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 Post subject: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:30 pm
Posts: 8
Hello everyone, it’s been a bit since my first post and i have some interesting issues with my current student loans.

To keep everyone on the same page here’s what I’m dealing with; roughly 70,000$ in student loan debt, closer to 60,000$, but I’m averaging other loans in as well. consolidated everything I could through direct loans consolidation however my problem is I didn’t free up any funds on the FAFSA to continue school(the whole reason I consolidated) I did it this way at the insistence of a school official, awesome, so now I’m stuck. the options they have given me is finding a private loan for the additional 40,000$ ill need to graduate, or reconsolidate again through a private lender, or pay cash up front for classes(not even remotely feasible).

Some basic info: I don’t make nearly enough at my job to afford even one class per session paid in cash, sessions are 6 weeks and classes roughly 1000$ a credit, 3 credits per; meaning about $6000 per 3 months.

I don’t want to have to pay out of pocket unless it’s a last resort, trying to maintain savings and a life as well as working my way through school.

I’m 31 and don’t want to be in school for another 4-5 years which is easier to pay off but wastes to much of my most valuable resource time.

I have a small car payment and good credit, no serious bills or children or anything, planning on finding a new apartment in the next 3-6 months depending on availability.

So you might ask, what are my questions? Simple really, I need advice on the best places to go first for either a private loan or reconsolidation of said student loan through direct loans.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:58 pm 
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It's really hard to make suggestions here.

You already have an awful lot of student debt. If you were going to med school, law school, or something along those lines where you could be reasonably certain of a very high salary then your debt load might not be so bad. But under no circumstances should your total debt at graduation exceed your first year starting salary.

You say your tuition is about $3000 per class and the classes are 6 weeks long. That does not sound like law school or medical school to me. It sounds like an expensive private program. The fact that a school official "sold" you the loan consolidation and now wants you to take out another loan is a HUGE red flag.

Have you considered switching to a less expensive program at a public university?

What are the realistic job prospects and salary expectations after you graduate?

Can you tell us what school you are attending and what you are studying?


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:39 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:30 pm
Posts: 8
DoingHomework, thanks for the reply, to clarify, this is accrued school loan debit over many years. I had attended school from 2000-2003 in Philadelphia, and due to deaths in the family and mistakes on my part left school just before graduation, transfers and loss of credits between schools have gotten me in the position I’m in at the moment.

I was attending the art institute’s online, and due to the school not having credits transferable between other schools, or even between their own branches (actual schools and online for example) I’m in the position of having to finish my program there, transferring out or finishing at a state school isn’t an option, nor would I take the option to do that and start over from scratch if I could.

I was put in this financial position due to the school admins incompetence and trusting people I shouldn’t have to resolve it( parents namely) and now have to get myself out of it. The school didn’t offer the consolidation that was my father asking the wrong person (not a financial councilor) what to do, it’s a long story.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:41 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
So, you have $60k-$70k of debt for a partial education and all you have to say is you are going to an art institute online? What are your job prospects? What is your likely starting salary (what you'll actually get, not what people are talking about)?

You may be better off as a plumber (insert any job which doesn't require a degree). What you have spent is a sunk cost, so if you have $2k left to spend, you may as well finish off. If you're in for another $10-$20k, you may want to see what you can do if you focused all your efforts doing something else that doesn't require a degree and stop sinking your ship.

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Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:30 pm
Posts: 8
Bichon, while I appreciate your post, I didn’t add a lot of information about my program, school, or possible wages for the simple reason that they are immaterial to my question which was:

I need advice on the best places to go first for either a private loan or reconsolidation of said student loan through direct loans.

I’m asking which financial institution or lender is my best choice for acquiring the aforementioned loan or reconsolidation, available information on this is remarkably slim.

However, since you did ask, my field of study is media arts and animation, I’m working toward a bachelors in animation and will begin actually working in that field once i have my degree( computer animation is a field where a degree means quite allot, most studios won’t even look at my portfolio without one) currently I work a management position on big box retail, I chose this position for a few reasons namely relatively easy wages to earn, multiple locations to work out of/live near for flexibility, training and experience leading and managing a workforce and running a business. These are all skills which I will need for my eventual goal of working up to a director of animation position at a major studio.

Job prospects at the moment are slim on the east coast, especially with the closing and bankruptcy of the Florida based digital domain studio which opened less than a year ago. on the west coast or overseas jobs are much better, most major studios are based in and around California, there is also plenty of work in smaller studios working on commercials, TV, video games, etc. So yes, most job prospects will be west coast based; many larger companies assist with relocation, although this won’t be a problem for me.

I have several contacts at blizzard studios, EA games and Microsoft, as well as a now defunct inroad at digital domain here in Florida, but contacts are contacts and something may come from it.

Salary varies greatly depending on job type, location, size of the studio and prior experience. Starting salaries can vary from $35,000 - 76,000 with higher salaries occurring in the motion picture industry, also the largest employer of my trade. Some overseas studios and many American based graphics design and media arts firms offer hourly pay ranging from 30.00 - 40.00 per hour, obviously not as desirable. It’s not unheard of for animators to make $80,000 or more at companies like ILM, Lucasarts, Pixar, and Weta Digital. Obviously animation directors will make more.

I’m not nor did I ever plan on repaying my current student loans in full directly out of school, and not in my first year, the situation I’m in has forced me to think of other ways of working down that debt, I live and work with the understanding that I will be working down this debt for years, being a person who lives a spartian existance in the first place im not worried about paying for a morgage, kids, SUV payments, or any of the other minuta of an average american, I dont want any of those things, nor will I. everything I earn and save goes to my debt and to my future retirement plans, i have no large draws on my time or money other than working and studying.

Again I appreciate advice on the situation, namely I'm looking for which bank/lender to go after first, or some other out of the box idea on how to tackle this situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:53 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
Are you willing to wait to finish school?

Can you get a better paying job?

Are you willing to look for a part time job as well as a full time job?

Are there any scholarships out there you could possibly receive?

Sorry about your situation, unfortunately I don't know of any banks but I would suggest you sending Sula Nebouxi and perhaps he could help since he's been there and beyond. He's also in the same field as you intend to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:45 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
Having worked in a college financial aid office, there aren't a lot of places to go outside of your college financial aid office. You can go to the banks etc, but they'll all ask the same question, why aren't you obtaining a loan through the financial aid office?

The federal gubimint will only loan so much to an individual per degree, as you seem to have figured out. Usually, each fin aid office has a private loan or two they suggest, have you gone to them and asked about it?

Outside of that, why not start calling each bank that is around you and ask?

You are certainly in an unenviable position. Good luck.

_________________
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:38 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
Have you looked into income based repayment?

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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:03 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:30 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks again everyone for the excellent responses.

Fantasma to your questions, I’m currently working towards a promotion within the next month or so at my store, I should if everything goes well, be able to earn almost an extra $1000 per month. I’ve also been looking into making money on the side doing many small things in my free time. Like commission painting, blogging, website design, commission 3D modeling, etc. I was planning on starting one of these ideas per 6 months and see if it grows into a successful business opportunity. I have difficulty with trying to maintain 2 jobs since I work almost every day and I’m required to have flexible hours for work.

The difficulty with scholarships, and similarly grants is I need to be enrolled in school to apply for them, as I’m currently not enrolled due to financial issues this is kind of a catch 22 for me. Once I get back in I intend to search aggressively for grants and scholarships.

I have asked about income repayment, which my school flat out does not do, that was the response from their senior financial aid VP.

Bichon, I have started calling banks and asking for information, started with Wells Fargo(my bank since they were First Union) with luck I will be able to secure a reliable cosigner and may be able to get this resolved with that rout. I’m concerned about applying allot at each bank, which they all seem to want me to do, as the credit checks will cause havoc with my credit score, as it did when I was shopping for my car loan on 09.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:53 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:19 am
Posts: 1
I've read articles on this site once or twice but decided to register to respond to your post.

A degree in animation is ABSOLUTELY NOT required to get a job in the field
and is not looked at highly. It only says 'I spent a lot of money taking classes at an art school'.
An Art Institutes degree will probably look worse.

If you want to get into the technical side of animation and feel like you want a degree,
get a computer science/software engineering degree.

As Bichon said, look at the money spent as a sunk cost.
Learn from it and move on.
Don't finish the degree because you started it.

I've talked with/learned from artists who have worked (or are currently working)
at Dreamworks, Pixar, Disney, etc. The same thing was said:
'You don't need a degree.'

If you want to teach animation, maybe...
But to produce it...to get a job with it?
No.

Instead of going to school, search the web for animation forums (11secondclub),
sites (splinedoctors.com/CartoonBrew), tutorials (gnomon/digitaltutors),
resources (animator's survival kit), etc and practice.
Go to conventions (wondercon/comic-con/ctn animation expo)
and talk to artists working in the industry.
Find (working) animators/artists on the web and send them an email.
Find information however you need to find it...

But please...
do not sink any more money into this school.
Or any art school for that matter.
You don't need a degree to do this.


--former art school student with similar amount of debt


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:03 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
demetrius wrote:
As Bichon said, look at the money spent as a sunk cost.
Learn from it and move on.
Don't finish the degree because you started it.



That isn't actually what I said/meant. My point was, what is spent is spent. You cannot change that. So the decision becomes, spend an additional $XXk to finish degree, less the opportunity cost of a fulltime job with (hopefully) benefits less time to "grow career" while in school (intangible, but worth something), less pay etc vs prospect of finishing degree and (hopefully) getting a better paying job w/ (hopefully) better benefits. So, there are two paths to take regardless of what the past is, b/c they will still have to deal with that independent of which direction they head. Which one is better? I dunno.

I would also caution that when people talk about how much they make, it is usually inflated, which leads a lot of college peeps to overestimate their earning potential.

_________________
Bichon Frise

"If you only have 1 year to live, move to Penn...as it will seem like an eternity."


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:56 am 
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Serenity1980 wrote:
The difficulty with scholarships, and similarly grants is I need to be enrolled in school to apply for them, as I’m currently not enrolled due to financial issues this is kind of a catch 22 for me.


Whoever told you that is lying to you. I think the more likely situation is that there are few scholarships that you are eligible for because your school is not accredited.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:19 pm 
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I am a big proponent of education. But your situation presents a major dilemma. You can:

1. Continue at the Art Institute,
2. Stop and focus on getting a job in your field based on your existing education
3. Start over at a different, ACCREDITED school
4. Try something different.

If you choose option 1 you will graduate in 2 years with a huge debt load. Based on what others have said, the value of your degree will be questionable.

With option 2 you stop the hemorraging of money, and, based on what has been said, might be able to get just as good a job as you would if you finish your degree. You mention you have good contacts. Put them to use!

With option 3 you might not be able to transfer classes from AI but the school you go to might not make you repeat things you've already taken. If you work your butt off you could reasonably expect to get done in 3 years with far less debt and at far less expense. Do whatever you can at a community college.

I can understand if option 4 is not even under consideration but it has to be mentioned as an option.

Seriously, if you insist on option 1 I think you will be in a very bad place in 2 years and you will have been ripped off by your school.

Regardless of what anyone says, accreditation by a regional agency is an extremely important part of what everyone should look at when evaluating any school. The Art Institute is not accredited. It is very likely that having a degree from there will work against you as the person above who is familiar with your industry noted.

I realize that you don't want to discuss any of this and just want someone to tell you where you can get a loan. But that is like an alcoholic asking for directions to the nearest liquor store. Isn't it better for us to help you think more broadly about the situation you are in and your possible options?


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:40 pm 

Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 132
This might be a little off topic, but the above is why I don't like private tech schools and any other school that's not regionally accredited. It sounded a little strange to me when I was first researching colleges but regional accreditation is one you want, not national. Most credits at nationally accredited schools don't transfer, even amongst themselves. They don't transfer credit in, no matter where you earned it. They also tend to be overpriced and the administration departments are staffed by used car salesmen, including admissions and financial aid - "Sure, you can get financial aid to pay for the tuition. You won't get enough federal loans so you'll have to get private loans at an interest rate of 10%, but you'll make so much money because of our school it'll be a good investment." I spent an afternoon at one of those schools and left feeling like I needed a shower.

To get back on topic, I agree with DH, start looking for a job in the field now. If you don't think you're ready, study on your own and build a portfolio or take some classes at a community college (to improve your skills rather than get a degree). If you get into the field and decide that you still want to finish the degree, then do it but pay cash - you're already in the field you want to be in, so what if it takes longer?

The only places I know of for private student loans are banks.


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 Post subject: Re: Student loans reconsolidated, now there are problems...
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:58 pm 
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catchingup wrote:
This might be a little off topic, but the above is why I don't like private tech schools and any other school that's not regionally accredited. It sounded a little strange to me when I was first researching colleges but regional accreditation is one you want, not national.


Reputable academic schools are accredited by one of five regional organizations:

1. Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools/Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
2. New England Association of Schools and Colleges/Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE)
3. North Central Association of Colleges and School/The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC)
4. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges
5. Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Specific programs might be accredited by a professional group (AACSB for business schools, ABET for engineering for example) but those are in addition to one of the 5 above. The US Department of Education has a kind of "list" of schools for which students are eligible for financial aid but that is not accreditation.

There is a form of national accreditation for career schools and continuing education programs.

If you are in a "career" program then a national accreditation might be acceptable but you should then plan to do a great deal of research to make sure the school is legit regardless of how well known they are. I can name at least two very well known schools in this category that are nothing more than scams to rip off students. I'd call them diploma mills but they work very hard to not award degrees easily because they want students to stick around and keep paying.

But if you are in any kind of academic or professional program, you want to see a blessing from one of the 5 organizations listed above. Don't believe anyone who says some other organization is better. They are lying.


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