much grad plus loans as you want, you can only take it up to the cost of attendance of the school you attend. So if your cost of attendance is 30 grand for fall and spring, and you take the full unsub stafford 20500, 3000 perkins loan, than you can only take 6500 total of grad plus loans for the fall and spring semester etc.