Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Reality of Student Loans

“Yep. It’s not just monopoly money anymore.”

My wife received her student loan information in the mail a few days ago, and the reality of our student loans hit us both pretty heavily. As I work on my JD, my wife is concurrently working on her MSW. And, like most grad students in general, we rely on student loans to help us pay for those extra letters we’ll add to the end of our names on graduation day and that piece of paper we’ll frame and put in our office (about half of law students graduate with at least $100k in student loans). Knowing that we don’t need to worry about making payments on the loans until we graduate tends to make the loans seem almost fake. However, the reality of the fact that we are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, thanks to student loans, has hit us hard.

This moment of enlightenment (discouragement?) is compounded by the current state of the economy and the job market. It causes me to wonder: How long will it take us to pay off these loans? Will we ever pay off the loans at all? Will I find a good job after I graduate? Where can I find a cardboard box large enough for my wife and I to live in? I’ve always believed that a legal education is something I will never regret obtaining. I still feel that way. The real question, however, is how long it will take after graduation before my family and I can live comfortably.

Fortunately, I attend one of the law schools on this list, which means I won’t have over $100k in student debt when I graduate (interesting sidenote: 5 of the top 10 “Mormon Friendly Law Schools” from 2010 are mentioned on the list). As a result, I’ll either be able to pay off my student loans more quickly or buy some Wendy’s chicken nuggets.


  1. I graduated with just over $150k in debt and I'm living only a little better than I did in college. I make a decent living (for a small Utah firm) but pay more in my student loans each month than most people I know pay on their mortgage. Because of this, I have tried explaining many of my friends and family who are potentially law school-bound the reality of the job market/student loan gap. It's an unfortunate system.

  2. Put student loan debt as #1,564 on my list of reasons why our country's best days are in the past. Many of my friends and family have JD, MD, DO, DMD, PhD, MBA or other acronyms after their names and we all complain about the same thing, debt. Instead of investing in the stock market, buying a new car, or taking trips to Disneyland we pay our student loans. All of this money that myself, David, and others pay in student loans is in essence going into a "black hole", it doesn't stimulate the economy at all.

  3. The primary problem of those student loan borrowers is how they may be able to pay the loan amount after they have graduated especially when nowadays is really a hard time to find an stable job. I was one of those problematic student loan borrowers before and i can say that being indebted is such hard time for me. Yet I was lucky to get an stable job directly after graduating so it's not that worrying. If only the employment rate of today's generation is higher there might be no problem regarding on how to pay the loan in due time.