Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm going to end up living in a cardboard box

Yesterday, as I was electronically signing yet another master promissory note (Um...hi...doesn't "master" mean that I should only have to sign one?  I signed four last year.) for student loans and petitioning to have my student budget adjusted so that I can pay for all my healthcare costs (I have diabetes.  I take care of myself, but doing so is darn expensive....bye-bye savings!), I thought to myself, "Wow, my 1L classmates and I are getting ready to take on nearly $70,000 of loans for a 9-month period."  Holy moly.  And that doesn't include paying for things like car insurance.  Or travel.  Or anything fun. 

Tuition alone at UVa Law is $47,500 for incoming out-of-state students (don't even get me started on the fact that I have lived in VA and exclusively in VA for a year, filed a tax return here, pay personal property taxes here, have a VA license and car registration, and certainly don't even pretend to reside anywhere else).  Yes, it's even more at Darden ($49,500).    That means that I'm basically paying more for tuition each year than the total cost of yearly attendance at my undergrad college, Brown University (and it was cheaper when I was there, obviously).   Yes, ostensibly (and hopefully) I'll have a nice, lucrative job when I graduate, but if you look at the costs of a JD/MBA, the base debt load amounts to $280,000 (not including capitalized interest or a discount rate or any of that other financial ridiculousness from which I'm taking a break this year).  Just an MBA will set you back $140,000, and a getting a JD alone can easily generate up $210,000 in student debt.  Eeeek!  You could buy a decent-sized house around here for that.  I am dreading - absolutely dreading - the day that the Powers That Be tell me what my monthly student loan payment will be.  Let's just say that most people have cheaper mortgage payments each month.  I'm going to start planning the interior decorating scheme for my cardboard box.  And to think that I tease my sister about her future of living in a tent (she's applying to Ph.D. programs in archaeology).  Tents are far more spacious than boxes, and somebody will basically PAY HER to go to grad school.  Sigh. 

Clearly, I'm not the only one who has been thinking about the high costs of professional education.  For more on the subject of law school tuition, check out Above the Law and this recent US News & World Report article.  My advice to potential professional school applicants:  Think long and hard about whether or not you think the costs of going back to school - and of attending top schools - is really going to be worth it to you before you spend time and money applying.  I do think it will be worth it for me in the long run...but that doesn't mean I can't grumble about the costs.  After all, I wouldn't be an MBA student if I didn't worry about dollar signs followed by big numbers...

1 comment:

  1. Not nessacarily true... HOPEFULLY I will get grants for school. I will certainly not be making a profit.

    And yes, tents are better than boxes.